Students could begin saving money thanks to an initiative sponsored by the N.D. Legislature and actively fostered by the North Dakota University System.
The drive to implement more Open Educational Resources is progressing forward after receiving widespread support from state lawmakers and the university system’s network of 11 public colleges and universities. Partnered with the Open Textbook Network at the University of Minnesota, NDUS’ drive to increase awareness and implementation of OER throughout the system has already saved students money on textbook costs.
Grants have funded OER projects throughout the university system, with Mayville State University, University of North Dakota and Valley City State University all showing savings already.
According to Tanya, Spilovoy, the director of distance education and state authorization with NDUS, 10 courses at MaSU will have zero textbook costs estimated at $40,000 per semester. At UND, five high-enrollment courses have implemented OER, saving between $271,550 and $400,000 per year. At VCSU, 10 courses will have zero textbook costs amounting to more than $82,000 in student textbook savings for Spring 2016 semester.
Rep. Thomas Beadle, the primary bill sponsor of the OER legislation that was foundational to the initiative moving forward, stated that it was a success for the students.
“When I first planted the seeds for our Open Educational resources in the 2013 legislative session, we knew that textbook costs where outrageous and severely hindering our students,” Beadle said. “The old ways of handling things weren’t working, and we were able to get the legislature to see the value in trying something new. Now, after a few years of hard work and collaboration between the legislature, the University system, our campuses and faculty, those seeds are starting to bear fruit! Our first round of projects will directly result in over $1 million in savings this year for our students at two of our 11 institutions. For a relatively small appropriation from the state, we have been able to generate a tremendous return on investment for our students and taxpayers. I am thrilled with the quick success of this project and am excited to see the future potential!”