The LibreText Project is fortunate to accept a $5 million Open Textbooks Pilot Program award from the Department of Education funded by Congress in the 2018 Fiscal Year omnibus spending bill. These funds will be used to decrease the burden of textbook costs on college students while increasing the availability, usage and educational value of open textbooks that are freely available to download, edit, and share to better serve all students.
The mission of the LibreTexts project is to unite students, faculty and scholars in a cooperative effort to develop an easy-to-use online platform for the construction, customization, and dissemination of open educational resources (OER), particularly for courses relevant to academic programs, to reduce the burdens of unreasonable textbook costs to our students and society.
With our track record of developing and disseminating high-quality, open textbooks in partnership with institutions of higher education across the country, the LibreText Project is ideally positioned to maximize the impact of this investment in college affordability. We are honored to accept this grant to exponentially grow our efforts for the benefit of millions of students across America.
With LibreTexts, students, faculty, and outside experts work together to build freely available open education resources that supplant conventional paper-based textbooks. LibreTexts currently encompass twelve widely used college-level disciplines from chemistry to humanities with over 68,500 pages. Used across the nation as primary course textbooks and as supplemental learning resources, LibreTexts have already recorded more than 250 million pageviews with 650 years of confirmed student reading—an impressive track record on which the grant-funded project will build.
Our proposal includes a broad national coalition spanning more than a dozen states. In total 62 faculty were part of the proposed team, including those from the University of California, Davis, University of Michigan, the University of Kansas, DePauw University, the University of Minnesota Rochester, the College of Saint Benedict/Saint John’s University, Mendocino College, Monroe Community College, and South Tahoe Community College.
Other institutions directly involved in the project are the California State University system through its Office of the Chancellor, the University of Washington, the University of Arkansas Little Rock, Hope College, St. Mary’s College, Prince George’s Community College, and two community college districts in California: the Contra Costa Community College District and the Los Rios Community College District.
Conservatively, LibreText is estimated to have already saved students approximately $30 million dollars while providing a high-quality, modern learning experience. Our goal, with the support of this award, is to help students save at least $50 million in textbook costs over the next three years in a thousand classrooms. As described in the proposal, this will involve going beyond adding new content to expanding the range of online services available to faculty developers and student users including a single sign on, interactive 3D visualizations, embedded executable source code, big data informatics, the ability to include personal and class wide annotations, and intelligent coupling into learning management systems. We recognize that millions of students and parents are counting on us to achieve a significant impact through this project, and we are committed to living up to that potential.