In 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) in order to lower the cost of course materials for students. The major accomplishments of the project in its first year included:
engaged 25% of Salem State faculty in re-designing syllabi to incorporate OER and no-cost resources.
increased existing savings of textbook costs for students to $500,000 in the first year.
doubled the number of OER materials used in Salem State courses at that time.
created a cohort of faculty innovators who were 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 adopting the use of OER and library-funded resources in their teaching in order to lower the cost of course materials for students.
Salem State reported the following textbook affordability statistics to the MA Department of Higher Education (DHE) for AY 2022 and AY 2023:
|Reported number of sections with no-cost materials||416||304|
|Total number of students enrolled in reported no-cost sections||7,377||5,547|
|Estimated savings for no-cost sections (DHE defined at $117 per student)||$863,109||$648,999|
|Reported number of sections with low-cost (<$50)||363||112|
|Total number of students enrolled in reported low-cost (<$50)||6,024||1,949|
|Estimated savings for low-cost sections (DHE defined at $77 per student)||$463,848||$150,073|
Salem State hosts and/or makes available 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 and to see upcoming offerings.
Faculty Learning Communities (FLCs) are faculty-led focus groups that meet every other week during one semester to learn and work together. All participants commit to redesigning their syllabi for one or more course to integrate lower-cost materials and/or OER. The leader receives $750 and each participant receives $500 for their work.
These grants are available for faculty to work independently to redesign their course either through adoption of OER and low-cost materials or to create their own OER. Grants for adoption of OER are $500 per faculty per course. Grants for creating, remixing, writing, and rewriting an OER text are $3,000. The list of grant awardees from 2019 - present can be found here.
During this intensive, 3-day institute, faculty participants are introduced to resources for selecting affordable and freely available course materials with the goal of transforming one or more of their course syllabi. Registration is limited to 10 faculty who receive a $500 stipend for completing the institute.
For questions, please contact one of the leaders of the Viking OER & Textbook Affordability Initiative:
Professor of History and Faculty Fellow for OER & Textbook Affordability, 2023-2025
Dean of the Library
Deputy CIO and Director of Academic and Educational Technologies
Director of the Center for Teaching Innovation
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.
The Viking OER & Textbook Affordability Initiative is forever grateful to founding co-director and former professor at Salem State, Roopika Risam for her vision, leadership, insight, collegiality, and commitment to supporting students by making college more affordable. Professor Risam is now Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies and of Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College, where she is part of the Digital Humanities and Social Engagement Cluster.