Saving Students $1 Million Dollars a Year

Annually, Ohio State Mathematics serves approximately 10,000 students in our calculus sequence alone. Our faculty have a plan to save these students a million dollars a year. Here’s how:

Replace the current proprietary textbook and online homework system with a free, open-source solution.

Since 2010, mathematics faculty members Jim Fowler and Bart Snapp have been developing "Ximera," an open-source tool for simultaneously creating  traditional-print textbooks and online-interactive textbooks.

They wrote an interactive textbook for Calculus 1, Autumn, 2015; Calculus 2, Spring, 2016; and Calculus 3, Autumn, 2016. Each semester, data is collected through the department's calculus study to monitor student outcomes. Learning outcomes for students enrolled in the experimental Ximera sections were  equivalent to—or better than—those sections using proprietary textbooks. 

GitHub hosts the source-code for the textbooks. Each text is written in a modular fashion, which allows quick updates and lets instructors easily tailor text to their specific needs. 

“Since spring 2016," said Fowler, “texts continue to be refined and drill-homework questions added. What’s most exciting, though, is that in autumn 2018, our department plans to deploy these free resources for all Ohio State students in the main calculus sequence.”

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