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OpenStax to Double Its Textbook Library

OpenStax textbooks

Rice University's OpenStax open educational resources initiative has announced plans to grow its library of free textbooks from its current selection of 42 books to nearly 90 titles. The expansion is supported by $12.5 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Charles Koch Foundation and Stand Together community.

Since OpenStax published its first book in 2012, its OER titles have saved 14 million students around the world more than $1 billion, according to a news announcement. It has also experienced a dramatic increase in demand for OER during the COVID-19 pandemic: "Since schools started remote instruction in March, OpenStax has seen a 217 percent increase in use of its materials over the same period last year," the organization said.

"Nine years ago, we dreamed about solving the textbook affordability and access crisis for students," said Richard Baraniuk, the Victor E. Cameron Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Rice and founder and director of OpenStax, in a statement. "Now, with this tremendous investment in open education, we will be able to not only accelerate educational access for tens of millions of students but also drive innovation in high-quality digital learning, which has become commonplace due to COVID-19."

"The rising cost of course materials can have a direct impact on the classes students take, and the way textbooks are used can greatly detract from learning," commented Angela DeBarger, education program officer at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. "That's why we support OpenStax's effort to develop high-quality, equitable teaching and learning opportunities that allow students to fulfill their potential to succeed."

About the Author

Rhea Kelly is editor in chief for Campus Technology, THE Journal, and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected].

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