UMass Boston News

Open Educational Resources (OER) Information Session

OpenUMB Open Educational Resources at UMass Boston
Event Date: November 15, 2017 - 12 p.m.
Location: Campus Center, 3rd Floor, Room 3215

As you know, one of the major expenses students incur in college is on textbooks and other materials for class. To help students cut down on schooling costs, universities and community colleges across the country have embarked on programs to replace textbooks with Open Educational Resources (OER). These are resources that are available at no or little cost to the student.

Studies show that the quality of OER materials is just as high as that of traditional textbooks. Using OER in class has shown to improve test scores, enhance completion rates, improve retention, and most important—make the courses affordable. [Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research & Development]

In addition to adopting OER content, faculty members can build on existing OER content as well as create new content to meet their teaching and pedagogical needs and give back to the open education community.

Healey Library and IT Educational Technology have joined forces to support faculty members that would like to adopt an open textbook or other OER content, and/or would like to create OER content to be used for their course.

As a way to promote this service, we will be hosting two informative sessions in the upcoming weeks. These sessions will allow you to speak one-on-one with team members and learn how you can adopt content that is openly available (released under Creative Commons open licenses that allow use, re-purposing and distribution) and/or use content that we subscribe to already (not openly licensed, but free for the UMass Boston community). The goal is to save money for our students and make education a little bit more affordable.

  • Session 1: Wednesday, November 15 from Noon to 2 p.m. – Campus Center 03-3215
  • Session 2: Tuesday December 5 from 10:00am to 2 p.m. – Campus Center 03-3545


To illustrate the impact of OER in lowering education costs, we would like to share with you the following two success stories of UMass Boston faculty adopting OER content, or content from Healey Library subscriptions:

  • $32,000 Saved in Biology 101. By replacing the required textbook for Biology 101 (a cost of $140) with Concepts of Biology by OpenStax (free), in fall 2016 and spring 2017, Professor Tara Ashok was able to save her students $32,000. 150 students were enrolled in the course in fall 2016, and 80 students in spring 2017; 230 students x $140 = $32,000.
  • $6,555 Saved in NURSING 601. By replacing the required textbook (a cost of $115) with materials from library subscriptions and with OER content, Professor Priscilla Gazarian of Nursing 601 was able to save her students $6,555 in spring 2017; 57 students x $115 = $6,555.

For disability-related accommodations, including dietary accommodations, please visit www.ada.umb.edu two weeks prior to the event.

Tags: oer