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University Joins Partnership for Free and Low-Cost Textbooks


The Open Educational Resources (OER) Committee at UHart applied for and was accepted into the 2017–18 OpenStax OER Institutional Partnership Program (read the news release here). OpenStax is one of the leading providers of OER, an initiative that encourages the use of free, peer-reviewed, openly licensed textbooks on college campuses. Through this program, the University becomes a partner with OpenStax and 10 other partner schools across the country, receiving individualized support and guidance from the assistant director of Institutional Relations on how to grow a campus OER initiative.

The OER committee developed a strategic plan to promote the use of OER at the University. Reference Librarian Jillian Maynard, Professor of Mathematics and Executive Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation (CETI) Jean McGivney-Burelle, and Associate Professor of Physics Jim McDonald presented the plan at several college and department meetings. Maynard also led a Learn@Lunch through CTEI on OER, giving faculty the chance to look at actual examples of OER and discuss their merits in small groups.

Momentum around OER continues to grow as more faculty express interest in finding relevant materials for their courses. A Request for Proposal was distributed for a first round of OER Grants, with money graciously provided by the Information Technology Executive Council. Awardees will be asked to adopt an existing OER textbook, adapt OER materials to their own course, or create their own OER, all to be used in the 2018–19 academic year.