No-Cost Textbook Initiatives

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The Marydean Martin Library has worked with instructors to save students an estimated $1.5 million in textbook costs since 2017. The savings come from a variety of initiatives including individual consultations with instructors, summer institutes/grant programs for instructors, and library ebook purchases.

While textbook costs can be a burden for students on any campus, these costs are especially impactful on a campus where many of students struggle with the costs of higher education. At Nevada State, nearly fifty percent of students receive need-based federal financial aid. A recent campus-wide student survey identified cost as the number one reason that students select Nevada State and the number two reason that they consider withdrawing from their program of study. 


About the No-Cost Textbook Summer Institute


     2022 No-Cost Textbook Summer Institute team. Photo: Jacob Kepler, Nevada State Marketing and Events


The library’s flagship textbook affordability initiative, The No-Cost Textbook Summer Institute, is an intensive six-week institute to support instructors as they convert their course from a paid textbook to an open educational resource. Over 40% of the full-time instructors at Nevada State have participated in the program. The Institute includes one-on-one support for:

  • Redesigning their course
  • Identifying OER and/or library-provided resources
  • Integrating resources into Canvas (learning management system)
  • Copyright and fair use assessments
  • Creating transparent assignments
  • Usability testing


Usability Lab

Participants in the No-Cost Textbook Summer Institute can also utilize the Library’s Usability Lab, a service centered on demonstrably improving the usability and accessibility of course materials in Canvas. Instructors meet individually with the User Experience Librarian to discuss what they expect students to accomplish on their course site. The courses are then tested using task-based usability testing and eye-tracking software. Instructors can view video playback of the eye tracking data and receive individualized reports with actionable insights to improve the usability of materials in their courses.



Nevada State views textbook affordability as an equity issue that impacts whether students can afford to be prepared for class. This philosophy is supported by our assessment data from the Institute. We have analyzed course sections for instructors who converted to a no-cost textbook through the Institute and compared them to previous semesters in which those same instructors taught the class with a traditional paid publisher textbook. The data indicates that 14% more students received a grade of B- or better in sections with a no-cost textbook and there was a 50% reduction in grades of D, F, or Withdrawal in sections where students were not required to purchase a textbook.


For More Information

Instructors interested in enhacning the affordability of their course should email Nathaniel King, Dean of the Library. 

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