Free textbooks and online resources during the COVID-19 pandemic
If you’re a professor, a teacher, a student, or even a parent of a student who suddenly has to study online due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are a variety of resources you should know about. OpenStax, a nonprofit that operates out of Rice University in Houston, Texas, has already helped 9 million students afford a college education by offering free textbooks online. Now OpenStax, supported by the Stand Together community with the Charles Koch Foundation taking the lead, is curating resources and making more materials free to guide teachers and students through the transition from classroom to online.
“OpenStax is amazing. Access to these high-quality textbooks
is game-changing for our students,” says Wendy Riggs, who teaches biology at College of the Redwoods, in Eureka,
California. Her enthusiasm for OpenStax’s offerings will no doubt be matched by
professors across America who are transitioning to online learning.
We talked to Daniel Williamson, managing director of
OpenStax, about how the organization is expanding its services in response to
the coronavirus pandemic.
Here’s what the organization is offering:
1. OpenStax updated its landing page to direct people to
resources for taking their courses online. In the first week, it had more than 7,700
readers. Now, it is adding more links to the landing page that will guide
professors in transitioning classes to remote instruction.
2. On March 12, it announced that 28
courseware providers who work with the organization will make access to
their material free through the end of this school term.
3. OpenStax Tutor
and Rover by OpenStax, its
courseware offerings, are also offered free through the end of the current
semester. Instructors interested in using these products in their courses can
sign up for a one-on-one onboarding session with OpenStax. The response rate
has been so strong that OpenStax is adding more support to meet all the
4. OpenStax hosted a webinar with experts on transitioning courses online, and they had hundreds of instructors in attendance. A recording of the webinar is available.
5. It is putting together a step-by-step guide on how to set up remote courses and assign OpenStax resources online. Look for it soon.