Ed Psychology produces e-book for undergrad statistics course
Andrew Zieffler, Joan Garfield, Robert delMas, Rebekah Isaak, Laura Le, and Laura Ziegler of Educational Psychology, have responded to concerns about high textbook prices for students enrolled in classroom sections of an undergraduate course, Basic and Applied Statistics (EPsy 3264), by producing an e-book entitled Statistical Thinking: A Simulation Approach to Modeling Uncertainty. It is available through amazon.com; the combined price of the textbook and software required for the course costs students as little as $15. (In previous semesters the textbook alone cost student $95.)
To lower the cost for students, these statistics educators self-published a textbook based on work they completed as part of a four-year National Science Foundation grant (Change Agents for Teaching and Learning Statistics). By self-publishing a textbook, and distributing it through CreateSpace and Amazon, they have removed the publishing company from the equation, keeping the costs for students at a minimum. In addition, the content students read is directly associated with the content they are learning and experiencing in the classroom.
Students can opt to purchase a PDF copy of the book for a mere $5. For those students who would prefer a physical copy of the book, a full-color paperback version is available for a price of $48 (a $47 savings from the previous paperback option).
Keeping the course cost lower for students is also achieved by giving students the option to "rent" the software program used in the course. Students can purchase a non-expiring license for $25 or obtain a one-year license for under $10. Having options not only ensures the additional costs associated with taking university courses are more affordable, but also enables students to make their own decisions about the format they prefer for the textbook and the software.
Concerns about the prices of textbooks have been a rising concern for students and the broader educational community. [Read the Minnesota Daily Op-Ed.] These concerns have even prompted the state legislature to consider a bill requiring MnSCU schools to make the prices of textbooks available in course catalogs. [Read the Minnesota Daily article.]