Supporting OER in the Classroom

Supporting OER in the Classroom

The Campus Library and the Center for Faculty Development have collaborated to offer the Course Material Transformation Fellowship. The 2022-2023 school year is the first year this fellowship is being awarded at the IU East Campus. Modeled after the IUPUI and IU Bloomington’s Libraries program of the same name, this fellowship supports instructors in their efforts to adopt and create affordable course materials, including open educational resources (OER), library licensed content, and open access materials.

This fellowship is being offered in response to the 2021-2023 IU East Campus Strategic Initiative encouraging the use of open educational resources and textbook alternatives under the Enrollment & Student Success focus area. The Fellowship Program aims to: 

  • Lower the cost of college for students in order to contribute to their retention, progression, and graduation
  •  Encourage the development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks by supporting the adoption, adaptation, and creation of Open Educational Resources (OER)
  •  Make course material access on the first day of class a reality for all students, regardless of socioeconomic status

Fellowship recipients will receive a $2,000 stipend and will have the assistance of instructional technologists and librarians during the process of locating, developing, and adapting the course material.  

We are happy to announce the recipients of the 2022-2023 Course Material Transformation Fellowship, Dr. Jill Schweitzer and Dr. Pepe Gimenez.

Figure 1 Dr. Jill Schweitzer

Dr. Jill Schweitzer is an Assistant Professor of Biology and Biochemistry. Dr. Schweitzer will be developing zero-cost resources for the course BIOL-T571/CHEM-T-550 (Introduction to Biochemistry). This is a cross-listed course and is required for the collaborative Graduate Certificate/MATs in Biology and Chemistry.

Currently, the course uses IU e-Text Biochemistry, 2019, (9th Edition), which costs a total of $102.50. Dr. Schweitzer is looking at adopting parts of OER textbook Biochemistry Free For All 1.3 as well as creating her own instructional videos and locating library licensed articles. She’ll also be adapting course assignments to better incorporate the new material. With nearly 40 students each year, the potential course material savings for one year is $4,100.

Many of the expected students who will be taking this class are high school educators teaching AP and dual-credit classes. As Dr. Schweitzer shares,

“Since T-571/T-550 is designed for current high school educators, reducing the cost of the textbook would be a helpful incentive to take this graduate course and would reduce the burden on teachers who need to meet HLC requirements for teaching dual credit courses… In addition to making the course more affordable, changing the course text will impact student success. Based on my previous experience, students find the current course text difficult to read and understand.”

Figure 2 Dr. Pepe Gimenez

Dr. Pepe Gimenez is a Visiting Professor of Mathematics. Dr. Gimenez will be redesigning the existing MATH-M303 (Linear Algebra) to a zero-cost resources course. This course will also be redesigned so that it can be customizable and fit either a 14-week full term, an abbreviated 7-week term, or a 12-week summer session.

MATH-M303 is a required course for the online B.S. in Mathematics, collaborative online B.S. in Data Science, and the anticipated collaborative programs in Actuarial Science and Applied Statistics. This course is offered each semester and usually has 35-40 students, but more students are expected as the collaborative programs mature. With nearly 40 students each semester, the potential course material savings for one year is $5,845.20.

Dr. Gimenez plans to adopt the OER textbook A First Course in Linear Algebra, 2017, replacing the IU e-text Linear Algebra and its Applications (6th Edition) at a cost of $48.71. He will also be creating his own homework, practice, and exam questions with the open assessment system, MyOpenMath to complement the OER textbook. As Dr. Gimenez shares,

“When teaching mathematics, it is essential to use an assessment system, which is usually a website where students can practice and get tested with algorithmic software that uses randomization… In fact, the prevalence of these systems has allowed publishers to shift their business model from exclusively printing paper-based versions of a textbook to selling access codes for their software…The cost to the student can be significant, with some access codes costing as much as $200 per semester.” Both courses will launch with the new, free to students, course materials in summer of 2024. If you have any questions about the Course Material Transformation Fellowship at IU East or need any assistance in locating affordable course material for your classes, contact Assistant Librarian of Access & Technical Services Beth South at If you need any assistance with Canvas, course redesign, or have any questions about faculty development opportunities and awards, contact the Center for Faculty Development at

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