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UT Joins Open Textbook Network

The University of Tennessee has joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN). Here’s why…

College textbooks are incredibly expensive, costing US students an average of $1,298 a year!* What happens when textbooks cost this much? Students take out more loans, they take fewer courses, or they simply don’t buy the textbook. In fact, 65% of students report not purchasing a textbook because of its high price.**

The University Libraries is spearheading UT’s collaboration with the OTN. This fall, library faculty will meet with campus stakeholders to explore adoption of open textbooks, and to encourage faculty to author and license their own open textbooks. Next spring, faculty from the OTN will visit UT to present a workshop on the use of open textbooks.

At least one UT course is already utilizing an open textbook. Students in Physics 221 and 222 are assigned College Physics, an OpenStax textbook by Dr. Paul Peter Urone from Cal State and Dr. Roger Hinricks of SUNY Oswego. New copies of other college-level introductory Physics textbooks range from $150 to $350.

Open textbooks are digital, openly-licensed works made available for free online. Open textbooks are more likely than published textbooks to include up-to-the-minute information. For instance, economics texts in the OTN’s Open Textbook Library incorporate many current examples such as the present debate over the minimum wage.

Open textbooks can be customized by local faculty to better fit the content and goals of their own courses. They can be modified, re-purposed, and remixed with millions of other open educational resources such as software, videos, and tests.

And they have the potential to save each student hundreds of dollars a year!

To learn more about open textbooks, visit the Libraries’ research guide at

For more information, contact Rachel Caldwell, Scholarly Communication Librarian, UT Libraries ( or 865-974-6107).

* According to The College Board.
** See Fixing the Broken Textbook Market.

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