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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 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. For more information please contact Jeremy Smith at jlsmith@library.umass.

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.

2015 Open Education Initiative

Applications are now being accepted for the 2015 Open Education Initiative. If you are interested in applying for this initiative, please attend the Open Education Initiative information session to be held on Wednesday November 4, 2015 in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library rm 2601 from 3:00 pm to 4:00 pm. Please RSVP by emailing Jeremy Smith, Digital Projects Manager in Scholarly Communication, at

The deadline for grant proposal submission is Wednesday November 18, 2015. Strong preference will be given to faculty who plan to deploy their alternative textbook option by Fall 2016.

Selection Criteria
Proposals will be reviewed by representatives of The Center for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD), Academic Computing, the University Libraries and the IT Program. Grants will be awarded on the basis of:
• Strength of application in response to questions
• Potential savings to UMass students
• Sustainability of the project to applicant's future courses
• Preferred implementation date by Fall 2016

To apply for the grant fill out this application: