Free textbooks and online resources during the COVID-19 pandemic

A group of people with laptops sitting at a table during a meeting

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 requests.

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.

6. It has curated a list of K-12-friendly free and open resources.

These initiatives will help teachers and students at all levels, from kindergarten to college, master online learning quickly and successfully.

Watch this video on how OpenStax is revolutionizing learning with free, “intelligent” textbooks.

Learn more about Stand Together’s education reform efforts.