The Open and Affordable Textbook Initiative (OATI) is a William H. Hannon Library program designed to help LMU faculty identify, adopt, and create high-quality, accessible, and low- or no-cost course materials for students using open educational resources (OER) and library-licensed materials. OER are teaching and learning materials that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use (more info). OER enable faculty to replace costly textbooks to save students significant costs of attending private higher education while still providing a quality educational experience.
What is an open textbook? An open textbook is a textbook published with an open-copyright license. It is made available online to be freely used by students, teachers, and members of the public. Many open textbooks are distributed in either print, e-book, or audio formats that may be downloaded or purchased at little or no cost (more info).
LMU students and faculty alike are concerned about the cost of course materials, and for good reason. The price of textbooks has outpaced inflation by 300% over the last 30 years, and students bear the cost. Students attending LMU pay an average $1,152 a year for books and supplies. In speaking with students, we learned that when textbooks are too costly, they acquire required books through means other than the bookstore:
- Hours of research for each book through online seller
- Borrowing from or sharing a copy with other students
- Race for library copies
- Advice passed from student to student
In 2021, the Association of Students at LMU (ASLMU) signed the Open Education Resources Resolution to demonstrate their support for open and affordable course materials at LMU. In light of rising textbook costs, open textbooks are one way to help reduce student costs.
Continuing the library’s commitment to increasing the affordability and access of an LMU education, we initiated an LMU Pressbooks subscription to encourage the use and creation of openly licensed books, as well as allow scholarly publishing for LMU faculty. LMU Pressbooks is an online book writing software made freely available to current LMU faculty and staff. It is a book content management system that allows authors to publish books to the public web and produce exports in multiple formats, including EPUB, PDF, and various XML flavors. The system is built on top of WordPress, offering an easy-to-use platform for faculty and staff to adapt, create, and publish openly licensed books for LMU courses. This summer, Professor Brian Leung developed two open educational resources: an internship handbook and a practicum for school psychology.
Some key features of LMU Pressbooks include the ability to:
- Adapt existing books from the Pressbooks Directory
- Create new books from scratch utilizing Pressbooks templates
- Easily import content into Pressbooks from Microsoft Word
- Enrich content with math notation, videos, audio, web annotation (Hypothesis), and interactive elements like quizzes and other forms of assessment (H5P)
- Publish books in multiple file formats (PDF, ePub, XHTML, etc.)
- Conform books with accessibility standards
Visit the Pressbooks Directory to browse examples of open textbooks and OER material. The directory is a great tool to make open textbooks discoverable. In addition, you can browse books by license, subject, language, H5P activities, and more to find OER that work for your course. To learn more about Pressbooks, go to Publishing in Pressbooks.
Ready to adapt and create your own openly licensed book? Visit LMU Pressbooks to get started and complete an interest form to create an account. If you are unsure your project is meant for LMU Pressbooks, contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request a consultation.