March 2-6 is Open Education Week. This is a global event raising awareness to the need for affordable access to educational materials, encouraging the creation, modification and sharing of free educational resources through open licensing, and a sharing of ideas on how education can be improved using free resources.
Undergraduate textbooks and learning materials are the fastest growing student expense and have risen at a rate that exceeds even tuition increases in the last two decades. Combined with the high cost of other student expenses, they often prevent students, particularly from under-represented groups and less privileged backgrounds from completing their education.
In the last three years Clemson Libraries has tackled this problem through various initiatives. In 2019 the Libraries also began a textbook rental program with financial support from the Undergraduate Student Government, allowing students in courses with high dropout and fail rates to borrow textbooks for free each semester.
Working with faculty from School of Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, it has also funded the development of WeBWork, a software system that has provided 300 students free homework this year, saving them from purchasing commercial homework systems that cost up to $100 per student. Clemson Libraries has also promoted open pedagogy, a creative teaching strategy that has students publish openly licensed textbooks. Four courses have implemented the approach with library support in 2019-2020, and open pedagogy has received praise from many students.
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