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Open Educational Resources: Update on our intentions and progress

Questions and Answers about our Initiative

  • Why did you create this particular approach to introducing open textbooks (as opposed to, say, approaching faculty "champions" that would adopt these texts, and then showcase them as exemplars. Or other methods)? Was your approach modeled on or derived from any other institution's previous efforts?

This initiative was part of a larger Scholarly Communications conversation the library is introducing on our campus, which will address many issues related to disruptive influences impacting intellectual property, teaching pedagogy, and new faculty behaviors. We are attempting to have a multi-faceted analysis, as many groups have differing positions. Our goal is to develop a strategic response that provides guidance and explains best practices in terms of supporting a balanced set of student, faculty, and administrative interests. Working with a faculty Review Team allows us to speak peer-to-peer, which is always the most effective way to communicate.

  • Did you always assume that the library was the logical place to head up this team's creation and management, or did you envision other possibilities?

The library has the best long-term understanding of the underlying financial and intellectual property issues. It makes sense that we frame the initial conversation with the faculty about how to address their concerns in terms of a viable long-term model. It certainly helped that the library was able to administer a grant to explore these types of activities, supporting hardware, software, faculty explorations, and student support. The partners in moving this plan forward are the Faculty Senate and the Administration, both important for explaining the issues to their constituents and providing long-term support in terms of infrastructures and policies.  

  • After this team delivers its findings, what do you see as some likely subsequent steps? Or what's next in general?

The next steps are holding campus-wide conversations and demonstrations that engage all players in the discussion. This will hopefully lead to the adoption of best practices that achieve our long-terms goals of utilizing efficient and effective teaching methods with viable economic models. Expanding our Institutional Repository holdings with locally created materials is also another way to demonstrate effective OER capacity and contributions.

  • Finally (and perhaps most importantly)- if you could start over, would you do anything differently regarding this topic, or do you think it's too early to say? What does a "successful" outcome look like in terms of SXU? 

I think our immediate involvement of faculty members and technology units was essential to moving us forward in a strategic and politically effective way. While it is early in our roll-out, we are excited to see our concerns and approaches resonate with some faculty, and that our issues have been adopted for larger conversations and activities at the campus level. Success will be having a sensitive and clear statement of our concerns, a set of support structures for selected actions, and a standing team of campus members continuing to review of the landscape for the next disruptive influences and appropriate responses. There is always more to do, but we believe we are now aware and proactive.

Last updated: March 10, 2016

Freshman OER Challenge Spring 2019

Our intention is to migrate as many classes from commercial textbooks to OER materials as possible.


Fall 2018: number of enrolled Freshman students were used to generate "per semester" savings estimates:  ($75 per book)

                                                                                                                            Students                  Dollars

  5  No - inexpensive option is satisfactory; 2 looking, options seem weak.      112 students     =      $8,400

  9  No textbook used                                                                                         547 students            41,025 (virtual savings)

  5  Adopted OER (partial or full)                                                                       142 students             85,650 (captured savings)

14  Looking/considering                                                                                    1299 students           97,425 (potential savings)


   Costs per book increase each year in many disciplines, so savings increase as you replace higher-level textbooks with OER materials.

The latest 2017 OER survey shows a variety of faculty preferences, and related data including: 

    (1) a $97 average price for textbooks, with averages by discipline found on the following chart

    (2) the percentage of students who actually purchase textbooks by discipline. 

A recent Faculty Stipend project produced a mid-semester summary of lessons learned: IMPACT OF OPEN EDUCATIONAL RESOURCES (OERS) ON GENETICS STUDENTS? A QUALITATIVE STUDY AT SAINT XAVIER UNIVERSITY 

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