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Open Educational Resources (OERs): OER at Park Pilot Program: Spring 2024

Faculty resources for finding, adapting, creating, and implementing OERs in the classroom.
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About the OER at Park Program

In an effort to promote college affordability and encourage the use of OERs and freely-accessible course materials, Park Library is launching a pilot OER at Park program in Spring 2024. Course developers in all three colleges--both at the Parkville campus and around the globe--can apply for a grant to replace their existing paid textbooks with open or library-accessible course materials. Learn more below!

Why OERs?

The purpose of this pilot program is to increase OER usage across Park's course offerings. Why is this important? OERs have been shown to improve students' academic performance, boost retention, and make college more affordable. See below for a few examples of OER impact and outcomes at other institutions around the country:

Economic landscape of higher education

  • Private nonprofit four-year institutions (like Park) had an average published tuition and fee cost of $39,400 in the 2022-2023 school year. That’s $1,300 more than in 2021-2022, or a 3.5% increase
  • A 2018 survey from the Florida Virtual Campus identified five major consequences of high textbook costs: 64% of respondents reported not purchasing the required textbook, 43% reported taking fewer courses, 41% reported not registering for a specific course, 41% reported dropping a course, and 36% reported earning a poor grade in a course.
  • At Park, 88% of full-time first-time students received some kind of financial aid in 2020-2021, with 34% of undergraduates awarded Pell grants and 30% receiving federal student loans. 41% of financial need is met, and the average student debt at graduation is $18,103.

Academic outcomes of OERs

  • A 2012 study at VSU demonstrated that students in OER courses had both better grades and lower failure and withdrawal rates than students in courses with traditional textbooks.
  • At Mercy College, pass rates for a basic math class increased from 48.4% to 60.2% when OERs were integrated into the curriculum.
  • A 2020 study determined that OER “equalized” students’ engagement and performance, meaning there was a lower standard deviation in page views, on-time assignment submissions, attendance, and final grades as compared to the traditional textbook classroom.

OERs at Park

Several Park course developers have already implemented OERs into their courses. A 2023 survey indicated the following:

  • One faculty member switched to OERs because: "There were no textbooks that adequately covered the material I wanted my students to learn and I also aimed for them to have diverse perspectives from various authors, various forms of media, in addition to foundational material as well as cutting edge work. It was easiest to achieve that with OER."
  • 43% of course developers who have used OER found it "very easy to find and implement," with an additional 50% finding it "moderately easy."
  • 82% of course developers at Park consider affordability as an important factor when selecting course materials.

How to participate

Interested in being a pilot OER course developer? Use the form to the right to apply, and find more details about the program below! NOTE: These are the planned details of the program, pending Academic Affairs professional development funding.

What is the timeline for the program?

Pilot participants will be selected in Spring 2024, and spend the spring semester implementing OER(s) into their designated course.

How will applicants be selected?

We are looking for at least one participant from each of the three colleges. Depending on the strength of the applications, more may be selected. Priority will be given to courses with higher historical enrollment. An advisory committee made up of cross-university leaders will be appointed to select the recipients. Applicants must be current course developers.

How much is the grant?

Recipients will receive a $900 grant for participating in the program. In addition, each faculty member may receive additional funds to purchase library materials for their courses.

What are the requirements for participating?

If you are selected as a pilot program participant, you will have to replace all course materials with open, free, or library-owned materials. This can include full open access textbooks, or selecting articles and materials from databases to which Park Library subscribes. You will work with a Park librarian to find the best resources for your specific course--the only requirement is that students do not have to pay any additional money for materials!

For more information, please contact Danielle Theiss.

Similar programs at other KC-area schools

Interested in learning more? Check out these OER grant programs at schools around the KC metro area!

  • Emporia State University awards grants for the adoption, adaption, compilation, and creation of OERs. Grants range from $1,000-$5,000. Anyone can apply but special priority is given to general education classes. Faculty apply in the fall, use the spring and summer to create the OER, then teach the class the following academic year. Grant awardees are expected to mentor the next generation of recipients through presentations and 1:1 support.
  • K-State offers instructors up to $5,000 to replace expensive traditional textbooks with OERs (but students have to pay a $10 fee to take these courses). 
  • The University of Kansas has several simultaneous initiatives. There is a library grant program that provides up to $5,000 for OER adopters, adaptors, and creators. The library also runs a Textbook Heroes initiative to recognize faculty champions. The Student Senate passed a resolution creating a Student Senate Textbook Affordability Award, and no-cost and low-cost courses are marked in the course catalogues.
Park University Library
8700 NW River Park Drive, Box 61 - Parkville, MO - 64152
Phone: (816) 584-6285
Toll-free: (800) 270-4347