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OpenOKState saves OSU students $500,000

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Media Contact: Bonnie Cain-Wood | Manager, Library Communication Services | 405-744-7331 | bonnie.cain@okstate.edu

Students at Oklahoma State University have collectively saved more than $500,000 through the OpenOKState Open Educational Resources program. 

Open Educational Resources (OER) are instructional materials intentionally created to be free to students. These materials are licensed by authors to permit and encourage distribution, modification and retention. The OpenOKState OER program supports collaboration and innovation among OSU faculty, staff and students to increase access to meaningful resources. 

Kathy Essmiller, OER librarian, has many goals in mind for the OpenOKState program, but foremost is to make sure the student body knows these resources are available to them. 

“Faculty and administrators care about the students and want to increase access to opportunities across the board,” Essmiller said. “Students need to know they can speak up if they want to see more of these resources implemented in their classes.”

The library offers training, stipends and other assistance to OSU faculty and instructors interested in incorporating OER into their courses. At least 16 course modifications are completed or underway with support from OpenOKState programs. Beginning in spring 2022, students will be able to filter the OSU course catalog to search for classes using OER. 

Trinity July, a junior sociology major at OSU, believes the OER program is a game-changer for many students and wishes OER resources had been more available to her.

“I think OER is a social justice program,” July said. “Everyone hates textbook costs, but the people who are most affected are low-income groups. It makes college more accessible to everyone.”

Many students have experienced the difficulties in paying for multiple expensive textbooks every semester. Patience Lightfoot, a freshman business major at OSU, is hopeful for the future of the OER program. 

“I grew up low income, and having the knowledge that there are affordable, more accessible ways to connect you to those resources is the most important thing,” Lightfoot said. 

OpenOKState was created by the OSU Libraries in response to the impact high-cost commercial textbooks have on the personal lives and academic progress of university students. More information about the OpenOKState program can be found at info.library.okstate.edu/open.

Story By: Lauren Whitmire | lib-pub@okstate.edu

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