Top 5 Myths

There are a number of commonly held misconceptions regarding Open Educational Resources. These five come up again and again in discussions about adopting OER. Take a look at the resources listed in our OER Bibliography to learn more.

  1. You get what you pay for. Truth: textbook publishers do not hold a monopoly on high quality content, much of which has already been "paid for" through research funding.
  2. It takes too much time and effort to select and implement OER. Truth: more and more openly peer-reviewed, plug-and-play resources are becoming available, which can include exercises, quizzes, and even accompanying PPT presentations, just like a traditional textbook with a CD tucked in the back.
  3. No one will work for free. Truth: open publishing frequently increases the visibility and reach of an author's work, paying off in ways other than royalty checks. Plus, Creative Commons licenses frequently afford an author more control over their work than a restrictive agreement with a traditional publishers.
  4. Students expect traditional textbooks. Truth: More students register for sections that do not require an expensive textbook than those that require the purchase of a $250 book.
  5. The OER model is not sustainable. Truth: Many business models, including "freemium" offers, are being explored and expanded as the demand for OER grows.

Did You Know?

  • College textbook prices increased by 186% between 1986 and 2004. (U.S. Department of Education)
  • An open source textbook is just like any textbook, except it has a nonrestricted copyright license
  • UMD estimates students spend $1,130 on books and supplies. (Office of Admissions)
  • 48% of Maryland students say that textbook prices affect which/how many classes they choose to take. (SGA and MaryPIRG survey)
  • 65% of Maryland student consumers have opted out of buying a college textbook due to its high price. (SGA and MaryPIRG survey)
  • In Fall 2014, students saved $873,393.00 at the University Book Center (UBC) by purchasing used books and renting their textbooks. (University Book Center)

Students Spend