Boise State University Embraces OER

The following is today’s Monday Memo from the Provost’s Office:

Dear Colleagues,

You may have read the UPDATE piece published over the weekend titled “Support for Open Educational Resources is Growing on Campus.”  If not, I ask you to take a few minutes to do so.

The support described there is an important part of a strategic campus commitment to increase the implementation of reduced- and no-cost course materials for students.  With the average total cost of traditional textbooks trending around $1,000 per year, exploring alternatives can help to increase access and academic success for students.  I’m pleased that we have as many faculty and staff engaged in this effort as we do.

OER is just one approach to reducing course material costs for students.  It’s maturing as a resource base, and we’re developing a high level of expertise in a number of campus units, including Albertsons Library, the Bookstore, eCampus, the IDEA Shop, and Learning Technology Solutions.  Still, we recognize and acknowledge that other cost-reducing approaches are legitimate and might better serve students than OER would in particular course contexts at this time.

The State Board of Education is keenly interested in colleges and universities experimenting with and adopting OER.  So much so, in fact, that both my office and attendees of a recent General Education Summit were tasked with collecting data regarding the use of OER in GEM-stamped courses, resulting in some duplication of effort.  I appreciate the patience and cooperation of faculty and department chairs in our data collection, and I want to assure everyone that part of my job is to appropriately steer statewide conversations toward all legitimate cost-reducing approaches, and not to focus exclusively on OER.

Please note that, one month from today on Nov. 8, representatives from the Open Textbook Network and experts from other universities will provide training in the use of open textbooks and related materials.  Interested faculty can learn more about this opportunity and register for the workshop on this page.

I encourage all faculty to learn more about reduced-cost options, both through opportunities like the OTN workshop and our own Bookstore’s excellent textbook adoption platform.

Thank you for your attention and for all that you do at Boise State.



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