The Open Textbook Project provides a calculator that allows the district to estimate its savings compared to its current textbook scenario. For example, if a district spends $80 per printed textbook for 5,000 students and uses it for six years, that’s an investment of about $400,000 or about $13.33 per student per year. Adopting open educational resources, paying a team of four teachers to update the material each year at $30 per hour for a total of 60 hours, and adding printing would cost about $152,000 or $5 per student per year. (Footnote 32)

Could a $5 textbook really compare to an $80 one? Wiley and his fellow researchers found in a limited experiment that Utah high school students learned the same amount of science in classes using the open textbooks as they did in classes using the traditional textbooks. SETDA Out of Print.

Beyond cost considerations, the research team noted that “OER [allows] teachers and students to remix content in locally meaningful ways, to share a variety of types of learning resources, and to enable the best resources for teaching a specific topic to be more easily found.” SETDA Out of Print.

  • Budgetary Questions to Consider

    What costs would you incur to modify the OER to fit your district/schools learning standards?

    Can you provide sufficient time to teachers to identify the OER to be used in the classroom?

    What is the cost comparison between using digital OER and printing OER materials?

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