Faculty can tailor textbooks, offer low-cost print copies at campus store
HOUSTON - University and college instructors will soon have the option to create a customized, open educational resources (OER) textbook and offer low-cost printed copies of the book to their students through their campus bookstore, thanks to a new partnership between Rice University-based publisher OpenStax and wholesale textbook distributor NACSCORP, a subsidiary of the National Association of College Stores.
OpenStax and NACSCORP will begin offering customization services this spring through the Affordable Custom Content Enhancement System (ACCES), an online platform that will allow faculty to create a book that is tailored to the needs of their classroom. Faculty will be able to modify OpenStax OER titles by reorganizing chapters and sections; adding their own text, illustrations, equations, charts and materials; and inserting material from educational publisher Dover Publications, which is providing ACCES with a large catalog of material that includes anthologies of classic literature, poetry, plays, music scores and other publications.
"The OpenStax-NACSCORP custom print partnership is a direct response to faculty requests for customized print versions of OpenStax textbooks that will provide students with useful and affordable course materials," said David Harris, editor-in-chief of OpenStax, a nonprofit that makes college more accessible for students by making high-quality textbooks available free online and at low-cost in print. "Many faculty want to use technology to tailor material for their students, but they don't want to sacrifice quality. They want to start with a rock-solid, peer-reviewed textbook -- preferably one with full-color illustrations and a full suite of homework and testing modules -- and they want to make only the changes that are relevant to their teaching. That's exactly what OpenStax and NACSCORP are offering."
R. Todd Smith, director of campus store services at The Loch Shop at Clayton State University, in Morrow, Ga., said OER supporters on his campus have asked for customization services.
"Our store is hearing from faculty and other campus OER advocates that content customization will be a natural progression of OER and that faculty are looking for a platform where they can customize content," Smith said. "We are seeing OpenStax OER content adopted on our campus, and we have had good results supporting students with affordable print copies of the books."
ACCES is designed to display the associated print costs of revisions in real time so that faculty can easily track the printing costs of book sections as they work. Both the total overall book price and the price associated with the section being modified will be available. In addition, ACCES will automatically format pages and create a new index.
"Dover has been publishing books for 75 years, and we have always delivered a high-quality, value-driven product across a wide range of fields, making it accessible to everyone," said Jennifer Feldman, Dover Publications' publisher. "We believe that ACCES is consistent with our mission, so we look forward to adding works of literature, poetry and music scores to this new platform so that educators can easily access our vast array of content."
OpenStax's 16 college titles are being used by nearly 400,000 students at one-in-five degree-granting U.S. colleges and universities this academic year. The number of instructors adopting OpenStax's books jumped by more than 100 percent in 2015, due in part to a 2014 distribution partnership with NACSCORP that made adoption easier and allowed OpenStax to drop prices on every print title in its growing catalog.
"We are committed to providing our campus store partners with the textbooks their faculty demand, including inexpensive OER titles and customized materials," said Kurt Schoen, president and chief operating officer of NACSCORP. "OpenStax's books are known for quality, and we're pleased to partner with them to offer faculty the option of tailoring these top-quality books to better meet the needs of their students."