There are different ways to bring more affordable content and materials into your courses.

These are a few examples of what kinds of alternative, high-quality materials your proposal could include. Proposals can also be a combination of any of these ideas, or new ideas all together. These examples are to give you an idea of what a proposal might look like.


Adopt an open textbook

  • You're a biology professor and your BIOL 1001 class uses a traditional biology textbook that costs $200
  • Your proposal replaces the costly publisher textbook with a biology Open Textbook from OpenStax College.
  • All the online textbooks in the OpenStax College collection cost $0.
  • 150 students affected.

Visit the U of M's Open Textbook Library to find other open textbooks.


Switch your content to a Digital Course Pack

  • You 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 need royalty payments.
  • A team of librarians help you discover and use alternative content. Change your course readings and curriculum to use the new content options.
  • This option drops the cost down to as close to $0 as possible and gives students easy access to materials.

Create open content

  • You are an instructor and want to create a freely available lab manual based on 10 years of lab notes.
  • We 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 can also attach an open, Creative Commons license onto the new materials so that others can benefit.

Republish a textbook

  • Copyright for an existing textbook is 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 others.

Library purchases content

  • As an instructor, you have a $40 required book for your students to buy and read during the semester.
  • The Libraries can investigate whether or not we already have your books available as multi-user ebooks, or purchase new ebooks under a multi-user license. Multi-user licensed ebooks can cost the same as a single copy of a book.
  • If we find your book(s) as multi-user licenced ebooks, we can also make them available through our course reserve system or Moodle.
  • Rresults and pricing vary. Not all books are available under a multi-user license or available at a reasonable price. If we can't find the exact book you need as an ebook, we may be able to find an appropriate alternative.

Students help write new content

  • You 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 the materials created.
  • Propose to have students help create the content. Students work in a team 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, students either add new content or change existing content. This keeps your content fresh and up-to-date.
  • Librarians help create your assignments and publish the new content.

Each of these examples require faculty and instructors to stretch from 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.