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Open Educational Resources: Faculty Take Action

Faculty across campus are saving students money on textbooks by using freely available Open Educational Resources (OER).  By adopting, adapting, and creating open textbooks and other zero-cost materials, faculty save students at UTK more than $700,000 on average each academic year.  

See comments below from UT instructors who utilize OER and other zero-cost materials in their courses:  

Donna Bueckman (Economics)

“I ask a clicker question towards the end of the semester asking about the [open] textbook and the vast majority of students are in favor of using it. Ninety percent are happy or satisfied with the resource. The lack of ancillary products may deter some instructors from choosing open-access resources. However, if a little extra work on my part can save money for my students, it’s worth it.” 

Alex Bentley (Anthropology):  

“I assign a lot of reading, including very up-to-date material that is available via UT Library subscriptions. These represent materials that students have access to at no additional cost since the subscriptions are funded by tuition and fees. So we are leveraging this very worthwhile expense to benefit our students.” 

Richard Bennett (Engineering Fundamentals):  

(No textbook is required for Dr. Bennett’s course, but an OER provides additional support) 

“Having an OER provides our students with an excellent resource, an alternate explanation, and additional example problems, without students having to spend money. This is a good way for students to supplement the videos and material we provide to them on our website.” 

Interested in adopting, adapting, or creating OER for your course?  

Follow these simple steps. If you want to go even more in-depth, see additional details at the Libraries’ Adopting an Open Textbook page. 

  1. Gather the learning outcomes for your course. These outcomes should guide (and streamline) your search for content to support your students’ learning.  
  1. Find potential textbook and supplemental course material candidates. First, consider your options for different materials. Then, access more guidance from the UT Libraries’ Open Textbook Guide.  
  1. Evaluate the resources, considering your textbook criteria, the availability of any ancillary materials needed, and the extent to which the resource(s) can be used “as is” or will require modification. If modification is necessary, consult the UT Libraries’ Modifying an Open Textbook guide
  1. Distribute to your students. Consult the Open Educational Portal for guidance on your options for distribution. (Scroll down to “Distribute to your students.”).  
  1. Let the UT Libraries know of your adoption using this form. This enables tracking of the savings to students and alerts the VolShop to be prepared in case some students wish to purchase a bound copy of the text at low cost. 

Learn more about OER and other zero-cost options by visiting the UT Libraries’ Open Education Portal