E-Book program focused on student affordability

By: Victoria  Raish

Student affordability has been on the minds of many people due to the rising cost of a degree and the ubiquity of content. In December of 2016, a team was charged with developing an equivalent course reserves model for World Campus students. The decision was made to focus on delivering E-Books to World Campus students directly through the Canvas Library  integration. This program is possible due to funding as part of my position as the online learning librarian to strategically increase our digital collections.

How the Process Works

We provide a list of available books to academic advisors, list the materials in the course catalog, and list them on this page: https://libraries.psu.edu/about/libraries/world-campus-and-penn-state-online/world-campus-e-books. The E-Books are listed directly in the course under the library resources tab in Canvas. We license all books that we can. This means we license E-Books that have a multiuser access model whether that is unlimited or linear lending. We will not license E-Books that have a limited access model.

Benefits of the Program

This program serves benefits to students and the library. We are strategically increasing our collections with materials that are also being used for courses. The program clearly benefits students due to affordability. Based on fall semester data, we are providing an estimated cost savings of $383,937 dollars with 164 E-Books and 140 unique courses. That represents 16.7% of all World Campus courses.

How the Program May Impact You

We are really excited about this program and the potential it holds for students and the library. There are a few different ways you may encounter this program. First, even though we list this for World Campus courses, it can also be used for residential course sections that use the same materials. However, we need to know this as we do not receive the same list of required materials for residential courses. Second, if you receive an email or inquiry for an E-Book for a World Campus course it is likely either due to this program OR due to people hearing about it and wanting to become a part of it. If the latter is the case, you can refer them to me. at victoria@psu.edu. Sometimes, an instructor will ask if a book can become part of the program so simply looking up the licensing options is a good first step towards letting them know if this is a possibility.

This program is an excellent OER effort for the university and shows the libraries’ commitment to student affordability. This program is complementary to other efforts such as the Open Textbook Network. If you have any additional questions, please email me at victoria@psu.edu.