UH Libraries News

$75K Gift to Support Open Educational Resources

University of Houston Libraries has received a gift of $75,000 from the John P. McGovern Foundation, designated for open educational resources (OER).

OER are teaching and learning tools, either in the public domain or released with an open license, that anyone can freely use and re-purpose. OER at UH began in 2017 in response to advocacy from the Student Government Association regarding textbook affordability concerns. Commercial textbook costs have risen dramatically over the past few decades, with both financial and academic impact on many UH students. While expensive textbooks prevent students from accessing course materials, OER provide free and immediate access to course materials, allowing students to be prepared on the first day of class, earn better grades, and stay enrolled in the course.

Dr. Paula Myrick Short, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, introduced the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). In partnership with the Office of the Provost, UH Libraries implemented ATIP, which awards instructors who adopt OER in their courses, replacing commercial textbooks with OER and/or the use of freely available or library-owned resources. Since 2018, ATIP has provided three rounds of funding for faculty who have adopted alternative textbooks, benefitting a total of 10,171 students and saving an estimated $1,183,564 in student textbook fees.

Additionally, instructors are afforded flexibility and customization through OER to produce course content that is appropriate, updated and diverse. Faculty have reported improvements in student preparation, engagement, and learning outcomes in connection with increased access to materials.

“I was thrilled to learn about this gift to the Libraries to support OER, an initiative I have known to be crucial for access to course materials for many of our students,” Short said. “The McGovern Foundation’s support emphasizes the ongoing achievements of this program and provides essential funding for its enduring success.” 

With the McGovern gift, UH Libraries is empowered to better support faculty who take on the workload of preparing their own course materials. Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator at UH Libraries, facilitates outreach and education for faculty on OER-related topics and coordinates a growing community of practice on OER. “The generous donation from the McGovern Foundation will allow UH Libraries to increase incentives for faculty who adopt OER,” Santiago said. “Providing free and immediate access to course materials makes higher education more affordable and improves the academic experience for our students.”

“This gift from the McGovern Foundation allows us to strengthen the great progress of this critical program,” said Athena Jackson, dean of UH Libraries and Elizabeth D. Rockwell chair. “UH Libraries remains dedicated to Provost Short’s student success initiatives which enable us to scale our efforts and ensure the broadest level of partnerships across campus.”

By on August 27th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, OER

Call for Applications: Alternative Textbook Incentive Program

University of Houston Libraries is now accepting applications for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP). As part of the University’s initiative to help mitigate the high cost of textbooks for students, the incentive program will award UH instructors who adopt, modify, or create an open or alternative textbook in their courses.

UPDATED DEADLINE: Instructors are encouraged to apply to ATIP by October 22, 2021. Awards of between $1,000 and $5,000 will be made based on the estimated financial impact for students, projected student impact, and overall feasibility of the proposal.

Open educational resources (OER) offer an alternative to the problem of expensive textbooks for students. Studies* show that 65% of college students skip buying textbooks due to the cost. By shifting to freely accessible and openly licensed teaching and learning tools, including textbooks, more students will have access to course materials, allowing them to be prepared for class on the first day, stay enrolled in the course, and perform better on course assignments. 

UH faculty are encouraged to attend an upcoming information session to learn about the incentive program and the benefits of alternative textbooks. Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator, is available by appointment to discuss implementing open textbooks in the classroom and the support provided through the incentive program.

Please contact us at oer@uh.edu for more information.

*Fixing the Broken Textbook Market: Third Edition

Textbook Broke: Textbook Affordability as a Social Justice Issue

2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey

By on August 27th, 2021 in Announcements, Featured, OER

Open Education Week 2021

Open Education Week is March 1 – 5. University of Houston Libraries joins the global movement to raise awareness and demonstrate the impact of open education.

According to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), open education “encompasses resources, tools and practices that are free of legal, financial and technical barriers and can be fully used, shared and adapted in the digital environment” and “maximizes the power of the Internet to make education more affordable, accessible and effective.”

Learn about open educational resources (OER)

The OER and Alternative Textbook Handbook provides an introduction to open education, and recorded OER training sessions are available on the Open Educational Resources Channel on Microsoft Stream.

Register for the Open Texas Conference

The inaugural Open Texas Conference (March 11 – 12, 2021) offers free registration. This no-cost professional development opportunity brings together open education practitioners and advocates from across Texas, including presentations by UH faculty. 

Submit your OER to the OERTX Repository

The recently-launched OERTX Repository is a public digital repository of OER designed to meet the needs of Texas students and faculty. Explore the collection of free resources and consider submitting your work to the repository. 

Attend an Open Education Week event

Institutions worldwide are hosting events to celebrate Open Education Week. A few are highlighted below:

For more information about OER, visit UH Libraries Open Educational Resources.

Upcoming OER Events

University of Houston Libraries will host several events related to open educational resources this semester.

Open Educational Resources Office Hours

Stop by to learn about open educational resources (OER). The OER Coordinator will be available in the Faculty Cafe to answer your questions, including helping to find and evaluate OER for your courses. These events are in partnership with Faculty Engagement and Development.

Tuesday, January 21, 1 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, January 28, 1 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, February 4, 1 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, February 11, 1 – 2 p.m.
Tuesday, February 18, 1 – 2 p.m.


Alternative Textbook Incentive Program Lunch and Learn
Wednesday, January 22 | 12 – 1:30 p.m. | Ezekiel W. Cullen Room 33 (Faculty Cafe)

The Alternative Textbook Incentive Program awards UH instructors who replace a required traditional textbook in their course with open educational resources (OER) or other freely-available resources. Ariana Santiago, the OER Coordinator, will share information about the incentive program, including tips for preparing a successful application. The deadline for proposals for Summer 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021 is Friday February 21. This event is in partnership with Faculty Engagement and Development.

Box lunches are provided to the first ten attendees to arrive.


Alternative Textbook Incentive Program: Faculty Insights
Friday, February 7 | 10 – 11 a.m. | Agnes Arnold Hall Room 210

Due to the high costs of commercial textbooks, 37% of UH students don’t purchase required textbooks; they also report earning poor grades, taking fewer courses, and not registering for specific courses due to textbook costs. Through the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP), UH instructors replace traditional textbooks with open or alternative textbooks in their courses, allowing all students free and immediate access to course materials. This presentation will share ATIP application information and insights from faculty who participated in the 2019-20 ATIP cohort.

Register here

This event is part of the Emerging Trends in Educational Technology lecture series, a partnership of the Office of the Provost and the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.

By on January 21st, 2020 in Announcements, OER, Student Success

Alternative Textbook Incentive Program Applications Now Open

University of Houston Libraries is now accepting applications for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program. As part of the University’s initiative to help mitigate the high cost of textbooks for students, the incentive program will award UH instructors who adopt, modify, or create an open or alternative textbook in their courses.

Instructors of record for a Summer 2020, Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 course are encouraged to apply to the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program by February 21, 2020. Awards of between $500 and $2500 will be made based on the estimated financial impact for students, type of alternative textbook project, and overall feasibility of the proposal.

Open educational resources (OER) offer an alternative to the problem of expensive textbooks for students. According to a recent survey conducted by the UH Student Government Association, over 37% of respondents have not purchased a required textbook due to the cost. By shifting to freely accessible and openly licensed teaching and learning tools, including textbooks, more students will have access to course materials, allowing them to be prepared for class on the first day, stay enrolled in the course, and perform better on course assignments. Open and alternative textbooks saved UH students an estimated $2.3 million in two academic years.

For more information, contact oer@uh.edu.

By on December 17th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured, OER

UH Libraries Receives $100,000 Gift for OER

University of Houston Libraries has received an anonymous gift of $100,000 to support the expansion of open educational resources (OER).

OER are teaching and learning tools, either in the public domain or released with an open license, that anyone can freely use and re-purpose. As universities across the U.S. have embraced OER, academic libraries have become central to the adoption of open educational materials in the classroom.

Commercial textbook costs have risen more than four times the rate of inflation over the past few decades, which have both financial and academic impact on many University of Houston students. A survey conducted by the UH Student Government Association found that over 37% of UH students reported not purchasing a required textbook due to cost.

While expensive textbooks prevent students from accessing course materials, OER provide free and immediate access to course materials, allowing students to be prepared on the first day of class, earn better grades, and stay enrolled in the course.

To help eliminate this barrier to student success, UH Libraries has created the Alternative Textbook Incentive Program (ATIP) for faculty to adopt OER for their curricula. Co-sponsored by the UH Office of the Provost, ATIP provides awards to faculty who take steps to implement an open or alternative textbook. In the 1st year of ATIP, 16 projects were awarded, resulting in student cost savings of over $203,000 for the 2018-19 academic year. In the 2nd year, 23 projects were awarded, with projected student cost savings of over $757,000 for the 2019-20 academic year.

ATIP is part of the burgeoning OER initiatives at UH. Ariana Santiago, open educational resources coordinator at UH Libraries, facilitates outreach and education for faculty on OER-related topics, and coordinates a growing community of practice on OER.

“This significant gift will allow UH Libraries to expand the OER program to improve the academic experience of our students,” said dean of UH Libraries Lisa German. “With this donation, we’ll be able to increase incentives for faculty who implement OER and increase the opportunity for students to academically succeed.”

By on November 26th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured, OER, Student Success

Open Access Week 2019

This week marks Open Access Week 2019 with the theme “Open for Whom? Equity in Open Knowledge.” According to the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), open access is the “free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment. Open access ensures that anyone can access and use these results – to turn ideas into industries and breakthroughs into better lives.”

Open Access Week 2019

Open Access Week 2019

University of Houston Libraries will host three events, and will introduce a new campus-wide open access service, to promote open access and to highlight University initiatives related to open access.

New Service

The new service from UH Libraries, the Assisted Institutional Repository Submissions Service, is an initiative to help faculty get more of their peer-reviewed journal publications, book chapters, and conference proceedings publicly available through Cougar ROAR. UH Libraries will process any UH faculty member’s CV or list of peer-reviewed publications for permission clearance and deposit all eligible works into the UH Institutional Repository. For more information, contact Taylor Davis-Van Atta.

Events

October 18: Open Educational Resources Discussion Group
University of Houston faculty are invited to join this informal gathering to meet and learn from others who are interested in open educational resources (OER). Brown bag lunch; snacks will be provided.

12 noon – 1 p.m., MD Anderson Library Training Room 10-G
Register here (walk-ins welcome)

October 23: Open Educational Resources
Do you want to reduce the cost of textbooks for your students? Do you want more flexibility with your course materials than is possible with a traditional textbook? Drop by the Faculty Cafe to learn about OER, freely available learning materials which can be legally used, shared, and adapted. In this session, we will address common questions about OER and provide information on how to apply for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program. This event is in partnership with Faculty Engagement and Development and the CLASS Office of Educational Technology.

10 – 11 a.m., Faculty Café
Register here (walk-ins welcome)

October 24: Open Educational Resources
Do you want to reduce the cost of textbooks for your students? Do you want more flexibility with your course materials than is possible with a traditional textbook? Drop by the Faculty Cafe to learn about OER, freely available learning materials which can be legally used, shared, and adapted. In this session, we will address common questions about OER and provide information on how to apply for the UH Alternative Textbook Incentive Program. This event is in partnership with Faculty Engagement and Development and the CLASS Office of Educational Technology.

10 – 11 a.m., Faculty Café
Register here (walk-ins welcome)

OER Discussion Group

University of Houston Libraries will host a series of open educational resources (OER) discussion group meetings for faculty. Meetings will be held from 12 pm – 1 pm in the MD Anderson Library Training Room 10-G (basement level) on the following dates:

  • Friday, September 27
  • Friday, October 18
  • Friday, November 15

Snacks will be provided, and attendees are welcome to bring lunch. Sign up here. Walk-ins are welcome.

View all upcoming OER events at UH

By on September 6th, 2019 in Announcements, Featured, OER