Pacific students have saved $265,000 through the Library’s open educational resource program

Pacific students have saved $265,000 through the Library’s open educational resource program

From microbiology and human anatomy to history and communication, University of the Pacific faculty are adopting Open Educational Resources (OER) to save students thousands of dollars in costly textbooks. Pacific students have saved $265,000 on textbooks since the adoption of this student-centered, faculty-adopted program that foregoes the use of traditional textbooks for relevant academic materials that can be used, adapted and shared through Pacific's Scholarly Commons.

On average, students spend $175 on a single textbook, and prices continue to rise. OER offers open source online textbooks and other teaching resources, either free or at a significantly reduced cost, that provide students with a cost-savings solution to purchasing academic materials.

In 2017, with the help of $25,000 in grants from the Technology in Education Committee (TEC) and training provided by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and Library staff, participating faculty created textbooks and other materials and implemented them in courses during the subsequent fall and spring semesters. This successful pilot resulted in $110,000 in savings to Pacific students based on the cost of textbooks used in their courses. In the 2018–19 academic year, 15 faculty were awarded OER grants that resulted in the creation of additional OER textbooks, saving students an additional $155,000.

TEC subsequently awarded 21 grants in summer 2019 for faculty to create new open textbooks or course materials, customize and adopt existing OER, or review OER in their field to be used in their courses during fall 2019 and spring 2020.

The 2019 faculty grant winners represent various colleges and schools, including College of the Pacific, the School of Engineering and Computer Sciences, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy, the School of International Studies, the Eberhardt School of Business and Benerd College. For example, Joshua Steimel, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, has created his OER textbook “Materials Science and Engineering,” which is now available for students to download.

Library and CTL staff were available over the summer to assist faculty working on their OER projects. Faculty OER materials will continue to be added to Pacific's Scholarly Commons OER collection. The resulting savings that students will realize this academic year will be available in 2020.

Library staff have been thrilled to participate with CTL staff and the TEC on this innovative project that helps Pacific students save money, and want to build on the project’s momentum and increase student and faculty awareness of OER. Contact Michele Gibney, Head of Publishing and Scholarship Support for the Library, at or 209.932.2823 if you have any questions about OER.