Utah State University Libraries received a donation of $1,000 from Friends of Merrill-Cazier Library to increase Open Educational Resources (OER) funding. The Friends also agreed to match additional donations until commencement, up to another $1,000.
OER provides free or low-cost textbooks and other learning materials for students. Permission to use these items is generally granted by an open license and can be adapted for individual class needs.
“Having additional funding for OER will help support faculty in adopting, adapting or creating OER,” Scholarly Communication Librarian Shannon Smith said. “All three of these modes can help both students save money and engage more fully with their learning experiences.”
According to a 2016 Public Interest Research Group report, students in the United States spend around $1,200 on textbooks a year. Because of this, low-income students either go without course materials or drop out of courses altogether.
While OER aims to help curb this cost for students, it can also be beneficial for faculty.
“Using OER creates an opportunity for faculty to tailor learning materials to their pedagogy,” Smith said. “Faculty are excited about the potential to support the learning outcomes of their students with greater flexibility.”
To donate to OER, visit usu.edu/giving and select Merrill-Cazier Library. From there, select Friends of Merrill-Cazier Library and type “OER” in the special instructions space.