Higher Ed Market Headlines
OH Regents and Flat World Knowledge Announce Textbook Program Extension
Flat World Knowledge, Inc. — Thursday, June 07, 2012
COLUMBUS, OH, June 7, 2012 – Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Jim Petro today announced a partnership with open textbook publisher Flat World Knowledge that will build upon the pilot that took place this spring to improve affordability, access and learning outcomes for college students.
Effective for the 2012 fall semester, the goal is to expand the use of affordable open textbooks among faculty and students, and provide administrators with valuable data about the impact of this new model on student retention and learning outcomes.
“We see real value and potential to scale the textbook pilot program so that more Ohio students can enjoy the benefits of lower costs, higher engagement levels, and improved learning,” said Chancellor Petro. “We encourage administrators and instructors across the state to learn how they and their students can participate.”
Under the initial agreement, the Board of Regents purchased 1,000 seat licenses to Flat World’s course content as a way to encourage faculty and students to trial a new digital textbook model and significantly lower student costs and increase access.
Going forward, Flat World will partner with administrators directly to roll out the program, which is open to all University System of Ohio universities and community colleges.
This spring, the 987 student participants in the pilot saved an estimated $121,000 in textbook costs; based on a savings of $122.95 per student, per course. They were provided with digital textbooks and study aids for such courses as introduction to business, financial accounting, and introduction to psychology. Flat World’s content is openly licensed, which means the digital files don’t expire and students are free to move their e-texts from device to device.
Faculty at the participating schools –– Cuyahoga Community College, Lakeland Community College, Lorain County Community College, Sinclair Community College, and the University of Akron ––were free to choose their textbooks from Flat World’s catalog, and change and add to the material to fit their curriculum.
Hand in hand with the cost savings were positive survey results. A majority of student respondents (78 percent) said their open textbook was the same or more engaging than other textbooks they used. Steve Acker, research director of Ohio Digital Bookshelf for OhioLINK and the Ohio Board of Regents, will continue to lead and expand the research initiative.
“Early results from Ohio, and around the country, show that using open textbooks can help students do better in their courses in measurable ways,” said Jeff Shelstad, CEO and founder of Flat World Knowledge. “By expanding the Ohio pilot, we expect to see long-term improvements in textbook affordability and student completion rates.”
A big advantage of the seat license model is that all students have access to their course materials on the first day of class. They can download the digital files onto any computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. Print books are also available for students to purchase through their campus bookstore or on Flat World’s website.
To learn more, visit: uso.flatworldpartnerships.com.
About the University System of Ohio
The University System of Ohio is the state agency that coordinates higher education in Ohio. The agency is directed by its Chancellor, who is a member of the Governor of Ohio's cabinet. The Chancellor, with the advice of the nine-member Board of Regents, provides policy guidance to the Governor and the Ohio General Assembly, advocates for the University System of Ohio and carries out state higher education policy.
About Flat World Knowledge, Inc.
Flat World Knowledge is the world's largest publisher of openly-licensed college textbooks. Our mission is to use technology and innovative business models to lower costs, increase access and personalize learning worldwide. Flat World Knowledge is a privately-held company, with funding from Bessemer Venture Partners, Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments, and Random House, Inc., among others. Our textbooks are used at more than 2,000 colleges in 44 countries. To learn more, visit http://www.flatworldknowledge.com; follow us on Twitter @flat_world; and on Facebook at facebook.com/flatworldknowledge.