Houston, TX

The University of Houston-Victoria joins a project to provide free textbooks access to students

Jason Martinez

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HOUSTON, TX - The University of Houston-Victoria joins more than 60 other institutions in the OpenStax network this fall through its participation in the OpenStax Institutional Partner Program for 2021-2022.

Created by Rice University, partners with foundations, educational resource companies, and other universities, this education initiative allows students to get better access to best-quality and openly licensed college textbooks for free and also available at an affordable price for print.

According to Nicole Eugene, a UHV assistant professor of communication and chair of the university’s Textbook Access Committee, the decision to join the network has to do with how the university facilitates its students. Based on a survey arranged by the committee for UHV faculty members, many students are struggling to afford to purchase textbooks in their classes.

Eugene also mentioned how the issue of textbooks accessibility is an ongoing problem not only for UHV but also for all universities in the country. Moreover, this issue also affected students learning performance since they waste much time and effort looking for the required textbooks, whether the previous versions or online PDF formats. "Open-source textbooks are a low-cost answer that can address those needs," she said.

Openly licensed textbooks or open educational resources have become a popular choice for both students and universities. After Lamar University announced that all of its primary undergraduate courses would use open resources, UHV's textbooks committee was inspired by it and hopes to reach the same level of providing its students better access to open resources

In encouraging the university faculty members to participate in this initiative, there will be a $500 stipend offered by OpenStax to two faculty members who start using OpenStax resources in their classes. In fact, a senior lecturer in Psychology, Jennifer Ortiz-Gaza has been using OpenStax books for five years in her introductory psychology courses.

Gaza said that her students are always excited when they can access their books online for free. “It can take a lot of time and research to find the right resources for courses, but if it helps just one student, it’s worth it," she added.

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