There are many different ways to incorporate more affordable content and materials into your courses. These are just a few examples of what kinds of alternative, high-quality materials your proposal could include. Of course, proposals can also be a combination of any of these ideas, or new ideas all together. These examples are just presented to give you an idea of what a proposal might look like.

Example 1. Adopt an Open Textbook

  • You may be a biology professor and your BIOL 1001 class uses a traditional biology textbook that costs $200
  • Your proposal could be to replace that costly publisher textbook with a biology Open Textbook from OpenStax College.
  • All of the online textbooks in the OpenStax College collection cost $0.
  • 150 students impacted.

Are you interested in finding other Open Textbooks? Please visit the U of M's own Open Textbook Library!

Example 2. Switch your content to a University Libraries Digital Course Pack

  • You may have a course that uses a textbook or print course pack that costs $90.
  • The University Libraries has a Digital Course Pack option that better uses library licensed materials. Library licensed materials are already free to use for University students. A Digital Course Pack may also include freely available online content, open education resources, content made available through lawful determinations of fair use, and even items that still require royalty payments.
  • A team of librarians will help you discover and implement alternative content. You just have to be willing to change your course readings and curriculum to make use of the new content options.
  • With this option we can drop the cost down to as close to $0 as possible and give students easy access to materials.

Example 3. Create Open Content

  • You may be an instructor that wants to create a freely available lab manual based on 10 years of lab notes.
  • We can help you use OER Commons, OpenStax CNX, or the Open Textbook Library to publish your lab notes and make them freely available to students.
  • You could also attach an open, Creative Commons license onto the new materials so that others worldwide may benefit.

Example 4. Republish a Textbook

  • Maybe copyright for an existing textbook has been returned to you as the textbook author.
  • Work with librarians and library staff to re-publish under an open license.
  • Distribute to your students … and the world!

Example 5. Library Purchases Content

  • As an instructor you may have a $40 required book that you would like all your students to purchase and read during the semester. You may have a number of books like this.
  • The Libraries can investigate whether or not we already have your books available as multi-user ebooks, or we can purchase new ebooks under a multi-user license. Sometimes multi-user licensed ebooks cost the same as a single copy of a book.
  • If we can find your book(s) as multi-user licenced ebooks we can also make them available through our course reserve system or Moodle.
  • Of course, results and pricing may vary … not all books are available under a multi-user license or available at a reasonable price. But if we can't find the exact book you need as an ebook, we may be able to find an appropriate alternative. You would just have to be willing to make a change.

Example 6. Students help write new content

  • You may have the rough outline of a new open textbook or open educational resource that you would like to write, but you feel a $500-$1500 grant does not help much in getting your new materials created.
  • You could propose to have your students help create the content. Students could team up to write chapters or sections of your new textbook or resource as part of their assignments for the course.
  • Each semester you offer the course you could have students either add new content or modify existing content. In that way, you can keep your content fresh and up-to-date.
  • Librarians can help create your assignments and publish the new content.

Each of these examples require faculty and instructors to stretch somewhat concerning what has traditionally been done with course readings and other materials. If you are willing to stretch and commit to working with librarians to discover and implement new content options, we can help you find high-quality, low-cost content that will work for your course.