Interested in lowering course materials costs for your students? Librarians will help curate possible materials so you can spend more time thinking about your course. 

Research has shown that students report perceptions of kindness and encouragement from faculty that convert their course materials to open or affordable resources. This is also a great way to reduce one possible barrier and/or source of stress for students in the course. Open Education Resources (OER) can include textbooks, ancillary materials, modules, multimedia, and more. Librarians can compile open and affordable materials to include in your course and review the affordances and limitations of specific licenses. Some learning materials licensed under Creative Commons allow you to modify and customize the content to better suit your course. 

In his course FASH445 (Global Apparel Trade and Sourcing), Sheng Lu (Assistant Professor, Fashion and Apparel Studies) was able to save students $100 each, through his creation of a course reader that sourced publicly available materials as well as his own writing. In addition to the reader (available for students through Google Drive), Sheng created a publically available course blog site ( so that students could engage with current data and conduct their own analysis. Sheng reports, “While statistics in the textbook can be outdated, the blog posts allow students to see the latest industry trends. I also intentionally guide students to analyze and interpret the datasets to improve their quantitative reasoning skills.” At the end of the semester, Sheng asked students about the impact of these course materials on their learning, and received very positive feedback; students found the materials up-to-date and easier to engage with than a textbook. 

To raise awareness and celebrate open education, the Library is offering a series of virtual workshops during Open Education Week, March 7-11. March is also the time when we call for proposals for our Open and Affordable Teaching Materials Grants, which support projects like the one described above. Whether you’ve already been using affordable materials in your courses or you’re brand new, these workshops will provide the tools and resources you need to consider how OER can work for you and your students. 


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