Quality and Cost Matter: Students’ Perceptions of Open versus Non-Open Texts through a Single-Blind Review

Feng-Ru Sheu, Judy Grissett


Although prior research has examined student perceptions of open materials, research investigating students’ perceptions of open versus copyright-restricted textbooks through a direct, experimental approach is lacking. To better understand how students perceive open textbooks outside the context of the classroom, we examined students’ perceptions of unfamiliar open and non-open (copyright-restricted) psychology textbooks. Forty-four introductory psychology students reviewed chapters from two open textbooks and two traditional/copyrightrestricted textbooks and then ranked the textbooks from most to least favourite. Students rated each chapter on several quality measures, including layout structure, visual appeal, ease of reading, and instructional features. Next, bibliographical information and cost were revealed, and students re-ranked the textbooks accordingly. Before knowing the bibliographic information and cost, students were more likely to prefer the two traditional textbooks. There after, they were more likely to select the open texts. Students often referred to textbook price as a determining factor for their change.


open textbook; copyright restricted textbook; textbook cost; textbook evaluation; student perceptions

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5944/openpraxis.12.1.1012


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