Information and Education Librarian Robert Wood Johnson Library of Health Sciences New Brunswick, New Jersey
Background: This poster will discuss the library’s central role in the conception of the Rutgers University Open and Affordable textbook (OAT) program and its success through the lens of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. The rising costs of textbooks and other education materials is a major issue facing students and faculty today. The goal of the OAT program is to incentivize faculty to create courses that use open and affordable resources. Since 2015 the program has helped establish courses in various departments such as Psychiatry and Physical Therapy.
Description: The Open and Affordable textbook program is run by the Rutgers University Libraries with a team composed of a representative from each campus. It is an incentive program where professors, instructors, lecturers apply to receive a research fund. They have to provide an actionable plan where their course must use open materials or have substantially reduced the cost of education resources. After each course we send out a faculty survey and a student survey to receive feedback on the program’s effectiveness and implementation. There have been multiple applicants from the Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences Campus where professors have adopted open materials, used library resources, or even created their own.
Conclusion: The program is on-going and successful. So far the Psychiatry Department has used self-developed materials for their clerkship. In Physical Therapy a professor has created their own ibook textbook for development Across the Lifespan course. A First Year medical School professor has created an anatomy course using solely library resources. These are just a few examples. To date, the program has impacted 724 students and saved $112,153 in textbook costs in Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Across the entire University the savings amount to over $3.5 million.