SPARC Projects

Connect OER

Open Education

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Amherst, MA, United States
Official Website @UMassAmherst

Type: Public 4-Year, Research University
Annual Enrollment: 28,635

  SPARC Member  

OER Webpage


The University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries have been actively engaged with OER since 2011 when the libraries launched an Open Education Initiative which provides incentive grants to faculty to pursue the adoption, adaption or creation of OER or the use of library materials as an alternative to high cost textbooks. The OEI is managed through the Office of Scholarly Communication of the University Libraries. We partner with the Provost's Office, the Center for Teaching & Learning, and IT's Instructional Innovation. In addition to the OEI, the Office of Scholarly Communication engages in educational efforts on campus and throughout the state to increase awareness about OER among faculty, administrators, and students.

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

Open Education Initiative

The Provost’s Office and the UMass Amherst Libraries launched the Open Education Initiative in the Spring of 2011. The Open Education Initiative is a faculty incentive program that encourages the use of existing openly-licensed, low-cost, or free information resources to support our students’ learning.

Now in its 11th cycle, the Open Education Initiative has generated a total savings of over $1.8 million for students in classes that utilize open educational resources or free library material. The Library partners with the Center for Teaching & Learning (CTL), Instructional Innovation, and Provost's Office to support these efforts.

The Open Education Initiative at UMass Amherst aims to:
1) Encourage the development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks by supporting the adoption, adaptation, or creation of Open Educational Resources (OER).
2) Provide support through the library and its partners to faculty to implement these approaches.
3) Lower the cost of college textbooks and curricular materials for students in order to contribute to their retention, progression, and graduation.
4) Encourage faculty to engage in new pedagogical models for classroom instruction.

Program Type:

Duration: 03/2011 - Present

Program Webpage:

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

Primary OER Strategy: OER Adoption

Secondary OER Strategies: OER Adaptation, OER Awareness, OER Curation, OER Pedagogy, OER Publication

Unit Housing the Program:

Program Partners:

Source of Program Funding:

Funding from Library Departments:

Total Program Funding to Date: $ 140,000

Total Student Savings to Date: $ 1,800,000

Incentives Offered by the Program:

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

Total amount of incentive grants awarded to date: $ 140,000

Total number of incentive grants awarded to date: 99

Typical amount of each grant: $ 1,500

MOU for Participants
Assessment Instrument

OER Events

Second Annual Northeast Regional OER Summit

This 2-day event is part of a multi-state collaboration for open education in the northeast region. Although this is a regional conference, everyone is welcome - last year we even had attendees from as far as Alaska!

The conference welcomes new and experienced OER (open educational resources) advocates offering the opportunity to learn and share effective practices in awareness building, implementation, collaboration, strategy, and research.

On Thursday, 5/31/18, you will participate in facilitated conference sessions and have a chance to collaborate with national OER leaders as well as colleagues from across the northeast - including faculty, staff, and administrators who have a shared interest in OER.

The 2nd day of the summit (Friday, 6/1/18) will feature a Day of Action. This will include focused OER workshops where you will leave with a plan to achieve the next steps in your OER work or initiative.

Key topics will include:
Assessment/Measurement (beyond cost savings)
Open Pedagogy
Starting an OER initiative
Advocacy Building
Hands-on OER - Create/Remix/Publish
Supporting Faculty in OER Adoption
Sustainability and Scale
Challenges of OER

We hope that you will join us in Amherst to learn something new from the national leaders, network with colleagues, and hear about all of the exciting OER work that’s happening in the northeast!

Date: May 31, 2018 - June 1, 2018

Event Type:

Scope: OER (open course content)

Event Summary

OER Resources

OER @ UMass Amherst

This video examines how the high cost of textbooks is affecting students at UMass Amherst and how instructors are utilizing Open Educational Resources as a way to reduce costs for students and transform their teaching.

Resource Permissions:

Resource Citation:
UMass Amherst Libraries. (2018). OER @ UMass Amherst

Point of Contact

Marilyn Billings
Head, Office of Scholarly Communication