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Tuesday, November 10 • 12:00pm - 12:55pm
Automatic Textbook Billing: An Offer Students Can’t Refuse?

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The nature of college course materials has changed dramatically over the past decade, from print to digital - but that’s nothing compared to the transition to remote learning in 2020. As of the end of August, less than a quarter of institutions will be fully or partially in-person, with even those places scrapping plans as case counts rise. This new normal and uncertainty of the higher ed landscape comes with unique challenges, and open advocates and commercial publishers see a make-or-break opportunity for widespread adoption of their preferred materials as faculty and schools shift to this remote learning environment.

Over the past few months, college textbook publishers have engaged in a massive marketing push to sell institutions on the idea of “inclusive access-” adding an automatic charge for digital delivery of access codes to each students’ tuition bill. The pressures of COVID-19 on institutions and the need for cheaper, ready-to-use digital materials is apparent - but are these partnerships to increase access code sales really in students’ best interest?

A panel of issue experts and on-the-ground open advocates will talk about the basics on this new billing model, the fine print that is in these partnerships, and problems with implementation that further harm student and faculty choice found by the recent USPIRG study Automatic Textbook Billing. Furthermore, panelists will share their successes and steps taken to slow automatic billing programs on R1, regional public, private, and community college campuses - and talk frankly about their setbacks in light of COVID-19. The session will end with best practices on how to respond to common questions on automatic billing, and audience Q&A.

Learning Outcomes:
Attendees will leave the session with an understanding of what automatic textbook billing is, specific concerns with the model before and during COVID-19, and how others across the country have effectively mobilized to limit the negative impact it has on local students and faculty. Attendees will come away with case studies, best practices, and actionable steps to take to reshape textbook affordability programs to better meet community needs.

avatar for Daniel Williamson

Daniel Williamson

Managing Director, OpenStax, Rice University
Daniel Williamson manages the day to day operations of OpenStax, using his extensive experience in academic e-publishing to guide content development, technology integration, and overall project coordination. A Rice University graduate, and passionate advocate of equity in education... Read More →

Megan Dempsey

Instructional Services Librarian, Raritan Valley Community College
avatar for Kaitlyn Vitez

Kaitlyn Vitez

Higher Education Campaigns Director, U.S. PIRG
Kaitlyn serves as the Student PIRGs' lobbyist on Capitol Hill, working on campaigns to make college more affordable and protect student loan borrowers. She has been a leading voice for students in opposition to access codes, the Cengage-McGraw Hill merger, and automatic textbook billing... Read More →
avatar for Ryan Erickson-Kulas

Ryan Erickson-Kulas

Programs Director, Michelson 20MM Foundation
avatar for Winni Zhang

Winni Zhang

Open Education Project Manager, SPARC
avatar for Nick Sengstaken

Nick Sengstaken

Chancellor's Fellow, UNC Chapel Hill
Chancellor's Fellow & Former Undergraduate Chief of StaffSince beginning his work in college affordability in 2016, Nicholas Sengstaken has emerged as the leading student in the United States pushing back against the publishing industry’s efforts to slow the adoption of OER... Read More →

Tuesday November 10, 2020 12:00pm - 12:55pm EST
Concurrent 1
  Challenges, Panel