May 23, 2022

Conference Presentation: Students Perception of Open Textbooks: Students Tell Us What They Think About Open Textbooks in Their Courses

The slide presentation linked below was presented at the 2019 Library Publishing Forum in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Students Perception of Open Textbooks: Students Tell Us What They Think About Open Textbooks in Their Courses


Karen Bjork
Portland State University

Kristi Jensen
University of Minnesota – Twin Cities


via Portland State University/PDXScholar


Textbooks have long been an integral learning platform in higher education. As the rising cost of textbooks continues to burden students, many libraries have begun to facilitate the creation and publishing of open textbooks. While many colleges and universities have surveyed students about their textbook purchasing habits and interest in open textbooks, fewer surveys have captured student feedback on their actual hands on experiences with their resources. Portland State University (PSU) Library and the University of Minnesota (UofM) Libraries have both collected date from students about their experiences with open textbooks selected and created specifically for their courses.

In 2013, PSU Library developed an open textbook publishing program that works with faculty to create open textbooks that are designed specifically for the courses that they teach. To determine the role of open textbooks in higher education and their effectiveness, PSU Library surveyed the students taking courses with open textbook designed by their professors. The survey investigates students’ textbook purchasing behavior; how they access and use their open textbook, including their format preferences; and their perceptions of their open textbook, including its quality and what features they like and dislike.

The UofM University Libraries has worked with faculty through our Partnership for Affordable Content grants since 2015. The results of the grant projects primarily produced digital materials and several projects published open textbooks. Headlines frequently report “research” that concludes student preference for print over digital materials. In order to better understand the student experience in courses utilizing digital affordable content at the UofM, the University Libraries surveyed students to gauge the impact on study skills and to garner positive outcomes and challenges from the student perspective.

This presentation will discuss the results of the surveys, the study’s strengths and limitations, and provide recommendations for future open textbook authors and publishing programs.

Direct to Presentation (45 Slides; PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.