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UMass Library 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 seventh cycle, 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. The Library partners with the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD), Information Technology, and Provost's Office to support our efforts. For more information please contact Jeremy Smith at jlsmith at

Read the ARL Report on our program.


Open Education Initiative Information Session, Spring 2016 [pdf]
Open Education Initiative Information Session, Spring 2016 [ppt]

Presentation for the information session for the OEI grant applicants in the Spring of 2016. 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.

Spring 2016 Open Education Initiative

Winners of the Spring 2016 grants are below

Faculty NameDepartment/ClassProposed Project
Ysaaca Axelrod Education/Human Development Find readings/video on the web that cover material in current textbook.
John Brigham Political Science/Intro. to Constitutional law Replace textbook with free Government material from Supreme Court website, Wikipedia, Oyez, Library of Congress and National Constitution Center 
Thomas St. Laurent Kinesiology/Introduction to Kinesiology Utilize chapters, articles, and studies that give overviews of basic contents in lieu of textbook.
Shubha Tewari Physics: Electricity and Magnetism, Optics, Modern Physics Edit and organize existing video content, film and edit new video content, and organize test questions for video content.
Brokk Toggerson Physics: Into. Physics I Organize existing free resources in a central location to improve navigation for students and use Perusall, a new reading enhancement tool.
Daniel Wang Astronomy/Exploring the Universe Evaluate existing available open textbooks and modify them. Revise lecture slides, quizzes, homework, reading assignments, and exams.
Jonathan Wynn Sociology/Intro. to Sociology Identify open textbooks and develop a digital archive where materials can be housed online.


Fall 2015 Open Education Initiative

Winners of the Fall 2015 grants are below, along with their proposed projects.

Faculty NameDepartment/ClassProposed Project
Philippe Baillargeon French: Intermediate French I and II Use public domain and library resources as well as free online newspapers.
Melba Jensen English: American Literature to 1865 & others Create eBook with public domain literature, use library articles, & have students create knowledge base.
Julia Choi Kinesiology: Motor Control Compile chapters from multiple textbooks & store on content management system.
Kimberly Dion Nursing: Community Health Nursing IV: Community Use library journals and state & federal websites.
Simos Gerasimidis Civil & Environmental Engineering: Structural Stability Use library and free online resources.
Sara E. Jackson German & Scandinavian Studies: Advanced German Collect free/open reading assignments, grammar exercises & work-sheets to accompany German-language films.
D. Joseph Jerry Veterinary & Animal Science: Cancer Biology ; Carcinogenesis Collaborate with colleagues in the field to create a downloadable free textbook from lecture materials.
Kinuyo Kanamaru Geosciences: Global Environmental Change Use recorded lectures, free online videos, scientific articles & open online educational applications.
Stefan Caris Love Music & Dance: Intermediate Analysis Use online music theory websites, YouTube videos. Create handouts and video/audio lectures. Have students compile all information on a wiki.
Bogdan Prokopovych Management: Foundations of Sustainable Enterprise & others Identify less technical articles available through library journals, and chapters of selected books. Identify alternative to Harvard Business School Publishing platform.
Mila Getmansky Sherman Management: Financial Modeling Work with PhD candidates to identify web-based materials and work with students to develop their own materials.
Jeffrey Starns Psychology: Statistics in Psychology Turn course slides into a stand alone textbook.