What's Our Impact?

college students with backpacks

Each semester, my students thank me for these high quality resources that they don't have to pay for.

Ryan Cain, Teacher Education Faculty at Weber State University

Calculating the actual impact of a resource like this is difficult, because to be accurate you would have to factor in benefits to students, benefits to instructors, relative advantage of the resources to alternatives, and so forth.

To get a general sense of impacts as perceived value of our content, we rely upon reader feedback [#reader_feedback] on the overall quality of each chapter.

To get a general sense of impacts as cost savings, though, we can also look at two different factors: (1) reported course adoptions [#course_adoptions] (for a low-end estimate) and (2) website activity metrics [#website_activity] (for a high-end estimate). Actual cost savings will likely fall somewhere between the two.

And finally, to get a sense for the impact that these cost savings have on students, we can calculate effects in terms of food, healthcare, and tuition benefits [#student_effects] based on average rates.

Reader Feedback

Each chapter in our platform has a default end-of-chapter survey to allow readers to provide a quality rating on the chapter. These ratings allow us to see how readers perceive the quality of our content overall.

Average chapter rating 4.1/5.0 "High Quality" 4.1 star rating out of 541 ratings

Reported Course Adoptions

One extremely conservative way to estimate cost savings to students can be done by calculating textbook adoptions by specific courses over time. This represents the bare minimum of cost savings to students, though the actual amount is likely much higher due to adoptions that are not reported.

The following table provides details for courses that have reported their textbook adoptions to us.

InstitutionCourseAnnual SavingsCumulative Savings
BYUIPT 371: Technology Integration$22,500$112,500
BYUIPT 373: Online Learning$15,000$15,000
BYUIPT 510: Intro to Writing$720$2,880
BYUIPT 520: Foundations of Instructional Technology$2,000$6,000
BYUIPT 750: Literature Synthesis and Review$1,200$1,200
SUNY - CortlandN/A: Tech Integration$40,000$40,000
Is your course not listed? Please, email us and let us know so that we can include your students in our calculations!
That's $81,420 per year and $177,580 total savings!

Website Activity

The limitation of relying solely upon course adoptions is that many courses and informal learners throughout the world may use the resource without reporting their use.

To remedy this, as a simple, broader metric we can count things like PDF downloads and page views and determine the cost savings to learners based upon the current market value of similar commercial products.

To provide a conservative estimate, we will assume the following:

Given the historical activity of the site over the past 13 months, here is the estimated cost impact to learners based upon these metrics:

MetricCommercial ValueActivityCost Savings to Students
Book PDF downloads$3036,510$1,095,300
Chapter PDF downloads$393,915$281,745
Tracked Web-based Chapter Reads$311,937$35,811
Untracked Web-based Chapter Reads$317,850$53,550
Note: All numbers only include activity on books that are hosted on this site, not those that are merely linked to (such as those hosted on PressBooks).
That's $1,466,406 and counting!

Student Benefits

And finally, decontextualized numbers mean little as disconnected from day-to-day impacts on students' lives. For this reason, many studies on effects of open textbooks on students consider how cost savings benefit students' lives in terms of health, wellbeing, grades, course completion, and so forth.

Because our site does not track individual users, we cannot predict cost savings for each user, but we can translate overall cost savings in terms of equivalent student benefits on things like food, healthcare, tuition credits, and so forth.

In this way, we can envision the actual impacts of our students' cost savings by realizing that this equals the following:

Food for 1,955 students for one semester
Health insurance for 4,526 students for one semester
Tuition for 20,088 credits or 1,339 professional certificates at BYU PathwayConnect
Tuition for 4,824 credits or 40 Bachelor's degrees at BYU - Provo