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Friday, August 15, 2014

Paying Profs to Find Free Course Materials

Indiana State University is dangling an incentive in front of its faculty to get them to switch from traditional course materials—which students must buy on their own—to open materials that are completely free to students.

Any professor who moves their classes to no-charge reading lists will receive a $3,000 stipend from the school, according to the Indianapolis Star. The stipend is intended to compensate the instructor for the time and effort spent finding, organizing, and/or creating the free materials.

The program is part of a pilot intended to help students save money on course materials. With “more than a dozen” instructors participating in the first year, the university estimated about 700 students saved approximately $90,000 in textbook expenses.

“The ultimate goal, of course, is to make college more affordable for students and also, hopefully, in doing that make them more successful in their college career,” said Heather Rayl, an emerging technology librarian at Indiana State.

More colleges and universities are encouraging faculty to seek out free or cheaper course materials. Some campuses have signed on with nonprofit repositories to help provide faculty with vetted sources for materials.

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