- This academic year marked the first in which an undergraduate education at the University of Maryland University College does not come with any textbook costs for students — and by next year, the same will be true at the graduate level.
- Campus Technology reports the shift to free course materials began in 2013, when faculty members and librarians looked at learning objectives for each course and figured out how to meet them with primarily open source materials, later uploading the content to a database and linking to it from the school’s learning management system for easy student access.
- UMUC has absorbed some costs necessitated by gaps in open educational resources and has found improved learning opportunities through the new model because content can be updated from one course to another, based on student feedback.
The University of Maryland University College, a primarily online institution, is now focusing on developing a library of searchable resources open to anybody, including the public. When it first launched the program, it found students lost their course materials after the class ended if they hadn’t had the foresight to download them. Not only will the library help faculty members discover resources for future classes, but it will ensure they remain available to students and alumni.
The California State University System has also made a concerted effort to embrace open educational resources, curating its own library of content. Tidewater Community College's Z-Degree program in business administration is billed as the nation's first textbook-free degree. As the costs of textbooks rise, many schools are figured out new ways to get around them. But survey results show the students who may get the most benefit out of cheaper course materials are the least likely to own the platforms from which to access them.