SPARC Projects

Connect OER

Open Education

Brigham Young University

Provo, UT, United States
Official Website @BYU

Type: Private 4-Year, Research University
Annual Enrollment: 30,484

  SPARC Member  

OER LibGuide


The initial impetus at BYU was begun by the library in 2015 and has spread through other parts of the campus. The University Librarian assembled a group of campus stakeholders who have continued to meet to find ways to collaborate on reducing course materials costs for students. In March 2017, an official charge for the Affordable Course Materials Working Group was approved by University administration. The working group consists of these members: the Library; the BYU Store; the Center for Teaching and Learning; the Faculty Center; the Student Advisory Council; the Student Center for Financial Management and Planning; and the Copyright Licensing Office. In addition we are seeking participation from the Faculty Advisory Council (Faculty Senate), the Faculty General Education Committee (FGEC), the Accessibility Office, and the Office of Information Technology. At the same time, the library administration approved the Library Affordable Course Materials Committee which works toward encouraging the use of library materials, subscriptions or not, to assist in reducing course materials costs.

While OER are important, the emphasis at BYU, as evident in the groups’ names, has been more on reducing course materials costs using available resources, including library databases and e-books. Many courses taught on campus still do not have OER available but many can use other resources that could reduce the cost. For example, one course requires the purchase of a course packet that is simply an organized collection of online talks which costs the students only about $20.00. We are in process of converting this to an online collection that, while not having a huge impact, will save the students some money. One of the efforts the library committee is working on is how to leverage the subscription and local collections to facilitate their use in courses. Members of this library committee include: Digital Learning Services Librarian; Electronic Resources Librarian; Senior Manager of Design, Marketing, and Communications; Course Reserve representative; Special Collections representative; ScholarsArchive (BYU’s Institutional Repository) representative; Library Liaison Group representative; Library FGEC representative.

In winter 2016 the Friends of the Library Board donated grant funds to support the conversion of three courses to use OER. These three courses, PSYCH 111—Psychological Science, PDBIO 220—Human Anatomy, and M-COM 320—Communication in Organizational Settings, will begin using their new textbooks in fall 2017 and will conduct rigorous side-by-side or year-over-year evaluations on the achievement of learning objectives with the new course materials. Each of these courses chose a different method of converting to using OER. One chose to adopt existing content, one is adapting content from multiple sources, and the other is creating new content that better prepares students for their profession post-graduation.

While these are the course financially supported by the library, there are other courses using OER or reduced cost course materials. Courses including CHEM 105/106—Introductory General Chemistry, PHSCS 471—Principles of Optics, STAT 121—Principles of Statistics, NDFS 201—Society, Nutrition, and Chronic Disease, and IHUM 201/202—Western Humanities 1 & 2 have made the change or are in the process of reducing the cost of course materials.

In summer of 2015 the Library joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN) and has leveraged their services. In the fall of that same year the library hosted a state-wide higher-education training with Nicole Allen, SPARC’s Director of Open Education. Following this the Utah Academic Library Consortium (UALC) decided to join OTN and form a UALC OER Committee with representation from all interested institutions. In fall 2016, OTN did a presentation to representatives of all interested state institutions on how to work individually and as a consortium to promote the OER agenda.

Campus Details

Campus Entities Most Active in Efforts Advancing OER:

Library Departments Active in Efforts Advancing OER:

Academic Subjects With Greatest OER Traction:

Mechanisms to Support OER Included in the Following:

OER Staff Location:

OER Programs

Affordable Course Materials

After receiving funds from the Friends of the Library board for one round of grants we are now focusing on spreading the word about resources available to reduce course materials costs. Given that the funding was one-time, we have broadened the scope to include partners around the campus. This has developed into partnerships in increasing awareness of OER and Affordability.

In addition to expanding our reach, we have begun workshops which include topics on OER, Creative Commons, and Data Management. These will be developed into virtual workshops to be given and recorded to be placed on the website.

Program Type:

Duration: 03/2016 - Present

Program Webpage:

Scope: Affordable course content, including cost-free course content and OER

Primary OER Strategy: OER Awareness

Secondary OER Strategies: OER Adaptation, OER Adoption, OER Pedagogy, OER Research

Unit Housing the Program:

Program Partners:

Source of Program Funding:

Funding from Library Departments:

Total Program Funding to Date: $ 50,000

Total Student Savings to Date: $ 1,500,000

Incentives Offered by the Program:

Conditions: Recipients are required to openly license and freely share resources created or adapted

MOU for Participants

Point of Contact

Michael Whitchurch
Digital Learning Services Librarian; Instruction, Media and Digital Services Department