SPARC Projects

Connect OER

Open Education

University of Oklahoma - Norman

Norman, OK, United States
Official Website @UofOklahoma

Type: Public 4-Year, Research University
Annual Enrollment: 27,261

  SPARC Member  

OER Webpage
OER LibGuide


In February, 2013, University of Oklahoma (OU) president, David Boren, issued a letter to all OU faculty members highlighting the high cost of textbooks, expressing his strong “support for the move to open access materials in teaching and research,” and a charge to carefully “evaluate whether our textbooks and course materials add value to the educational experience equal to their cost to our students.” President Boren’s letter also announced the imminent hiring of one of the nation’s first full-time librarians dedicated solely to OER who soon thereafter launched OU’s primary OER initiative, OU Libraries Alternative Textbook Grant.

Since 2014, OU Libraries' Alternative Textbook Grants have helped reduce the cost of course materials by supporting faculty members in the adoption, modification, or creation of openly licensed course content or library resources. OU-Norman full-time faculty are eligible to apply for awards of up to $2,500 in funding and support. In 2015 the OU College of Arts and Sciences agreed to begin contributing funds to their faculty grantees. The Price College of Business followed suit in 2016 as did the Gallogly College of Engineering in 2018.

These grants are designed to support faculty in the adoption of openly licensed solutions to reduce the cost of course materials for students.  Alternative Textbooks give faculty members the power to customize content specifically for their courses as well as provide less expensive textbooks for their students. To date, OU Libraries' OER initiatives have saved students nearly 4 million dollars in course materials costs.

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

OER Action Committee

Under the leadership of the Open Educational Resources (OER) unit at the University of Oklahoma (OU) Libraries, the OER Action Committee is charged with promoting the awareness, reach, and uptake of OER at the University of Oklahoma. In carrying out this responsibility the committee 1) works to increase open access to educational resources and ensures continued student success and monetary savings at OU, 2) collectively devises strategies to increase the awareness of OER among OU faculty members, staff, and the student body, 3) strengthens partnership efforts and establishes effective feedback channels with the entities represented in the committee with the aim of advancing OER initiatives throughout the university, and 4) prepares a yearly report on the activities of the committee at the end of each academic year.

Program Type:

Duration: 05/2017 - Present

Program Webpage:

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

Primary OER Strategy: OER Awareness

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

Unit Housing the Program:

Program Partners:

Source of Program Funding:

Alternative Textbook Grant

The Alternative Textbook Grant incentivizes instructors to abandon costly course materials in favor of those available to students for free. Since 2014, the grant has saved OU students nearly $3.8M in course material costs. OU Libraries awards up to $2,500 for successful applications, and some colleges award discretionary matching funds. Successful applications will be categorized in one of the following ways:

Open Educational Resources (OER)
Open Educational Resources are educational materials in the public domain or released under the terms of an open license. The nature of these materials is such that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OER range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assessment tools and multimedia.

Library Resources
The term "library resources" refers to any material that OU Libraries purchases or subscribes to. Applications that propose the use of these resources do save students money; however, they do not offer the same benefits of adopting truly open materials. These grants are awarded not to instructors directly but applied to the purchase of multiple concurrent use licenses for the desired resource or "in kind" work of getting licensed resources into the LMS.

OU Libraries is dedicated to assisting all grantees through each step of adopting these practices.

Program Type:

Duration: 01/2014 - Present

Program Webpage:

Scope: Cost-free course content, including OER

Primary OER Strategy: OER Adoption

Secondary OER Strategies: OER Adaptation, OER Awareness, OER Curation, OER Pedagogy, OER Publication, OER Review/Assessment, OER Research

Unit Housing the Program:

Program Partners:

Source of Program Funding:

Funding from Library Departments:

Total Program Funding to Date: $ 172,000

Total Student Savings to Date: $ 3,791,776

Incentives Offered by the Program:

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

Total amount of incentive grants awarded to date: $ 172,000

Total number of incentive grants awarded to date: 69

Point of Contact

Eugene Albin
Education & Social Sciences Librarian