Report Affordable Textbooks: Transparency for UTSA Roadrunners

Using open educational resources or other affordable textbooks? Report them to provide transparency for students during registration.

Get Answers

1. Why do I need to report courses that use affordable textbooks? How will students find my course(s) once reported?

By reporting your course(s), you enable UTSA students looking for classes using affordable textbooks to find them, including yours. During registration, students can apply the Low Cost Textbook or Free Textbook filters, highlighted below, in the UTSA Class Schedule.

The affordable textbook reporting framework also ensures UTSA’s compliance with SB 810 and HB 1027 that requires tracking by institutions of higher education using open educational resources in order to improve transparency for students. That bill has since become a part of the Texas Education Code, Sec. 51.452.

2. How did UTSA determine the Low Cost Textbook filter would have a designation of $40 or less?  

The Libraries, the Office of the Registrar, the Campus Bookstore, and University Technology Solutions partnered with UTSA Student Government Association to arrive at the $40 or less low cost textbook designation. UTSA students bear the cost of purchasing textbooks, and, as the ultimate end-users of the Low-Cost Textbook filter, we wanted to ensure that their voice is a driving factor in this reporting framework. We also consulted case studies on course markings at other institutions of higher learning, including Houston Community College, Mount Hood Community College, Maricopa County Community College, and various Texas institutions. 

3. What are open educational resources as defined by SB 810?

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or that have been released under an intellectual property license that allows for free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others, including full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge. (OER as defined by the Texas Education Code)

4. The legislation's focus is OER. Why are we reporting other affordable textbooks?

Per Texas Education Code, Sec. 51.452.each individual Texas institution must provide a mechanism for instructors to report OER adoption. While OER provide more benefits as compared to other affordable learning materials, the OER landscape is developing: there may not be OER available for your course yet even though you would like to adopt OER. We value all faculty efforts to ease students’ textbook burdens, and we also seek to provide transparency for UTSA students looking for courses using both low cost textbooks and OER.

5. How is UTSA defining “required” educational resources? 

“Required” is defined as a learning resource that students must have access to in order to complete the course or an assignment within the course with a passing grade or better. If instructors list an educational resource as required for a grade for either a single assignment or overall success in the course, a passing grade or better, then it is considered a required educational resource.

6. When should I report affordable textbooks?

As soon as you have your course assignments for the upcoming semester and have decided that you are using affordable textbooks, you can submit the Affordable Textbooks Reporting Form. Communication will be shared with faculty as closely to the following timeline as possible in order to ensure the Low Cost Textbook attribute is applied to courses reported in advance of registration:

Fall registration: April 1st 

Spring Registration: October 30th

Summer Registration: Just after Spring Break

7. How often should I submit the Free Textbook and Low Cost Textbook forms? 

The forms need to be submitted in advance of each semester that you are teaching the course(s). Ideally, we need to have your form before the start of registration for the upcoming semester in order to ensure that your course is searchable under the filters for students as they register.

8. How do I report free and low cost textbooks for late course assignments? 

Submit the appropriate form as soon as you have your course assignments. We receive notification each time a course is reported and will add your course to the respective filter as soon as possible. 

9. How do I report changes? What do I do if I have already reported my course and it is not showing up? 

Email for answers.

10. Who receives the information reported through the form?

The UTSA Libraries, Office of the Registrar, the Campus Bookstore, and University Technology Solutions. 

11. What happens if I don’t report my courses? 

While we highly encourage instructors to report both free and low cost educational resources, there is no penalty for not reporting. However, reporting ensures that UTSA students can see your good-faith efforts to help reduce the cost of attending college at UTSA. UTSA Libraries is also working with UTSA Advising to promote the filter to students registering for courses. If your course is not reported, it will not show up in the list of courses using free or low cost textbooks. We highly encourage you to report your courses in order to improve transparency for UTSA students.

12. If I use print reserve materials at the library, is that considered affordable? 

No. While we appreciate your efforts to work with the library to provide other access options for your students to the learning materials in your course, courses that use print library reserve books are not comparable to courses using online library materials. Print reserve materials require that students physically visit the library in order to access required readings, and there is a limit to the number of students that can use print library reserve materials simultaneously as compared to library e-books, which can be used by all students in a course remotely and simultaneously.

13. Does reporting my textbook as free or low cost report my textbooks to the bookstore, update the course scheduler in the Book Link information, and update my book information on Blackboard?

No, but you can easily update that information by following these steps, which are also very quick: 

In order for your exact textbook information to display in the “Bookstore Links” section of the Class Schedule, and in your Blackboard course for students, follow these steps:  

  1. Login to UTSA Blackboard Learn
  2. Click “Tools.”
  3. Click “Follett Discover.” Enter as Faculty.
  4. You will see your course(s) on the screen. Note: Courses are term specific.
  5. You can either adopt materials or select “I have no materials to adopt.”
  6. Choose “Manage by Section” if the OER textbook will not be used in all sections of the course. 
  7. Click the box with the course name; you will see the “Adopted Course Materials” screen. 
  8. Scroll to the bottom of this screen and click “Student Instructions.” 
  9. Click “Add” and you will see a text box where URL’s or other instructions can be entered.  For example, if you are using OER, you can provide the link to the textbook. If you are using library materials, you can enter “Required Readings are available through the UTSA Libraries.” 
  10. Questions?  Email

Example: Finding OER Textbooks in Follett Discover


Image of how OER textbooks display in Follett Discover

Example: Bookstore Information Displayed in Class Schedules

Screenshot of bookstore information as displayed in class schedules

Example: Providing Course Materials Instructions in Blackboard

Screenshot of course materials instructions in Blackboard