Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.40
Liaison Margaret Lo
Submission Date June 12, 2023

STARS v2.2

Ball State University
IN-41: Textbook Affordability

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.50 Amy Petts
Library Assessment Manager
University Libraries
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution host a peer-to-peer textbook exchange program, textbook lending library, or alternate textbook project?:

A brief description of the textbook exchange program, textbook lending library, or alternate textbook project:

While the University does not offer a textbook exchange program, textbook lending library, or alternative textbook project at present, a University Textbook Access Exploratory Group was launched in 2021 to explore potential initiatives in this area. The group includes representatives from University Libraries, the Division of Online and Strategic Learning, the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, University College, and the University Bookstore.

The goals of the group are to explore college textbook access, publishing, and business models and programs that 1) reduce or eliminate the cost of course materials for students; 2) promote first-day student access to course materials; 3) adequately support faculty instructional and pedagogical goals; 4) improve educational outcomes for students. The group aims to achieve these goals through development of inter-unit campus networks to coordinate best practices and approaches and effectively communicate with administrative stakeholders regarding services, practices, programs, partnerships, and initiatives.

During the 2022-2023 fiscal year, an inter-unit campus network working group focused on Course Material Affordability and First-Day Access was commissioned. This group consists of members of the University Libraries, Division of Online and Strategic Learning, and the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. This group started the Textbook Affordability initiative (TABS) and marketed these plans and materials. This initiative includes a course designation in Banner for courses with low material costs (less than $40) and those that use OER. This group also launched a page on the Provost’s website in January 2023 to define TABS, promote the use of affordable course materials, and link to upcoming OER and TABS workshops. This group is also completing a white paper to outline an initial strategy to advance adoption of OER and low-cost materials at Ball State.

University Libraries has been working with faculty on campus to increase the use of Reading Lists, a delivery platform that integrates with Canvas to vastly streamline access to electronic library resources and Open Access content in a highly user-friendly fashion. In Fall of 2022, 530 Ball State University course sections provided access to 2,394 scholarly resources to students via Reading Lists.
In addition, the University Libraries’ physical course reserves program provides students with free temporary physical access to selected and identified course texts placed on reserve. In Fall 2022, Ball State University students used 391 titles on course reserve over 1,000 times leading to roughly $50,000 in student savings (based on lowest market price for print items).

Does the institution provide incentives for academic staff that explicitly encourage the authorship, peer review, and/or adoption of open access textbooks?:

A brief description of the incentives to encourage the authorship, peer review, and/or adoption of open access textbooks:

Ball State University provides a suite of consultative services aimed to support University faculty in adopting, revising, or authoring open access textbooks. Ball State University Libraries employs an Open Content and Digital Publishing Librarian who works with subject liaisons with University Libraries provides consultation and collaborative services to University faculty who wish to identify and assess relevant open access textbooks, revise or remix existing open educational resources, and publish original open access texts. In addition, this librarian regularly offers open workshops to increase campus awareness of open educational resources.

The University’s Division of Online and Strategic Learning also provides collaborative services for Ball State University faculty members to advance the incorporation of open educational resources into course design and development. The Division of Online and Strategic Learning regularly integrates OER practices into course redesign workflows and processes and assists with integration of OER into the Canvas learning management system. In addition, the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs provides consultative services to advance the integration of OER into University Core curriculum course offerings.

The Division of Online and Strategic Learning and the University Libraries have recently collaborated on workshops to faculty about OER, Canvas, and Reading Lists, and they are planning a joint Open Access workshop series for February 2023, which will be promoted on the new webpage hosted on the Provost’s site.

These three units have also collaborated to raise on-campus awareness of the value of open educational resources through presentations to academic leadership and targeted outreach to academic departments and individual faculty members. The units jointly hosted an OER program for faculty in Summer 2022 to educate faculty and incentivize moving to low- or no-cost course materials; recruited faculty “ambassadors” for OER at Ball State; presented to department chairs and campus leaders on the TABS initiative; and planned and promoted a series of workshops for Open Access week, scheduled to occur in February 2023.

In addition, a Ball State University Team, including two faculty members, are taking part in the 2022-2023 American Association of Colleges and Universities Open Educational Resources Institute.

These efforts can result in cost-savings to our students. A pilot program with seven faculty in the summer of 2020 where they were to trial OER in their course has subsequently resulted in about $250,000 in textbook cost savings since implementation, including over $50,000 during the Spring and Fall of 2022.

Website URL where information about the textbook affordability incentives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

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