The cost of postsecondary education, from tuition and living costs to technology requirements, can be a major barrier to learners and stand in the way of pursuing a degree or credential. It is well known, that pricey textbooks and course materials can add further strain to students’ limited budgets. Navigating a confusing and complex course materials marketplace to find the most affordable options wastes far too much time and energy and ends with most students either delaying or declining to acquire the materials they need.
As colleges and universities near the end of a truly remarkable spring semester, institution leaders around the world are preparing for the possibility that students may not be able to return to traditional, in-person learning experiences anytime soon due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Kimberly Holland and her team at Kennesaw State University Bookstore are on a mission to support student learning. If you’re surprised a campus store’s primary goal is student success, you may be shocked to learn that campus stores across the country are leading the charge to improve course materials affordability and access. In fact, at KSU, the store team has spent nearly six years working to bring to life a program that offers affordable, day-one access to course materials, all to benefit students.
As we enter 2019 and return to school and work, it’s clear that we’re finally in a digital-first world for learning materials.
Our internal stats really illustrate this macro trend. At this time last year, we had enabled a total of 7.8 million learners to access the learning materials that enabled them to excel in their pursuit of new skills and degrees. Now, we’ve almost doubled that number with over 15 million active learners; we rank in the top few hundred websites in the world during our busiest periods..
Institutions across the country are looking for ways to reduce the cost of education. One of the many options available to do this is open educational resources (OER). However, institutions frequently report challenges with OER discoverability, accessibility, and ease of distribution. With careful planning and the right tools, OER can be part of your digital course materials program—and your campus can get the same benefits as those offered by traditional content.