Free to FAU Students Working Group

Context:

The Florida Board of Governors is very interested in ways to reduce the cost of a higher education for students in Florida. Metric 3 in the Performance-Based Funding Model addresses the cost to the student. Reducing the cost of textbooks is one mechanism FAU can use to reduce that cost. In addition the state is very interested in ways to reduce the cost of distance education. The Board of Governors Innovation and Online Committee approved the 2025 Online Plan in 2015 with a list of recommendations to reduce the cost of distance education. The use of open educational resources is one strategy within the plan to increase access through lower costs to the students.

In August 2017, the Innovation and Online Committee approved an IRB to be presented to the legislature for funding a statewide system to share open educational resources. These resources will include materials available through the libraries across the state and material that has been created by the faculty at the state institutions. These resources will be tagged to improve the findability of open resources. FAU should be positioning itself to fully participate in that initiative as resources are made available by the State.

Another part of this initiative includes the tagging of courses that use open educational resources in the statewide catalog. Every semester, all courses are uploaded to the statewide catalog which is maintained by Florida Virtual Campus. Students from across the college and university systems can search the catalog and take classes at other institutions. For the system to work, each institution will be responsible for tagging courses with low cost textbook or free to student courses. Students will be able to search for courses based upon the cost of the textbook. FAU should have a substantial presence in that catalog.

At FAU, a plan to increase the number of courses that use low cost or free to student instructional materials should be developed to reduce the cost of textbook material to students. A process needs to be established to identify these courses for students to easily select class with open educational resources both at FAU and in the state online catalog.  

Membership

Chair: Assistant Provost of the Center for eLearning

Representatives from the following:


  • Library: Jane Strudwick, Scholarly Communication Librarian

  • Center for eLearning: Julie Golden, Associate Director for eLearning

  • Registrar’s Office: TBA

  • 2 Interested faculty: TBA

Other representatives will be included as needed for specific discussions


Charge:

Report to the Textbook Affordability Committee at FAU on the following:


  • Review the availability of OER for use in FAU courses

  • Create guides and other educational materials for faculty to facilitate their selection of existing OER

  • Develop a mechanism for marking FAU courses to determine the economic impact on students of obtaining course materials

  • Explore options for supporting FAU-created OER, develop pilot projects, and assess the feasibility of broad efforts to create FAU-specific OER

  • Establish a standard for courses that use low or free to student instructional materials

  • Determine how to identify courses that use low cost or free-to-student instructional materials

  • Determine how to code low cost or free-to-student instructional materials in the course catalog


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