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Open Educational Resources: About OER at Salem State

A guide for faculty to assist with finding and adopting quality Open Educational Resources that help reduce the cost of course materials for students


The Salem State Viking OER & Textbook Affordability Initiative

In Fall 2018, Salem State launched the Viking OER & Textbook Affordability Initiative. This project, initially funded by a Performance Incentive Grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, provides a campus-wide, programmatic approach to faculty professional development to raise awareness, facilitate expansion, and foster innovative creation of Open Educational Resources (OER) and lower the cost of course materials for students. The major objectives of the project in its first year were to:

  • engage 25% of Salem State faculty in re-designing syllabi to incorporate OER.

  • increase existing savings of textbook costs for students to $500,000 in the first year.

  • double the number of OER materials currently used in Salem State courses.

  • create a cohort of faculty innovators who are creating OER materials

The Viking OER & Textbook Affordability Initiative continues to support faculty professional development every year with compensated opportunities for learning about OER, creating OER, and using OER to lower the cost of course materials for students. The annual call for grant applications is issued in November with notification of awards by early January. 


In November 2020, the Viking OER and Textbook Affordability Initiative invited faculty members to apply for $500 mini grants to support "zero cost" courses, where the total cost of course materials for students is $0. Instructors who had developed "zero cost" courses and are teaching those courses in Fall 2020 and/or Spring 2021 were eligible to apply for the award by December 15, 2020. 

Congratulations to the recipients of this year's awards, who are as follows:

Faculty Department Course(s)
Lisa Delissio Biology BIO 218
Brett Ely Sport and Movement Science SMS 
Tatyana Gofshteyn Economics ECO 201
Melanie Gonzalez Education: Secondary and Higher Education EDC 721
Jeannette Lindholm English ENL 130
Michele Louro History HST 105
Sara Moore Sociology SOC 217
Megan Shumaker Murphy Education: Early Childhood and Care EDC 721
Anne Noonan Psychology PSY 322, 333
Francesca Pomerantz      Education: Early Childhood and Care     EDC 805
Thea Popolizio           Biology BIO 131
Sheila Marie Schreiner    Biology  BIO 304
Amy Smith    Media and Communication MCO 225
Cindy Vincent Media and Communication MCO 220

OER Workshops and Events

Throughout the Spring 2019 semester, Salem State hosted a series of events and workshops featuring experts on different aspects of textbook affordability and OER. Go to our Events and Workshops page to read more about these events that were held, and to see upcoming offerings.

OER Faculty Learning Communities

Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are faculty-led focus groups that meet bi-weekly to learn and work together. Three FLCs were formed in Spring 2019 to focus on OER. Participants committed to redesigning their syllabi for one or more course to integrate lower-cost materials and/or OER. Each of the 3 leaders and participants received stipends for their work.

2019 Faculty Learning Community Participants

OER Innovators Mini-Grants

These mini-grants were available for faculty to work independently to transform their course either through adoption of OER and low-cost materials and/or to create their own OER. In 2019, there were 15 mini-grants for faculty to transform courses through adoption of existing resources. Since 2019, there have been 4 grants of $3,000 each for faculty member who created their own OER. 

2019 OER Mini-Grant Recipients

2020 OER Mini-Grant Recipients

OER Summer Institute

During this intensive, 3-day institute, faculty participants were introduced to resources for selecting affordable and freely available course materials with the goal of transforming one or more of their course syllabi. Registration was limited to 10 faculty who received a stipend for completing the institute. The Summer Institute took place Tues, May 28 - Thurs, May 30, 2019.

2019 Summer Institute Grant Recipients



For questions, please contact one of the co-directors of the Viking OER & Textbook Affordability Initiative:

Elizabeth McKeigue
Dean of the Library

Gail Rankin
Deputy CIO and Director of Academic and Educational Technologies

Roopika Risam
Associate Professor and Faculty Fellow for Digital Library Initiatives; Chair of Secondary & Higher Education

For help and advice for finding resources in your specific discipline, go to the Contact a Librarian page to find the subject librarian for your discipline.