Providing a Powerful Choice: Lessons from a Young OER Initiative

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In this talk, the librarians will describe their role in promoting Open Educational Resources (OER), while tapping into the partnership created with the deans, department chairs, faculty members, and one of the provosts of the college. OER ensures equal access to otherwise cost-prohibitive textbooks, but concerns about quality and lack of knowledge about the real costs of commercial textbooks and their effect on students can suppress adoption of OER. To address these concerns, we surveyed the college's faculty members. The faculty survey helped us to assess (i) the decision process behind the selection of educational resources and how satisfied they are with their options; (ii) the proportion of students who purchase required textbooks, as reported by the faculty, and textbook prices; and (iii) potential barriers to adoption of OER. While this first step allowed us to assess OER awareness, we focused our efforts on reaching out to senior administration and faculty in order to promote OER. This particular institution is composed of multiple campuses in multiple states and countries. The results we discuss are the introductory efforts of one campus' initiative in the U.S. From these initial advocacy stages, we will highlight the benefits of having the library as a central partner for OER dissemination, as well as the importance of collaboration across the institution.