Reducing Costs, Igniting Change: OpenCI

Concurrent Session 2
Best in Track Streamed Session Community College HBCU

Brief Abstract

Since 1977, the cost of college textbooks has risen over 1041%, and today’s student spends over $1,200/year on course materials. To address this issue, CSU Channel Islands launched an initiative, openCI. This presentation details and reflects upon those efforts, resulting in rapid adoption rates across disciplines on campus.


Jaime Hannans, RN, PhD, CNE is Assistant Professor in the Nursing Program at CSU Channel Islands. She has been teaching nursing clinical, classroom, and lab courses at CSU Channel Islands since January 2009. In addition to teaching she maintains current experience and practice by working in the the acute care critical care setting as a staff nurse in the ICU. Jaime obtained her BS in Nursing and Master’s of Science in Nursing Education from CSU Chico. She completed her PhD at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her research interests explore the use of technology and digital tools in learning, online and blended learning, reflection in nursing education, nursing clinical education, faculty development and simulation.

Extended Abstract

According to NBC’s review of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, textbook costs have risen over 1041% since 1977. Meanwhile, a study by BABSON Survey Research Group found that 90% of faculty either change or revise the educational materials they use in class every two years. Each of these realities result in increased costs for today’s college student, who presently spends more than $1,200 per academic year on textbooks and supplies alone.  

One potential way to address the rising cost of college textbooks is through Open Educational Resources (OERs). Yet 69% of courses with required textbooks still use traditional, printed materials. A primary reason for such meager adoption rates of OERs among university faculty is their low level of awareness. Only 34% of current faculty members report being aware of OERs, while other faculty cite a lack of resources for their adoption, and/or an inability to find the adequate resources needed.

In light of rising textbook costs and a faculty reluctance to adopt OERs in the classroom, California has launched the Affordable Learning Solutions initiative (AL$). AL$ is a concerted effort to save students money on their textbooks across each of California’s CSU, UC, and CC campuses. CSU Channel Islands (CI) has branded its specific version of AL$ as “openCI.” The goal of openCI is to provide increased awareness, education, and support for faculty to explore ways in which they can decrease the cost of course materials for students.

Two faculty coordinators led the openCI efforts on CI’s campus by collaborating with its library, as well as its Teaching & Learning Innovations team. These efforts sought to reevaluate the cost of materials used in current courses, and to explore what educational resources were available to students for a free or reduced cost. Workshops were provided to inform faculty about openCI, and to recruit openCI Ambassadors: faculty who committed to reducing the cost of their class(es) for students by at least 30%. AB798 grant funding was also utilized to support the initiatives and to further develop openCI, which resulted in rapid interest and adoption rates across many disciplines on campus.

In this presentation attendees will:

  1. Be introduced to openCI: Why? What? How?

  2. Examine an innovative approach to supporting faculty in their efforts to reduce textbook costs for students

  3. Consider the value of open educational resources (OERs)

  4. Evaluate the approach of developing openCI through the use of faculty coordinators

  5. Listen to the experiences of both faculty and students who have explored new options for accessing, cultivating, and using teaching-learning resources outside traditional textbooks

  6. Identify the impact of openCI on student textbook costs within the first 6 months of its launch

  7. Examine the barriers and challenges in implementing affordable learning solution initiatives

  8. Discuss the impact on faculty teaching and effectiveness, as it relates to the implementation of OERs

Materials that will be provided to attendees include:

Reference cards for the web-link to access presentation materials