Clemson Libraries hosts two webinars on Open Education Resources

March 4-8, 2024 is Open Education Week, a global celebration held each year to highlight the barriers to higher education caused by high textbook prices and to share the achievements of a broader “Open Education” community to address this issue through Open Educational Resources (OER) and other affordable textbook initiatives.

Textbook prices rose dramatically across the world in the last two decades. In the United States, they increased at a rate three times higher than inflation, becoming the fastest growing college expense for students. High textbook costs added to the financial and psychological burdens of undergraduate students, particularly those from economically disadvantaged communities, forcing many to not buy textbooks or avoid taking courses in subject that have high textbook prices. It also reduced the quality of college education, forcing many instructors to not assign class textbooks or to teach without an emphasis on students reading them.

Rising to the challenge, concerned faculty, librarians and other groups have worked hard to develop and use Open Educational Resources, textbooks that are cost free for students and to promote other free or low-cost ways for students to access learning materials. Their efforts have halted the rapid rise of textbook costs since the late 2010s and helped to develop creative forms of teaching using Open Educational Resources, such as open pedagogy. Open Education Week was started by these groups in 2012 to raise awareness of their successes, and to share innovative practices for improving the undergraduate education through the reduction of textbook costs.

Since 2018 Clemson Libraries has been a leader in Open Education across campus and in the state of South Carolina. Its various initiatives, such as the OER and textbook lending programs have resulted in free access to textbooks for thousands of Clemson students each year, leading to over $1,000,000 in student textbook savings. Working with PASCAL, the state academic library consortium, it has also been active in educating the larger academic community in Clemson and South Carolina on new trends in Open Education through on campus activities and Affordable Learning webinars.

2024 is a year of opportunities and challenges for Open Education. A growing number of faculty have come to realize dire impacts of high textbook prices and are actively embracing Open Educational Resources. However, gains of the movement are also threatened by monopolistic agreements from book vendors that pressure all students in an institution to pay for textbooks from one source, regardless of whether their courses require them to purchase textbooks.

Continuing its advocacy for Open Education in support of students and faculty, Clemson Libraries is hosting two educational webinars:

Inclusive or Exclusive? Examining “Inclusive Access” Textbook Programs

2:00pm – 3:00pm Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Description: Marketed as a way to lower textbook costs, Inclusive or Equitable Access agreements are sweeping South Carolina. What do they really mean for faculty academic freedom and students? Hear all the facts first.


Enhancing Student Access to Free Learning Materials Through Course Marking

1:00pm – 2:00pm Wednesday, April 3, 2024

Description: Is there a better way to make students aware of the textbooks used in their courses, particularly low or no cost textbooks? Hear how other institutions are doing this through course registration systems and the impact it is having on student grades.


Clemson faculty are also encouraged to apply for the OER Awards, which offer $1,000 to $1,500 for faculty to switch to OER or low cost learning materials in the Fall 2024 semester. Applications must be submitted by April 30, 2024.