Geneseo Instrumental in New SUNY Partnership with OpenStax

OpenStax - photo by Jemel Agulto

The State University of New York is among 11 schools or systems in the nation selected to participate in the 2017-18 OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program to encourage use of free, peer-reviewed textbooks on campus. The SUNY application, submitted by SUNY OER Services at SUNY Geneseo on behalf of the system, was among 42 applications for the program.

Geneseo spearheaded the launch of a similar program for SUNY five years ago called Open SUNY Textbooks, which has transformed into SUNY Open Educational Resources (OER) to reflect the program’s wider scope of service and its evolving self-sustaining membership model. Both programs have been supported with funding from the SUNY Office of the Provost.

“I’m delighted that we’ll be able to draw upon the expertise of OpenStax and fellow partners as we widen awareness of OER’s benefits in the coming year,” said Alexis Clifton, executive director for Open Educational Resources at SUNY Geneseo. “The timing is perfect as a complement to the Excelsior Scholarship program offering eligible students free tuition, coupled with New York State funding to help defray the costs of textbooks. This partnership will greatly expand the opportunities available for our students to access quality, affordable learning materials, and by aligning SUNY with like institutions across the country, it will allow us to gain from the focus OpenStax places on motivating faculty to encourage OER adoption.”

An initiative of Rice University and supported by philanthropic foundations, OpenStax provides free textbooks that are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure readability, accuracy and adherence to scope and sequence requirements of most introductory college courses.

“Throughout SUNY, we continue to innovate to increase access to higher education, reduce student costs and debt, and help more students succeed in graduating on time,” said Carey Hatch, associate provost for academic technologies and information services at SUNY. “SUNY Geneseo is coordinating our System level OER efforts, and we are proud to be a part of the OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program.”

Geneseo was chosen to participate in this strategic partnership with OpenStax after a rigorous application process that included demonstrating a willingness to drive adoption of open educational resources (OER). Institutional partners will receive individualized consulting from OpenStax and join a cohort of schools advocating widespread use of OER at their schools. Last year’s institutional partner schools have seen a 55 percent increase in the amount of students using OER, saving an additional $1.7 million in the coming academic year. For the 2016-17 academic year, SUNY Open Education Resources saved students an estimated $494,000 in textbook costs.

SUNY is committed to student success by reducing high textbook costs for students while still presenting high quality content and protecting academic freedom. Both OpenStax and Open SUNY Textbooks publications meet standard scope and sequence requirements, are peer-reviewed by educators, and are easy to implement. They are comparable to textbooks that cost $200 or more and are available for free online and in PDF, and are available at very low cost in print.

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