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Open Education Initiative

The high cost of commercial print textbooks is a major concern for both students and their parents. To address these concerns, the Provost’s Office and the University Libraries launched the Open Education Initiative in the Spring of 2011. The Open Education Initiative is a faculty incentive program that encourages the use of existing low-cost or free information resources to support our students’ learning. Information Literacy will also be emphasized, creating opportunities for students to develop and practice the skills of critical thinking, reasoning, communication, and integration of knowledge and perspectives. 

Now in its sixth phase, the Open Education Initiative has generated a total savings of over $1.3 million for students in classes that utilize open educational resources and library material. For more information please contact Marilyn Billings at

Stay tuned for an announcement of our sixth grant cycle in Fall 2015.

Read the ARL Report


The following presentations were used at conferences and workshops to talk about the Open Education Initiative and OER in general.

Open Education Initiative Information Session, Spring 2014

Presentation for the information session for the OEI grant applicants in the Spring of 2014. Includes an overview of OER, copyright and Creative Commons, and the OEI grant parameters. Useful for those running a workshop or for people teaching with open education resources.

Presentation to UMass Faculty Senate, Spring 2014

This is a presentation made to the Faculty Senate Meeting at the University of Massachusetts Amherst regarding the Open Education Initiative. It includes an overview of the why and how of the OEI grant, some examples, and its successes/challenges. Useful for those talking to administrators about the open education movement.