Approved by the: Student Senate - December 6, 2012
Administration - no action required*
Board of Regents - no action required

* The Provost’s Office has been heavily engaged in exploring the potential for eTextbooks over the last 15 months. In Spring 2012, the University was part of a national pilot and evaluation that provided eTexts, at no charge, to 700 students on the Twin Cities campus. In June 2012, the Provost charged a new University-wide standing committee to “to plan and to prepare for the broader introduction and delivery of e-texts at the University of Minnesota.”

Members of the Committee chaired by Brad Cohen (OIT) and Bob Crabb (U of M Bookstore) include Bob McMaster (Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education), Tom Brothen (Senate Committee on Educational Policy), Karen Williams (University Libraries), David Ernst (College of Education and Human Development), Elizabeth McClurg (student representative), and representatives from additional U of M units working in this area. David Ernst (who has been the lead on the project) and Karen Williams from the U of M Libraries have both been strong and articulate advocates for open-access textbooks on the committee. Our Office of eLearning is also aware of a potential legislative effort that the Minnesota State University Student Association is pursuing in consultation with the project to secure funding for open textbooks in the state.

We greatly appreciate the Student Senate’s interest in this area and encourage your engagement with the Provost’s eText/eContent Committee through Elizabeth McClurg (student representative), David Ernst (CEHD and project), or any of the other members of the group.


Recent data suggest that as many as 7 of 10 University of Minnesota students indicate that high textbook costs prevent them from purchasing all of the textbooks required for their academic career. Many textbooks currently used may not be fully adapted to the specific content of the course in which they are used and could benefit from adaption, which is difficult in the status quo because of the lack of flexibility in book licenses. This body has considered three primary points in making a recommendation on this topic:

The Student Senate believes students stand to benefit greatly from increased adoption of open source textbooks in U of M classes, and believes that high quality information should be made available to as many individuals as possible.

Therefore the Student Senate encourages the University administration to continue to evaluate Open-access textbooks and encourages faculty to fully consider open-access resources for their classes.

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