Every year, college students migrate back to campus for a fresh semester, only to find themselves paying an average of $1,200 per year on textbooks and course materials.
Despite innovation in publishing models and e-reading, the cost of textbooks continues to climb at 3 times the rate of inflation. This means we’re hearing the same stories over and over again about the high sticker prices of textbooks and the rising costs of education.
But Boundless is changing that.
While textbook prices are growing faster than the consumer price index, we’ve seen our growth spike more than 3x since last fall as students turn to Boundless for free and affordable resources. Our vision has always been to bring textbooks into the 21st century, by creating the ultimate publishing platform. To support that vision we’re not just serving students with textbooks anymore — we’ve grown to serve the entire educational ecosystem. In short, since last back-to-school season, we’ve:
- Grown 3x to reach more than 3 million students and educators.
- Seen students spend more than 1.5 million hours studying with our content and learning tools.
- Expanded our content library to 25 subjects, including new content in World History and Music.
- Added functionality for educators to customize and assign our textbooks and assessments.
- Opened up our platform for individual authors to publish educational content, with more than a dozen sharing their books this month.
Needless to say, the past year has been busy. But now that we serve the entire ecosystem — from students to educators to authors — we know that ultimately, Boundless is not only driving down the cost of education, but changing the way educational content is created and distributed. More on that below!
Between a Rock and Hard Place
Until now, there haven’t been great options for students and educators in the educational content ecosystem, and that’s allowed textbook prices to soar.
From an educator’s perspective, there are two ways to source and assign content to students:
- Get a textbook from the large publishers that’s tailored for your class, but often costs students a pretty penny;
- Or, find free or affordable resources online, patch them together, and show your students the way.
The first option is the traditional route we’re all familiar with, but the second option puts more onus on the educator to find high-quality materials. And that can be quite the time suck.
But now, with Boundless, educators have a simple way to assign readings and assessments without having to scour the web for sources — and without students having to pay a fortune. Educators can browse, customize, and share readings and quizzes in more than 20 subjects. In the end, students only pay $19.99 to access Boundless, and educators have the flexibility to tailor assignments their classes.
Giving Educators a Voice
This year, for the first time, we’re welcoming individual authors to Boundless to publish educational content to our library. We’re working with more than a dozen authors to share their openly-licensed textbooks on Boundless, including music teacher Kitty Schmidt-Jones, whose Understanding Basic Music Theory textbook is among the first to be published on our new community platform.
She began publishing open resources in 2004 when the open education movement was just gaining steam, and is excited to get her resources in front of the millions of students and educators using Boundless.
“Before publishing my music theory modules as open resources, I was a music teacher in small-town Illinois,” Kitty said. “The Internet has given me a voice as a teacher that the traditional publishing industry would not.”
By publishing on Boundless, authors are exposing their work to an audience of millions, and freeing content from static forms like PDF, e-books, etc. With Boundless, their content will be optimized for web and mobile — just like any of our own materials — so it will appear in web searches worldwide.
Enabling Innovation in Content
When we think about increasing access to educational content, we imagine a world where Boundless’ open content lives not just in our own library, but in third-party platforms and institutions as well. We’re making it easy for new products and curriculums to integrate Boundless into their systems to better serve students and educators.
To do so, we’ve built a robust API that allows for seamless integration into third-party platforms. We’ve already partnered with Top Hat, a classroom engagement tool, and are pleased to share that we recently partnered with Ginkgotree to make our library available on their content management system for higher education.
“The way Boundless makes its content readily available via API is unlike anything else in the industry,” said Top Hat Co-Founder and CEO Mike Silagadze. “This simple content integration will give our users greater access to affordable and customizable classroom materials and gives us the flexibility to build this into our own platform.”
Freedom from High Educational Costs
Now that Boundless serves the educational content ecosystem from start to finish, we have the means to keep prices affordable and fair for students. This school year, skip the high textbook prices and go Boundless!