Rethinking the Traditional Textbook
A Case for Open Educational Resources (OER) and No-Cost Learning Materials
Keywords:textbook, open educational resources (oer), higher education, student opinions
As college costs have continued to rise, textbooks now average more than $1,200 per student per academic year as of 2020. Traditional textbooks are not only expensive, but also have fixed and frequently outdated content. In this study, we compared pre-service teacher-student outcomes and perceptions of a traditional textbook versus no-cost, online materials such as open educational resources (OER) in an undergraduate Foundations of Education course. Outcomes were measured by comparison of final course grades. Perceptions were determined through quantitative and qualitative survey questions added to existing end-of-course evaluations. Results revealed students found OER and no-cost online materials more useful to their success in the course and more engaging than a traditional textbook. Qualitative analysis further revealed that while students appreciated there was no cost for the online materials, they preferred them to a traditional textbook because of the customized content. Results suggest students find instructor-curated, no-cost online readings more useful and preferable to a traditional textbook without compromising student academic performance.
Aagaard, Lola, Timothy W. Conner, and Ronald L. Skidmore. 2014. “College Textbook Reading Assignments and Class Time Activity.” Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 14, no. 3: 132–45. http://doi.org/10.14434/josotl.v14i3.5031.
Bliss, TJ, T. Jared Robinson, John Hilton, and David A. Wiley. 2013. “An OER COUP: College Teacher and Student Perceptions of Open Educational Resources. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Spring: 1–25.
Bogdan, Robert C., and Sari Knopp Biklen. 2007. Qualitative Research in Education: An Introduction to Theory and Methods. Allyn and Bacon, no. 5.
Creative Commons. 2017. State of the Commons. Creative Commons. https://stateof.creativecommons.org/.
Creswell, J. W. 2014. Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Sage, no. 4.
de los Arcos, B., Robert Farrow, Leigh-Anne Perryman, Rebecca Pitt, and Martin Weller. 2014. “OER Evidence Report 2013-2014.” OER Research Hub. https://oerresearchhub.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/oerrh-evidence-report-2014.pdf.
Educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA). 2020. “Fees and Payment Options.”
Everard, A., and Kent St. Pierre. 2014. “A Case for Student Adoption of Open Textbooks.” Journal of the Academy of Business Education, no. 15: 66–76. http://www.abeweb.org/jbe.html.
Feldstein, A., Mirta Martin, Amy Hudson, Kiara Warren, John Hilton III, and David Wiley. 2012. “Open Textbooks and Increased Student Access and Outcomes.” European Journal of Open, Distance, and E-learning, no. 2.
Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators (GACE). 2020a. “Fees for the Georgia Ethics Assessments.” https://gace.ets.org/ethics/register/fees.
Georgia Assessment for the Certification of Educators GACE. 2020b. “Fees, Payment and Refund Policies.” https://gace.ets.org/about/fees/.
Gollnick, D. M., and Phillip C. Chinn. 2013. Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society. Saddle River, NJ: Pearson, no. 9.
Griffiths, R., Jessica Mislevy, Sam Wang, Linda Shear, Alexandra Ball, Donna Desrochers. 2020. “OER at Scale: The Academic and Economic Outcomes of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative.” https://www.achievingthedream.org/resource/17993/oer-at-scale- the-academic-and-economic-outcomes-of-achieving-the-dream-s-oer-degree-initiative.
Hilton III, J. L., and Carol Laman. 2012. “One College’s Use of an Open Psychology Textbook.” Open Learning 27, no. 3: 265–72.
Hilton III, J. L., Donna Gaudet, Phil Clark, Jared Robinson, and David Wile. 2014. “The Adoption of Open Educational Resources by One Community College Math Department.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 14, no. 4: 37–50.
Hilton III, J. L., Lindsay Murphy, and Devon Ritter. 2014. “From Open Educational Resources to College Credit: The Approaches of Saylor Academy.” Open Praxis 6, no. 4: 365–74.
Hilton, J., III, Stacie Mason, and Virginia Clinton-Lisell. (n.d.). “The Review Project.” Open Education Group. http://openedgroup.org/review.
Jaggars, S. S., Marcos D. Rivera, and Briana Akani. 2019. “College Textbook Affordability: Landscape, Evidence, and Policy Directions [Policy Report].” Midwestern Higher Education Compact. https://eric.ed.gov/?q=costs+of+college+textbooks&id=ED598412.
Jones, J. P. 2011. “Enhancing Student Learning: An Examination of the Student Use Of Textbooks in Financial Accounting.” American Journal of Business Education 4, no. 1: 29–36. http://www.cluteinstitute.com/journals/american-journal-of-business-education-ajbe/.
Lee, E., Joseph Pate, and Deanna Cozart. 2015. “Autonomy Support for Online Students.” TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning 59, no. 4: 54–61. http://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/learning+%26+instruction/journal/11528.
Lindshield, B. L., and Koushik Adhikari. 2013. “Online and Campus College Students Like Using an Open Educational Resource Instead of a Traditional Textbook.” Journal of Online Learning and Teaching 9, no. 1: 26–38. http://jolt.merlot.org/.
Muijs, D. 2011. Doing Quantitative Research in Education with SPSS. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Patall, E. A., Cooper, H., & Wynn, S. R. 2010. “The Effectiveness and Relative Importance of Choice in the Classroom.” Journal of Educational Psychology 102, no. 4: 896–915.
Pearson Plc. (n.d.) Multicultural Education in a Pluralistic Society, no. 4. https://www.pearson.com/us/higher-education/program/Gollnick-Multicultural-Education-in-a-Pluralistic-Society-9th-Edition/PGM234255.html.
Pecorari, D., Phillip Shaw, Aileen Irvine, Hans Malmstrom, and Špela Mežek. 2012. “Reading in Tertiary Education: Undergraduate Student Practices and Attitudes.” Quality in Higher Education 18, no. 2: 235–56.
Phillips, B. J., and Fred Phillips. 2007. “Sink or Skim: Textbook Reading Behaviors of Introductory Accounting Students.” Issues in Accounting Education 22, no. 1: 21–44. http://aaahq.org/Research/AAA-Journals/Issues-in-Accounting-Education.
Popkin, B. 2015. “College Textbook Prices Have Risen 1,041 Percent Since 1977.” NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/freshman-year/college-textbook-prices-have-risen-812-percent-1978-n399926.
Robinson, S. 2011. “Student Use Of A Free Online Textbook.” Academy of Educational Leadership Journal 15, no. 3: 1–10. http://www.alliedacademies.org/academy-of-educational-leadership-journal/.
Robinson, T. J., Lane Fischer, David Wiley, and John Hilton III. 2014. “The Impact of Open Textbooks on Secondary Science Learning Outcomes.” Educational Researcher 43, no. 7: 341–51.
Rockinson-Szapkiw, A. J., Jennifer Courduff, Kimberly Carter, and David Bennett. 2013. “Electronic Versus Traditional Print Textbooks: A Comparison Study on the Influence of University Students Learning.” Computers & Education, no. 63: 259–66.
Schick, D., and Mary Beth Marklein. 2013. “College Students Say No to Costly Textbooks.” USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/20/students-say-no-to-costly-textbooks/2664741/.
Senack, E. 2015. “Open Textbooks: The Billion-Dollar Solution.” The Student PIRGs. http://studentpirgs.org/sites/student/files/reports/The Billion Dollar Solution.pdf.
Siebenbruner, J. 2011. “Electronic Versus Traditional Textbooks: A Comparison of College Textbook Formats.” Journal on Excellence in College Teaching 22, no. 3: 75–92. http://celt.muohio.edu/ject/issue.php?v=22&n=3.
Sikorski, J. F., Kelly Rich, Brian K. Saville, William Buskist, Oskana Drogran, and Stephen F. Davis. 2002. “Student Use of Introductory Texts: Comparative Survey Findings from Two Universities.” Teaching of Psychology 29, no. 4: 312–13.
The College Board. 2013. “Trends in College Pricing 2013.” http://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/college-pricing-2013-full-report.pdf.
The College Board. 2019. “Average Estimated Undergraduate Budgets by Sector, 2019-20.”
Vafeas, M. 2013. “Attitudes Toward, and Use of, Textbooks Among Marketing Undergraduate Students: An Exploratory Study.” Journal of Marketing Education 35, no. 3: 245–58.
Wiley, D. 2014. “The Access Compromise and the 5th R.” Iterating Toward Openness: Pragmatism Before Zeal. March 5, 2014. https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221.
Woody, W. D., David B. Daniel, and Crystal A. Baker. 2010. “E-Books or Textbooks: Students Prefer Textbooks.” Computers & Education 55, no. 3: 945–48.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 Deanna Cozart, Erin Maria Horan
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.