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Open Educational Resources (OER)

At the beginning of the Fall 2021 semester, the Idaho State Board of Education directed Idaho’s eight public institutions of higher education to submit an initial Open Educational Resource Plan by June 1, 2022 as part of SBOE Policy III.U. - Instructional Material Access and Affordability

During AY22, Academic Affairs assebled a committee with representatives from each college, the library, ITRC, Faculty Senate, and Academic Affairs.  This committee sought information from faculty members and developed the Open Education Resource Plan with the following recommendations:

  1. Continue to Support Existing OER and Low Cost Resources and Incentives
  2. Update University Class Registration System to Include Course Markings
  3. Promote and Support the Inclusion of OER and Affordability Work in Evaluation and Promotion Guidelines
  4. Identify Courses With High Return on Investment
  5. Address Common Misconceptions about OER with Instructors and Administrators
  6. Encourage the Adoption of Affordability Values for Faculty and Administration
  7. Continue the Proposal-Based Program for Course Material Affordability Projects
  8. Expand Regular Professional Development Related Course Material Affordability

At the end of AY 2023, the committee provided an annual update to the State Board (required by Board Policy III.U.).

For a List of the Fall 2022 and Fall 2023 OER Stipend Recipients, Click Here.

Chair:  Sandra Shropshire

Academic Affairs: Cynthia Hill

College of Arts and Letters:  Rob Watkins

College of Business:  Iris Buder

College of Education:  John Curry

College of Science and Engineering:  Todd Morris

College of Technology:  Mona Doan

Division of Health Sciences:  Mary Van Donsel

Library: Spencer Jardine

Library: Kim Miller

Library: Laura Gleason

ITRC:  Kim Tompkinson

ETR: Ryan Randall

Faculty Senate:  Dave Bagley

OER Committee List 2021-2022; 2022-2023


While reading through the following frequently asked questions, please keep in mind the “why” of course markings – our students.  Our intention is to communicate the price of course materials clearly so our students are not surprised with higher prices when purchasing their materials.

When should I use the Zero Cost designation?

The Zero Cost designation is for use with courses that exclusively use course materials that are free of charge to students.  These materials may include open educational resources, institutionally licensed campus library materials that all enrolled students have access to use, and other materials that require no additional cost to students.

When should I use the Very Low Cost designation?

The Very Low Cost designation is for use with courses that require course materials which cost students a total of $1-$30 per course.

When should I use the Low Cost designation?

The Low Cost designation is for use with courses that require course materials which cost students a total of $31-$50 per course.

Should I include costs for optional course materials?

No, optional costs should not be included in your calculation.  For example, you provide students with a link to a free, online version of your materials but give them the option to purchase materials in print or point them to an optional homework platform.  The cost of the optional materials should not be included in your calculation.  However, if the print version or homework platform is required, you should include that cost in your calculation.

Do I need to designate courses with materials that cost over $50?

No, only identify courses that meet the cost-cap requirements.

The course materials I use are used across multiple courses in a sequence, should I divide the cost across all courses?

Do not base your calculation on the cost divided by the courses.  Not all students take all courses in a series and may take them over time.  This may cause students to pay for changes in editions.

What cost should I use? What if materials are less expensive on Amazon, etc.?

To calculate your text-related costs, use the lower of the publisher’s “list price” or the price that new versions of the materials are currently selling for at any major online national retailer.

What if my text is available as an e-book through the library?

The Library does not provide etextbooks licensed for class/student use. Campus-wide licenses for the ebooks that are purchased and made available by the Library cannot be assumed because of publisher restrictions and/or cost. Many of the Library’s ebooks have been purchased with a single simultaneous
user license, and this restriction has been shown to be ill-suited for class use. Please watch for use restrictions as noted for a specific book in the Library catalog and/or refer to your department’s Library representative for more information.

What if my course materials are available in multiple formats?

If your course materials are available in multiple formats, please use the cost of your preferred format.

What does the "faculty-preferred format" refer to?

"Faculty-preferred format" refers to the course material format that is preferred by the faculty member.  For example, if the faculty member prefers that students purchase a digital copy of the text that is the preferred format.  If the faculty member prefers that students purchase a hard copy textbook, then that is the preferred format.

What if I do not require any texts or commercial materials for my class?

Your course can qualify for the Zero Cost designation if no commercial materials or texts are required.

What if I am unsure about the cost of my materials?

Consult the ISU bookstore for guidance.  If you are still unsure about whether your course meets one of the designations, mark your course with any of the cost-cap designations.

When is this happening?

Our current target is to include the course-cap designations in the Spring 2023 course schedule.