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UWEC pilot program helps faculty design textbook-free curriculum

UW-Eau Claire is piloting a program to give faculty the right tools for redesigning their courses.
Published: Mar. 29, 2021 at 6:37 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Using Open Educational Resources (OER) in classes - instead of textbooks - students could save money and get long-term access to valuable course materials.

Blugolds spend on average $400 a year on required textbooks, $70 per semester in textbook rental fees and an additional $100 per course for access codes according to the university.

This program would allow teaching, learning and research materials in any platform released under an open license, to be used and re-packaged, free of charge.

Jill Markgraf, director of the McIntyre Library, helped launch the program, she says those costs are a burden to all students, and this is a multifaceted way the university can reduce education costs amid the pandemic.

“It’s been used in pockets on campus around different departments on campus but this was more of a concerted effort to encourage faculty to incorporating the use of OER, into their courses,” says Markgraf. “It’s a lot more effort than picking out a textbook, and saying we’ll use that, so we’re trying to provide an incentive and awareness across the campus about the value of incorporating OER.”

Markgraf says the program was first launched last summer and implemented into the fall semester, but after positive feedback the program will be offered again this summer with another cohort of instructors.

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