Longhorn Textbook Access
Longhorn Textbook Access (LTA) is an initiative in partnership with the University Co-op that has reduced the cost of digital textbooks and other digital course materials for students. Faculty are able to choose learning materials as they have done in the past, without constraint and including non-digital materials, to best support their course learning objectives.
LTA ensures the best possible price for digital versions of commercially-published course materials selected by faculty members while also encouraging use of Open Educational Resource (OER) course materials that are free or low cost for students. Critically, the program also promotes student success by making all materials available on the first day of class, and throughout the add/drop period (12th class day fall/spring, 4th class day summer sessions), without upfront payment or commitment.
Longhorn Textbook Access Recommended Syllabus Disclosure
If you are using digital course materials through the Longhorn Textbook Access program, please consider including the LTA disclosure on this page in your course syllabus.
If you are considering LTA digital course materials for your class and will use a commercial textbook and/or courseware, please do the following:
Contact either your publisher’s representative or the University Co-op. They will determine:
- Whether a digital version is available.
- The correct ISBN for the LTA version and pricing
Using the correct LTA ISBN number, contact the University Co-op to adopt your course materials.
If adopting LTA course materials used in a prior semester, you will see the correct ISBN in the Co-op’s adoption tool and can also adopt it that way.
Or (if applicable) contact your departmental assistant or other support staff.
If you are interested in Open Educational Resources (OER) — free, open, or lower cost alternatives to commercial textbooks, please do the following:
Contact the UT Libraries for assistance and information on sources of OER materials and a network of OER users at UT Austin with experience in helping instructors to find such materials.
With Open Educational Resource (OER) materials, you can link them from your course’s Canvas page.
You can also adopt them with the Co-op in some cases, as described above. This will allow your OER materials to appear on the “My Textbooks” tab in Canvas with the rest of their textbooks, at no additional cost.
- Faculty members choose, without restriction, their textbook and any related course materials for their classes.
- If an instructor is comfortable using digital course materials, including the textbook if applicable, then the ISBN for the digital LTA version of chosen materials can be obtained from the Co-op or from a publisher’s representative. This ISBN is then entered into the same textbook adoption system that has been run by the University Co-op for many years.
- The LTA price is guaranteed to be the lowest commercially available price for the equivalent material.
- If a non-digital printed version is preferred by the instructor, they will choose the non-LTA version during adoption, same as before.
- If the instructor selects the LTA version, the course and its students are automatically included in the LTA program. Students are opted in to the LTA course materials by default, but can easily opt out to pursue other options as described below.
- For non-commercial materials (Open Educational Resources, or OER), the instructor can still choose to adopt them through the Co-op’s adoption system, if they choose. That will allow the materials to be read in a new section of the course’s Canvas site called “My Textbooks.”
- LTA materials are available to students as soon as the class page of Canvas is made active by the instructor, which should be no later than the first-class day.
- Students can use OER materials from then on, without expiration, in accordance with the OER license applied.
- Students can use commercial LTA materials at no cost and without obligation during the opt-out period, which at UT Austin goes until the end of the add/drop period (12th class day fall/spring, 4th class day summer sessions); .
- Availability of commercial LTA materials will typically expire 180 days after first access, although the exact term may differ by publisher. Longer access periods can usually be arranged with the publisher by contacting the Co-op, but at higher cost to the student.
- Students can opt out of any LTA materials through the My Textbooks tab in Canvas and, even more easily, using a link that is sent to all students enrolled in an LTA class by the University Co-op. They may opt out of some and stay opted in to others, as they choose.
- During the opt-out period, students can see the pricing and can easily opt out of the LTA materials in order to acquire the required course materials in a different way, if they choose. They can also opt back in again (and repeat this sequence multiple times if they wish). They retain LTA access throughout the opt-out period as they are exploring their purchasing options and perhaps waiting for materials to arrive from another source, even if they have already opted out. No one using LTA materials will be without their course materials at any time during the opt-out period, which aligns with the add/drop deadline for the semester.
- After the opt-out period ends, students are billed for any LTA course materials they have not opted out of. At UT Austin this is done in the What I Owe (WIO) non-tuition billing system. They will have several days until payment of the bill is due. If they do not pay by the bill’s due date, the bill in WIO is cancelled and their access to the material is removed. See UT Coop FAQs for more detail and the Texas One Stop LTA webpage for billing dates and deadlines.
In addition to reducing the cost of commercially-published course materials for students, LTA promotes the use of free and affordable OER course materials and, through UT Libraries (UTL), provides support for faculty members wishing to understand, identify, and use these no/low cost materials.
Note that OER includes alternative textbooks and other materials that are made available by OER providers, but UTL can also help you identify commercial materials licensed by the Libraries that can easily be made available through Canvas for students. They also help faculty learn how to make their self-developed materials available to a wider audience via OER.
For additional information and support for adoption of OER course materials, please visit the UT Libraries OER Guide. If you would like help identifying OER materials for a particular course, please use this Free & Affordable Course Materials Review Request form or contact the Open Education Librarian.
What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?
OER are “teaching, learning and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others” (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition). OER can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.
Why would I want to use OER as course materials?
One of the key benefits is cost savings to students; OER is typically free of cost (or available at a very low cost for printed materials or supporting courseware). In addition to this, using OER in the classroom presents a unique opportunity to customize your courses and get your students more involved in their own learning. Since OER can be remixed and revised, it is possible to create customized resources that fit your specific course or involve students in the process of creating or adapting them. Additionally, students will have their course materials on day one and won’t have a delay in learning or need to play catch up later.
How do I find OER?
OER can be found in many places, including in repositories where anyone can share or search OER as well as through general web searches. Some textbooks are written specifically to be offered as OER. You can find links to helpful places to search in the OER Guide, or you can get help finding OER from UT Libraries by completing this form or contacting the Open Education Librarian.
How do I get help with OER?
Instructors can request help from UT Libraries with finding, adopting, adapting, creating OER, and more. See this page for more information on services available, and contact your subject librarian or the Open Education Librarian get started.
Are all commercial textbooks available in the LTA program?
As long as a textbook is available in a digital format, and the publisher is participating (most educational publishers are), then it can be adopted in an LTA version.
Am I required or expected to participate?
No. If you are comfortable with a digital textbook or other digital course materials, including them in LTA will save money for your students. But you should select the course materials that you believe will best promote your course learning objectives, and you are not obligated to participate in LTA. If you do not believe it is right for your students, you will just continue with your regular adoption process.
Can I adopt LTA course materials for Summer semesters?
Yes. Instructions will be provided in the spring by the Co-op.
I am considering LTA course materials but I have questions. Who can I contact?
See the list of contacts on the LTA main page.
If I want to participate, how do I indicate in the adoption that I want the LTA version for my students?
You simply use a different ISBN number. Otherwise the adoption process is exactly the same process as always. The LTA version has a unique ISBN number that you can get from your publisher’s representative or from the Co-op (see contact list on the LTA main page). After you use LTA course material the first time, it will be visible to you the next time in the Co-op’s adoption software.
Where do students find their course materials, and how do they know which are available through Longhorn Textbook Access?
All of a student’s assigned course materials that have been adopted through the Co-op will be listed on the “My Textbooks” tab in Canvas. The tab is available on each of their class Canvas sites, and it lists the assigned materials for all courses for which they are registered. LTA course materials can be identified by the “Opt Out” button that is shown during the opt-out period. Students can also read their textbooks via the “My Textbooks” tab, or sometimes via a publisher’s website or app (usually when there is bundled courseware).
How do I know what Longhorn Textbook Access materials cost?
During the textbook adoption process, you will be told the price of the LTA materials and also the prices of other versions of the textbook that are available. For students, the “My Textbooks” tab in Canvas will indicate the price of the course materials. The price shown for LTA materials includes the state sales taxes of 8.25%. If students are comparing the price of course materials between LTA and another source, they should be sure to add the sales tax (and any other charges) to the price of the non-LTA materials.
Do my students have to take any action to acquire the LTA materials in my course?
No. If you choose LTA course materials, your students are opted in to those materials by default (they can easily opt out, more on that below) and the LTA course materials are available to them as soon as your course’s Canvas site is published.
Why are students opted in to LTA materials by default?
Because they are opted in by default, all students will have access to your course materials from the day you make the course Canvas page visible until the payment due date following the end of the opt-out period, without cost or obligation. This allows you to plan your course assuming that all students have their course materials from the first day of class. In addition, the LTA model includes direct billing of students (the ones who don’t opt out) by the university for LTA materials, instead of requiring the retailer to be an intermediary in the transaction. The process is very efficient for students: other than paying the What I Owe bill, getting their LTA course materials is effortless. The efficiency and predictability for students, together with consistent favorable pricing, typically result in high participation rates by students (low numbers of opt-outs), while the efficiency and high student participation provide incentive for publishers to set the lowest possible prices on their LTA materials.
How can a student opt out of the LTA program?
During the “opt-out period”, use of LTA materials is no-cost/no-obligation. No student is required to participate in LTA, and we do not want anyone to feel stuck in the program if they can acquire the right course materials at a lower cost. Accordingly, we make it very easy for a student who prefers to acquire the required course materials in a different way to opt out during the opt-out period. In the “My Textbooks” tab in Canvas, each LTA book has a prominent opt-out button next to it until the end of the opt-out period. Even easier, the Co-op sends emails to every student who is in an LTA course that prominently includes a link to opt out. No explanation is required (though we do ask why, optionally, so that we understand why students are choosing to do so).
What happens to the student’s LTA materials access if they opt out of the program?
The student is responsible for acquiring access to the required course materials for your class. If they prefer to acquire them in a way other than LTA, they can easily opt out of the LTA course materials. When they opt out prior to the opt-out deadline, they will continue to have access to the LTA materials until the opt-out period ends. So, you can safely assume that everyone has access until the end of the opt-out period. If they do not opt out, but they do not pay the LTA bill in What I Owe by the payment deadline, their LTA bill is canceled and they lose access to the materials at that point. If access is lost due to opt-out or non-payment, the exact timing of that loss of access will vary depending on the publisher.
If students are enrolled in several courses that are participating in the LTA program, can they opt out of LTA in some classes but participate in others?
Yes, students can opt-out of each LTA course material independent of other course materials in that course or those in other courses. They only pay for the LTA materials where they have not opted out.
Can students change their minds after opting out and opt back in to the LTA course materials?
During the opt-out period, students can freely opt out and in as much as they want to. Their access to the materials is not actually changing during this period.
Is there any way for a student who opted out during the opt-out period to opt back in to the LTA materials after the end of the opt-out period?
Not through the normal simplified opt-out/opt-in procedures in “My Textbooks” or using the URL provided by the Co-op. However, if the LTA payment deadline in What I Owe has not yet passed, they can contact the Co-op and request reinstatement and the Co-op will try to accommodate.
Is there any way for a student to get back into LTA materials if they have not paid their LTA bill in What I Owe by the payment deadline?
Students can contact the University Co-op which will provide them with information about other ways to access the materials, generally via the publisher’s direct web site, but usually at greater cost than the LTA provided discount.
Can students still borrow a book from a friend, buy a used book, or rent a book, instead of acquiring the course materials through LTA?
Yes, if those options are available to them. They just have to opt out of LTA during the opt-out period to avoid being billed.
What if there is courseware, such as a required homework manager, for which there is no used market? Can students still buy the textbook used, or rent it, and then acquire the courseware separately and not through the LTA program?
Yes. Texas state law requires that publishers who bundle courseware with a textbook also make it available for purchase separately. In most cases, this would be done via the publisher’s direct website. However, because of the lower prices arranged via LTA, the LTA price, including digital textbook and courseware, will usually be lower than the price of the courseware alone.
Are all LTA course materials digital, including the textbook?
Is there a difference between the LTA version of a text and an otherwise-available digital version?
Not for the same textbook. The LTA version carries a different ISBN number with special, preferential pricing. But it is otherwise the same book. Sometimes the LTA version is bundled in a particular way (e.g., including a homework manager), but that would be based on your needs and would have been discussed between you and the Co-op or publisher’s rep during the adoption process.
Is a printed version of a digital LTA textbook available?
This availability varies by publisher. If you want a printed version of the text to be available to your students, please discuss this with the Co-op (see contact information on the LTA main page).
How long does access to the digital Longhorn Textbook Access materials last?
Standard access period for LTA materials from most publishers is 180 days, which is enough for one semester. If access for a different term is needed, arrangements can usually be made by contacting the Co-op or the publisher’s rep. There is generally an increase in cost to all students for the extended access period. An alternative to consider may be asking the publisher to provide a low-cost print add-on option that can be purchased only by students who want or need longer access (e.g., for reference purposes in subsequent classes).
How do students get help if they have questions or problems with LTA materials?
For information about course materials, the University Co-op plays the same role in LTA that it does for any other textbook required for a class. Students in a class that uses LTA materials adopted through the Co-op receive multiple emails from them just prior to the semester, telling them how to find their course materials, how to opt out if they wish to acquire the materials a different way, and providing a special email address for response to LTA questions (LTAHelp@universitycoop.com). They can also visit the Co-op with questions. For information related to billing and payment for the materials, students can contact the Texas One Stop just as they do for any other financial question.
Is student data safe in this program?
To the best of our ability to ensure that it is, yes. All of the software used to facilitate LTA, including that provided by outside vendors, has been reviewed and approved by the relevant UT Austin units for FERPA (student data privacy), data security, and ADA accessibility. The student integration runs through Canvas and is subject to all of the privacy controls that protect student information in Canvas, and the vendor that hosts the textbook side of the process, VitalSource, has affirmed that they do not collect Personally Identifiable Information and that “we will never share or sell our partners’ data.”
Does UT Austin make money on the LTA program?
No. The cost of LTA materials only includes the direct costs of the discounted course materials. This may include a small mark-up by UT to recover the direct costs of administering the program (programming, billing, etc).
What is the difference between LTA and “Inclusive Access?”
Inclusive Access is the generic term for the commercial textbook part of the LTA model. Longhorn Textbook Access is a UT Austin-specific brand that encompasses Inclusive Access for commercial materials but that also takes a broader approach to managing the acquisition and use of course materials, including promotion of Online Educational Resource (OER) materials. Our goal with LTA is a comprehensive approach to course materials that achieves the best results in student success, affordability, and faculty satisfaction.
For comments or questions about the LTA program, please contact: Jennifer Love, Director of Texas One Stop
For questions about commercial course materials, please contact: Michael Kiely, Director of Course Materials at the University Co-op. You can also contact your publisher rep, who should be familiar with LTA, generically referred to as “Inclusive Access.”
For questions about Open Educational Resources (OER) course materials, please contact: Ashley Morrison, Tocker Open Education Librarian.