Samuel Kerstein, Department of Philosophy, College of Arts and Humanities, teaches “Contemporary Moral Issues” (PHIL 140) once a year. Rather than requiring a textbook that students must purchase, Kerstein provides PDF files of articles and book chapters on his CANVAS site for the course. In seven years, no students have complained about this practice. The course often uses the very same material that is anthologized in expensive textbooks. Kerstein provides the pedagogical help sometimes contained in textbooks by posting an outline of each reading on CANVAS. Kerstein usually teaches around 160 students using free resources, saving each student approximately $100 and a cumulative savings to students of $16,000.
Scott Roberts from the UMD Department of Psychology, along with his colleague Ryan Curtis, has participated in the University System of Maryland's MOST (Maryland Open Source Textbook) initiative and developed an open source textbook, OpenPSYC, for their introductory psychology courses. Free to all students and teachers under a Creative Commons license, OpenPSYC not only saves students money, but it also provides them with up-to-date information and offers an interactive educational experience.