About this Project


Few formal reports have been published on the implementation and impact of OER/No Cost/Low Cost designations integrated into course schedules at colleges and universities. This booklet aims to lessen the literature gap by providing written accounts of the course marking drivers, implementation strategies, challenges, and lessons learned presented by panelists at the 16th Annual Open Education Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, in October 2019. Slides from the panel presentation are available online.

Panel Abstract

The practice of adding either OER or no-cost / low-cost materials designators in course catalogs is on the rise, aiming to give more visibility and transparency to students and administrators as to which courses offer these more affordable options. Panelists representing system-wide and state-wide efforts from California, Connecticut, Georgia, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington will share their experiences and expertise in implementing systems and processes to put these new designators in place. The panelists will share the drivers behind these efforts, challenges faced along the way, and what institutions, higher education systems, and state-wide organizations should keep in mind when starting their own course marking projects.

About the Authors

Nicole Allen is the Director of Open Education at SPARC. A decade and a half ago, she was an undergraduate student frustrated with the cost of textbooks. Today, she is an internationally recognized policy expert, community organizer, and speaker on open education, educational technology, and higher education reform. Motivated by the belief that everyone, everywhere should be able to participate in shaping human knowledge, Nicole’s work includes advocating for effective open policies, supporting open education programming for SPARC’s network, and empowering emerging leaders in the open education movement.

Boyoung Chae is a Policy Associate of Educational Technology and Open Education with the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC). She led the development of several state-wide OER initiatives, such as Open Course Library and Open Washington. Recently, with her SBCTC colleague Mark Jenkins, she co-authored an OER research report awarded the Open Education Consortium’s Open Research Award for Open Education Excellence, and a book chapter for UNESCO publication (Open Educational Resources: Policy, Costs and Transformation). Mark Jenkins is the director of Educational Technology and Open Education division of SBCTC and a co-author of the original article previously published at WCET Frontiers. He has graciously allowed the reproduction of this article for the Price Transparency project.

Kevin Corcoran is the Executive Director of Digital Learning for the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System. Kevin is responsible for the development and support of system-wide strategies for the effective use of digital learning tools and content that focuses on quality standards and practices, student engagement, accessibility and affordability.  Kevin currently serves as the Statewide Coordinator for Connecticut’s Open Educational Resources Coordinating Council and is one of the founders of the Northeast OER Summit. He also chairs a CSCU system-wide Open Education Resources council and formerly co-chaired a Connecticut Legislative OER Task Force.

Michael Daly is the Director of Operations for SUNY OER Services (SOS), a shared service organization working with SUNY campuses, faculty, and students to drive large-scale adoption of open educational resources (OER) as a strategy for increasing student success and empowering faculty pedagogy. In his role, he also facilitates the active participation and engagement with SUNY’s external partners in OER, including rpk GROUP, as campuses develop OER sustainability plans that reflect local values and cultures. Prior to joining SOS, he spent ten years as the Instruction/Public Services librarian at Fulton-Montgomery Community College (SUNY), where he developed and lead a robust campus-wide OER program.

Ann Fiddler is the Open Education Librarian for the City University of New York in the Office of the Dean of Library Services. This office supports 32 libraries across 24 campuses in the 5 boroughs of New York City. Ann has been overseeing Open Educational Resource initiatives across the university since 2014. She has been the principal investigator for grants in support of OER from Achieving the Dream, The Gates Foundation, and The Public Interest Technology Network. She is currently leading the University-wide OER Initiative generously funded by New York State. She works together with the Scholarly Communications Librarian to promote open pedagogy and practice at CUNY

Jeff Gallant is the Program Director of Affordable Learning Georgia, an initiative of the University System of Georgia (USG). He directs the implementation of strategies and activities identified for increasing textbook affordability within the USG including grant programs, partnerships, and collaborative projects, coordinates Campus Champions and Library Coordinators at each USG institution, conducts data analyses of programs and develops reports, and manages system-wide communications including the initiative’s website and newsletter. Jeff often represents Affordable Learning Georgia externally at meetings, conferences, and site visits, and he has served as a mentor in the SPARC Open Education Leadership program since its inception.

James Glapa-Grossklag is Dean, Educational Technology, Learning Resources, and Distance Learning at College of the Canyons. He supervises Online Education, Tutoring, Libraries, and Educational Travel. For the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, he directs the Distance Education Captioning and Transcription grant and co-coordinates Technical Assistance for the Zero Textbook Cost grant program. James is past President of the Open Education Consortium; the Community College Consortium for Open Educatonal Resources; and Directors of Educational Technology in California Higher Education. He has served as a trainer on OER for the US State Department and is a frequent invited speaker on OER and online education. He teaches courses on accessibility and digital citizenship. He earned tenure as a faculty member in history.

Amy Hofer, Coordinator, Statewide Open Education Library Services, is the OER librarian for Oregon’s colleges and universities; visit the Open Oregon Educational Resources website to learn more. Amy is a coauthor of the book “Transforming Information Literacy Instruction: Threshold Concepts in Theory and Practice.” By night she is a fiddler and square dance caller.

Michelle Reed is Associate Librarian and Director of Open Educational Resources at the University of Texas at Arlington. She leads OER initiatives, directs OER publishing, and manages a grant program to advance the use of open resources on campus. She is a former fellow of the Open Education Group’s OER Research Fellowship Program and the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program. She is active in both statewide and national OER efforts, serving on the University of Texas System Affordable Learning Accelerator Task Force, as a presenter for the Open Textbook Network, and as presenter coordinator and curriculum designer for the Association of College & Research Libraries’ OER and Affordability Roadshow. She serves as project manager, co-editor, contributing author, and publisher for the Marking Open and Affordable Courses book project.

About the Cover

Brittany Griffiths, UTA Libraries’ Publishing Specialist, designed the cover. The image used is “Map – United States of America” from Pixabay and is licensed CC0.

Thanks to Kartik Mann of UTA Libraries for supporting the creation of this resource.


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Price Transparency by Boyoung Chae; Kevin Corcoran; Michael Daly; Ann Fiddler; Jeff Gallant; James Glapa-Grossklag; Amy Hofer; and Michelle Reed is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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