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Open Educational Resources: OER Success Stories

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

Classroom Success Stories

Biology 131: Introduction to Organisms

Institution: Salem State University

Instructor: Thea Popolizio

Story: Professor Thea Popolizio's Biology 131: Introduction to Organisms is a zero-cost materials course. All reading materials for this class are available for free online. The course uses the open textbook Biology 2e from OpenStax. Students have two options to obtain the book: View online (free) or order a print copy (minimal cost). Students may use whichever formats they choose, but the online version is recommended— the responsive design works seamlessly on any device. Additional and alternative open reading material and media resources are provided via links on the class webpage to supplement the textbook. The textbook used previously cost $150, which amounts to nearly $16,000 in savings for over 100 students per semester. 

Alternate materials and cost: Biology: How Life Works, 3rd Edition. MacMillian Publishing. Maximum cost = $150

Open materials and cost: Biology 2e from OpenStax. Cost = $0

Average Enrollment per Semester: 106 (3 sections)

Savings per semester: $15,900


Economics 201: Principles of Macroeconomics

Institution: Salem State University

Instructor: Tatyana Gofshteyn

Story: This course uses open educational resource (OER) in place of a commercial textbook. Principles of Microeconomics 2e by OpenStax is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution License v4.0. All material for this class is free and available in digital format. This course was designed and created under Salem State's Viking Open Educational Resources (OER) and Textbook Affordability Initiative, initially funded by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Performance Incentive Fund (PIF) program.

Alternate materials and cost: Macroecomomics by N. Gregory Mankiw (MacMillian). Maximum full-package cost = $200

Open materials and cost: Principles of Microeconomics 2e by OpenStax = $0

Average Enrollment per Semester: 91 (4 sections)

Savings per semester: $18,200