MARCH 10, 2023 — UTSA has received a $10,000 grant to promote faculty adoption and student awareness of Open Educational Resources (OER), learning, teaching and research materials distributed under an open license and available to students at no cost.
The Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success (DOERS3) Collaborative, a group of 30 public higher education systems, including the University of Texas System, awarded the grant to UTSA.
The university will use the grant to identify gaps in its OER program using a special DOERS3 rubric.
The goal of this self-evaluation is to increase student awareness and engagement with OER, to further encourage the use of these resources among faculty and to identify additional best practices for implementing OER across the campus.
“UTSA has been a leader in implementing open educational resources, saving our students more than $10 million through our Adopt-a-Free Textbook program,” said UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. “Applying the DOERS3 Rubric is an important next step in advancing our OER program to accelerate the success of our students.”
The UTSA Libraries and the Academic Affairs Division of Academic Innovation have focused their OER efforts around immediate textbook access and student cost savings. Since launching OER in 2016, the university has awarded 138 faculty grants, with a minimal investment of $182,000 through the promotion of the program via webinars and certification courses for faculty. OER can be reused, adapted or distributed even by those without copyright access.
“Textbooks can be cost prohibitive and have a big influence on whether a student drops, fails, or withdraws from a course,” said DeeAnn Ivie, UTSA OER coordinator. “This grant will help us expand efforts to inform students about the availability of free textbooks as well as raise faculty awareness about the ability of OER to boost completion rates and make graduation more attainable.”
A collaborative team of leaders and staff from Libraries, Student Success and Academic Innovation will work with faculty, staff and students to apply the DOERS3 Rubric across five core curriculum, large-enrollment courses.
UTSA Libraries and Academic Affairs recently hosted a panel discussion that included representatives from UTSA Student Government, who shared their dismay at the rising cost of textbooks and how important OER are to student success. The discussion also featured testimonials from several UTSA faculty who have infused OER as primary textbooks in their classrooms and their motivations for designing and tailoring OER for improved student engagement.
“I knew UTSA was a national leader in OER, but I am even more blown away after this,” said Rebecca Karoff, associate vice chancellor for Academic Affairs in the University of Texas System, said after attending the panel discussion. “What makes UTSA’s engagement with OER so exceptional—and what other institutions can aspire to—is the integration of OER as central to UTSA’s strategic vision for and actions to achieve equitable student success and fulfill its mission as an innovative, multicultural, Hispanic-thriving institution.”
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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education.
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