All is not lost, however. The push toward open educational resources, or OER—textbooks that aren’t bogged down with steep licensing fees, marketing costs, and production expenses—is gaining momentum, and Massachusetts has led the charge. Consider UMass Amherst’s Open Education Initiative. Launched in 2011, the program incentivizes professors to use low-cost materials in their courses. In the first few years, the program has saved students $1.3 million.
Similar programs are catching on around the country. “Almost every school is under pressure to improve the affordability of their course material,” says Geoffrey Willison, CEO of Boston-based Valore, a company that created a digital marketplace for used textbooks and last year acquired Boundless, a fledgling OER publisher. “It’s on all of us to create a more sustainable model.” (Source)