Document Type

Article

Publication Date

5-1-2020

Abstract

In an opinion piece for the New York Times, Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu lamented “the outlandish prices of the books we assign.” He questioned whether the rising costs of college textbooks is worth the cost to students. (Read the article at bit.ly/MJ20NYTwu.) Professor Wu noted that there are high-quality options for assigning reading—options without the cost (over $200) of the typical law school casebook with supplement. OpenStax, a major force in open educational undergraduate college textbooks, estimates that in 2019, 3 million students were using its texts, for a savings of $233 million. (Read more at bit.ly/MJ20OpenStax.)

Law students today carry large amounts of student debt. Law school course materials, particularly casebooks, represent an increased financial strain for law students. So how can law faculty and law students tap into the benefit of the open educational resources movement?

There is an answer: integration of open educational resources and affordable course materials in the law school course curriculum. Academic law librarians can help drive this change by boosting outreach efforts, challenging the reliance on expensive materials, and partnering with innovative faculty to adopt affordable course materials.

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