The Adoption of an Open Textbook in a Large Physics Course: An Analysis of Cost, Outcomes, Use, and Perceptions
Assigning open textbooks in college and university courses can help students save money on increasingly expensive commercial textbooks, and recent research shows that this savings can often be achieved with little to no sacrifice in textbook quality or student learning outcomes. We add to this body of research by examining the use of an open textbook in an introductory physics course at a large research university in Canada that enrols approximately 800-900 students per year. In this course, the instructors revised an open textbook and combined it with other learning resources onto a single website, whereas more than one source of learning materials was used previously. We used the COUP framework to structure our analysis, focusing on cost, outcomes, use, and perceptions in relation to the open textbook assigned in the course. Through the use of a survey of students and data about student learning outcomes in the form of final exam and course grades, and shifts on the pre-/post- Colorado Learning Attitudes about Science Survey, we show that student savings by moving to an open textbook were accompanied by little change in learning outcomes. We also show that the vast majority of survey respondents perceived the open textbook to be of the same or better quality than commercial textbooks used in their other courses. Further, many of them appreciated the fact that the textbook was customized to this particular course—which is made possible by the use of a textbook with an open license.
Copyright (c) 2017 Christina Hendricks, Stefan A. Reinsberg, Georg W Rieger
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Licence. The copyright of all content published in IRRODL is retained by the authors.
This copyright agreement and use license ensures, among other things, that an article will be as widely distributed as possible and that the article can be included in any scientific and/or scholarly archive.
You are free to
- Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format
- Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.
The licensor cannot revoke these freedoms as long as you follow the license terms below:
- Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- No additional restrictions — You may not apply legal terms or technological measures that legally restrict others from doing anything the license permits.