Beyond the #Campaign: Capturing the Realities of Textbook Affordability Through Digital Storytelling

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Open Education Conference 2021

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For the last 8 years, our large public University’s affordable textbook initiative has aimed to reduce the cost of textbooks for students by targeting faculty adoption of open educational resources (OER) and low-cost textbook options.

In 2018, we began to look for ways to integrate our institution’s students into the initiative. Creating jobs for student ambassadors, who educated and promoted OER to peers, was the initial start of our student-driven programming. After these positions were filled, we encouraged our students to collaborate with us to develop a semester-long calendar of student-focused events, including a digital storytelling competition. Digital storytelling enriches familiar oral narratives with technological advancements, including graphics, sound, and images to create a more sensory and personal experience.

In Fall 2019, the affordable textbook initiative team held a digital storytelling contest open to all currently enrolled students. Students were invited to compose a personal narrative or design their own digital story on how textbook affordability has impacted them personally.

Goals of this project included:
Gather as many personal student stories as possible to reflect the diversity of our student body;
Increase awareness and visibility of the textbook affordability initiative among the student body;
Influence campus administration and gain more support for the textbook affordability initiative; and
Develop a unique and compelling collection of marketing materials to introduce the textbook affordability initiative to both faculty and students;
Use assessment to inform future outreach and impact on initiative.

After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Understand the advantages and pitfalls of conducting such an event, such as digital storytelling
  • Explore best practices, equipment requirements and time commitments of a digital storytelling contest