Chancellor Zimpher Highlights SUNY Resources During National Open Education Week

March 9, 2016

Students and Faculty Emphasize the Importance of Free and Low-Cost Textbooks

Albany – State University of New York Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher today highlighted SUNY programs and resources as educators across the country recognize Open Education Week 2016 in an effort to raise awareness about free and open educational opportunities for students.

"SUNY is proud to recognize Open Education Week, which aims to make current and prospective students aware of free resources that support college completion and success," said Chancellor Zimpher. "Like our colleagues in higher education across the country, SUNY continues to expand its open education offerings and support the many faculty who contribute to our growth by developing free or low-cost textbooks and learning materials for students."

In addition to what is available by individual campus, Open Education Resources (OER) at SUNY can be found at http://opensunyals.org/, and include:

  • Open SUNY Textbooks, an open access textbook publishing initiative established by the libraries of SUNY Geneseo, SUNY Brockport, the College of Environmental Science & Forestry, SUNY Fredonia, Upstate Medical University, and the University at Buffalo. To date, 14 textbooks have been published and 12 more are in-process. In the past year, these have been downloaded more than 72,000 times.
  • Open SUNY MOOCs, which provide free, global access to Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) developed by SUNY colleges and universities. SUNY now offers 19 MOOCs through the Coursera platform, covering topics such as non-profits, metaliteracy, elearning, and computational arts.
  • Two Applied Learning Courses created through a multi-campus effort by Binghamton University, University at Buffalo, Cornell University, and SUNY Oswego. The courses are SUNY Professional Skills Career Launch for All Majors and SUNY Professional Skills Career Launch for Engineers.

SUNY is also sponsoring a series of events to increase campus aware of OER activities and opportunities.

Student and faculty leaders at SUNY also highlighted the importance of providing free textbooks, citing a Buffalo State College study, which found that 75 percent of students do not purchase required textbooks because they cannot afford them, and that 25 percent of students have withdrawn from a course due to textbook costs.

"No student should have to forgo a full educational experience due to an inability to purchase grossly overpriced textbooks," said Thomas D. Mastro, president of the SUNY Student Assembly. "The statistics are staggering in terms of the steep increases in textbook prices over the last few decades when compared with rates of inflation and income. We need to invest in open access texts, print on demand technologies, digital textbooks, and have a greater collaboration with faculty, publishers, and college bookstores in order to ensure our students are getting the best education possible."

"The fact that so many students do not purchase textbooks--whether or not for financial reasons—seriously limits their ability to gain the maximum educational benefit from the classes they take," said Dr. Peter Knuepfer, president of the University Faculty Senate. "The UFS has urged campus administrators and faculty to seek less-expensive alternatives to traditional textbooks, and Open Educational Resources provide some of the best sources for such materials."

"The FCCC supports community college faculty in their pursuit and selection of high quality, low-cost digital instructional materials for our students' benefit," said Nina Tamrowski, president of the SUNY Faculty Council of Community Colleges. "We are committed to student success in many different ways, and open educational resources—with appropriate supports for faculty and access for students—may be one of many ways that faculty can support completion."

For more information about Open Education Resources available throughout SUNY, visit: http://opensunyals.org/.

About the State University of New York
The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive system of higher education in the United States, with 64 college and university campuses located within 30 miles of every home, school and business in the state. In 2015–16, SUNY served nearly 1.3 million students, including nearly 600,000 in credit-bearing courses and programs and more than 700,000 through continuing education and community outreach programs. SUNY students and faculty across the state make significant contributions to research and discovery, resulting in nearly $1 billion of externally sponsored activity each year. There are 3 million SUNY alumni worldwide, and one in three New Yorkers with a college degree is a SUNY alum. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit www.suny.edu.


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