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Photo of the McIver statute.

Photo of the McIver statute. In the Spring of 2015 the Office of the Provost and the University Libraries announced that they would support a pilot project where faculty interested in providing their students with a less expensive yet educationally rewarding alternative known as OER (Open Educational Resources) to expensive commercial textbooks.

Ten $1,000 stipends were granted to faculty as an incentive to encourage the faculty to use low-cost or free alternatives to expensive course materials; these could include open-access scholarly resources, library-licensed and owned resources, and learning objects and texts that faculty create themselves. The results yielded quality teaching materials at a great savings to students. Assuming all of the class’ students in this pilot project would have otherwise purchased new textbooks, University Libraries has calculated a savings in these courses of as much as $150,000 overall, for the students.

Beth Bernhardt, representing the University Libraries, interviewed each participating faculty member before the Fall 2015 semester began and again at the end of the semester. “Everyone was just as enthusiastic about the project at the end of the semester as they were at the beginning,” she says. All of the grant winners told her they planned to continue using alternative resources for their classes for Spring 2016.

UNCG was the first UNC system school to provide “mini-grant” initiatives to encourage faculty to use low-cost or free alternatives to expensive course materials, Bernhardt says.

The University Libraries, in its commitment to promote Open Educational Resources, has joined the Open Textbook Network. This network promotes access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks. UNCG was the first university in North Carolina to join the Open Textbook Network, Bernhardt notes. The network will provide a workshop for UNCG faculty interested in supporting faculty adoption of open textbooks on Sept. 9, 2016.

A forum about the 2015 Open Education Resources mini grant initiative will be Wednesday, March 23, at 3 p.m. in the Virginia Dare Room, Alumni House. A panel of faculty members, who received grants to create and/or implement the use of Open Educational Materials in their courses, will speak and answer questions.

If you are interested in learning more about Open Educational Resources check out the website http://uncg.libguides.com/oer or contact Beth Bernhardt at beth_bernhardt@uncg.edu.

This story is drawn from a UNCG Libraries blog post. See the full post at http://scholarlycommuncg.blogspot.com/2016/01/ten-uncg-professors-save-students.html

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