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Open Education: Home

A guide to open educational resources, open pedagogy, and the open ed movement at Gettysburg College

The Open Education Movement

The Open Education movement seeks to improve student learning through the use of free and openly licensed course materials - textbooks, exercises, assignments - that can be customized by teachers and easily accessed by all students regardless of their financial means. Switching to such Open Educational Resources (OER), like textbooks from OpenStax and OpenIntro, gives faculty the freedom to revise and remix content to match their plan for the course. OER also allow students to engage with the text in new and pedagogically powerful ways that help them recognize themselves as producers of information rather than just consumers. Open Pedagogy is the practice of employing OER to support student learning in ways that are impossible when using traditional, closed course materials.

Gettysburg College Student Textbook Survey

Musselman Library conducted another textbook survey in fall 2022! Results soon!

In the first three weeks of the Fall 2019 semester, the Library conducted a survey to learn more about students' personal experiences with textbooks and course materials during their careers at Gettysburg College. The survey, inspired by the Florida Virtual Campus Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey, contained eleven questions about students' experiences and opinions. We sought to learn:

  • How much do Gettysburg College students spend on textbooks and required course materials?
  • What strategies do students use to reduce textbook costs?
  • How are students affected by textbook costs.

From student responses, we found some key takeaways:

  1. Almost 2/3 of participants spent more than $200 on books in the Fall semester. The most common response from students when asked how much they spent on books alone was $300.
  2. Students reported that financial aid was not helping enough. The majority of students, even those in the highest categories of financial need, did not have any aid left over for books.
  3. Students reduce textbook costs in a variety of ways, including sharing their books with classmates or only purchasing some of their required books.
  4. Book costs may affect first-generation students and students who reported receiving Pell Grants more than others. Respondents from both groups were more likely to report that they struggled academically because of textbook costs that participants not in those respective categories. 
  5. Students say $50 is a reasonable price for all materials per class. This number was the most common response in our survey.

For more detailed reports on the survey, check out our presentation ""I spent my whole summer's wages..on books alone': Gettysburg College Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey" in The Cupola.

Real Talk about OER from faculty

Recipients of the 2021 JCCTL OER Grant talk about their experiences using OER in their classes. Hear about the process of adopting/remixing and the effects of using OER on their students!