What Would Happen if You Ditched Your Textbook? Gettysburg Faculty Share Strategies

Janelle L. Wertzberger, Gettysburg College
Ian R. Clarke, Gettysburg College
Sharon K. Birch, Gettysburg College
Charles W. Kann, Gettysburg College

Presented as part of the Friday Faculty Lunch series at Gettysburg College


How much do your course materials really cost? Do your students obtain all the books you assign? How much does access to required readings affect student success? What would happen if you ditched your textbook?

If you’ve ever been tempted to toss your conventional reading list out the window and start over, this session is for you. Learn how colleagues are swapping out expensive course materials for more affordable options, including freely available materials, library-licensed items, and original creations. Our panelists are:

  • Ian Clarke – Ian recently abandoned his $150 textbook for ENG 111 (Writing through Literature) and created an open reading list instead.
  • Sharon Birch – In 2011, Sharon dropped the classic text for SOC 203 (Population) and replaced it with a variety of library-licensed and freely available materials. More recently she has begun developing her own open textbook for this course.
  • Chuck Kann – Chuck has written several open educational resources and posted them in The Cupola. He uses them in CS 221 (Computer Organization and Assembly Language Programming); they have also been adopted by professors teaching at other institutions and have been downloaded around the world.

You’ll leave with a clear idea of how a range of simple to complex strategies could help make your course materials more affordable, too.