Posted by Liz Yata Liz Yata

The Open Education Week website had over 2,665 visitors from 98 countries on 6 continents this year. Colleges from around the globe participated, including many of CCCOER’s member colleges. Many colleges focused on students, asking them how much they spent on textbooks, how they felt about their textbooks, and what they would have spent that money on if they didn’t have to buy such expensive textbooks. Other student-focused events were more educational, educating students on what OER is and letting them know, that yes, it really can mean free textbooks! Other schools focused more on faculty and held workshops or sent out educational materials on OER. Some schools even gave out OER-themed food like cake, cookies, or popcorn, to sweeten the deal even more!

Here is a roundup from a few of CCCOER’s member colleges:

Alamo College

As part of Alamo College’s OER awareness week,  students were asked to write on a whiteboard how much they spent on textbooks and what they would do with that money if they didn’t have to spend it on textbooks. The amount spent on textbooks ranged from $15 to $600 and their answers ranged from art supplies, video games, travel, buying things for their children, to essentials like food, gas, clothing, and rent.

You can read more here or see more pictures on Alamo Open’s Twitter.

Bucks County Community College

Due to scheduling issues, Bucks County Community College moved their Open Education events to April.  They are planning two different talks about OER aimed at faculty who are new to OER. The first session is called, “Join the Open Movement,” and will teach faculty how OER can provide students with access to course materials that are zero cost. In this introductory session, they will learn more about what OER can do for faculty and their students. The second session is called, “OpenStax, High-Quality Open Textbooks for Your Students, at No Cost!” In this session, faculty will learn how they can easily adopt OpenStax textbooks at no cost to anyone.


CCCOER held a 5-hour, Tour de Force webinar where we heard from TEN COMMUNITY COLLEGES in SEVEN STATES who have developed OER Degree or OER Adoption Programs that have significantly impacted their students access to instructional materials and given faculty the freedom to customize their instructional materials to better meet the needs of their students. More information about these OER showcases and links to the video are available.


Florida State College at Jacksonville

During OEW, the Florida State College at Jacksonville libraries provided an opportunity for students to engage in a community inquiry regarding the cost of textbooks with an “Interactive OER Wall.” The students were prompted with the following question: “Instead of paying for textbooks, I could have bought…” and the results varied from the pragmatic (“medication,” “groceries for three months,” “senior dog’s full dental [treatment]”), to the recreational (“take a girl out on a date”), to the philanthropic (“make a non-profit donation”), to the flippant (“llama”).  These student responses provide an opportunity for FSCJ to further explore open educational resources as a means for addressing the high costs of textbooks. The most popular responses (of about 200 total) were:

FSCJ Interactive OER Wall

  • Food – 21
  • Car or Gas – 15
  • Computer – 13
  • Savings/Investment – 13
  • Pay Bills/Loans/Tuition – 11
  • Clothing/Shoes – 9
  • Vacation/Travel – 9
  • House/Apartment – 6

A program at the South Campus Library provided students the opportunity for a hands-on experience with OER through a program “Creating Together Makes Us Stronger.”  This allowed students to learn about the benefits of open access through a building bricks demonstration. All week, students could build, create and remix in collaboration with fellow students, faculty, and staff.

Throughout the week, librarians offered the opportunity for faculty and staff to attend a workshop at one of the campus libraries.  Topics varied from an introduction to open educational resources (“Open Education Resources (OER): A Very Brief Introduction”) to more advanced topics (“The Insider’s Guide to Creative Commons” and Searching for Open Educational Resources (OER)”).

Open Education Week LibGuide available here:

Below are a few snippets from the Open Education Week Faculty Webinars:

Astronomy OER Course – Dr. Mike Reynolds on Student Engagement 


Writing About Texts OER Course – Dr. Dan Powell on the OER Movement

Writing About Texts OER Course – Dr. Dan Powell on Student Engagement

Humanities OER Course – Dr. Scott Cason on Student Engagement and Outcomes

Ivy Tech Community College

Ivy Tech has a  small celebration this year, but they posted information about OER on their Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They also shared the CCCOER webinar information with interested faculty as well.  Here is an example of one of their posts.

OEW from Ivy Tech's Twitter

Lake Washington Technical

Lake Washington Technical College’s advising staff set up a booth to educate students and faculty on the benefits of OER, while sporting, “OPEN for Learning” t-shirts. They asked students how much they spent on textbooks and the answers ranged from $0 to over $750! They also asked students what they would have spent the money on, and the answers ranged from bills, to car repairs, to spending money on things for their children. You can see more at Sally Heilstedt’s Twitter and Instagram.

Today my amazing colleagues shared the benefits of #oer with students and employees at @thelwtech in celebration of #openeducationweek I get to work with the best people, who care deeply about equity and empowering students to succeed!

A post shared by Sally Heilstedt (@mygalsal37) on

Small sample of student responses for one activity we did at @thelwtech today for #openeducationweek #oer Textbooks or food, gas, bills, family? Shouldn’t have to be a choice students face.

A post shared by Sally Heilstedt (@mygalsal37) on

Mitchell Community College

This year, Open Education Week was during Mitchell Community College’s spring break, so they sent out resources that were a “blast” to read. This included information on OER definitions, policies, resources, alternate textbook projects, and studies, as well as an OER crossword puzzle. You can find out more in their LibGuide post on OEW 2018, Discovering Open Educational Resources (OER) –

Montgomery College

Montgomery College (MC) celebrated OEW at all three of their campuses. Students, faculty, and staff stopped by their information table and enjoyed a slice of cake and asked questions related to the MC Open initiative at the college. They also had a brochure available to let people know that MC had more than 300 Z-courses available Fall 2017, with about 6,400 enrollments, and student textbooks savings estimated at more than $1,000,000! The brochure also outlines the MC Open Initiative and lets people know what OER is. The brochure is available at  

More information and pictures from the events can be found at

Northwestern Michigan College

At Northwestern Michigan College one of the OER Squad created these images for their t-shirts and stickers.

They also asked students to tell them how the high cost of textbooks affects them and got 86 responses (even though they only had 65 #textbookbroke t-shirts to give away!  Results of their survey are here. Student’s responses varied, but they show a frustration with the cost of textbooks, especially when the books is hardly used in a class. They also said that high cost of textbooks affects the number of classes they take, and even which area of study they get their degree in!

All of our Textbook Heroes received this little refrigerator magnet pocket thanking them for helping put dollars back into their students’ pockets.

Five members of the OER Interest Group from the Michigan Academic Library Association shared their best tips in the webinar “What Works for Me:  Successful OER Strategies” Slides here.

San Jacinto College

San Jacinto College (SJC) used OEW as a chance to celebrate and educate students and faculty about OER and SJC’s OpenBooks Initiative. They had celebrations on the Central, North and South Campus to introduce how open education resources can help their students financially and also give their faculty members an opportunity to create and share their work with their peers all around the world.

OpenBooks’ success has truly been a collaboration of every department at SJC. OpenBooks has been available since spring 2017, and since then more than 106 faculty members have used OER materials to provide more than 13,000 students with knowledge and saved them more than $1.2 million in textbooks fees. SJC currently has OER Degree pathways for a General Studies or Business transfer degree.

During OEW on each campus, the OpenBooks campus ambassadors and the student engagement and activities departments partnered together to inform students about OpenBook.  Each campus provided information on the benefits of OpenBooks courses, how to search for OpenBooks courses in CourseFinder, and the significant savings SJC students have seen in textbook costs.

Freshman Jose Aguilar on the South Camps stated, “I had no idea San Jac offered these types of classes. I always struggle with textbook costs, and this could really help me out in future semesters. This is an amazing opportunity that I knew nothing about.”   In addition to information, the campus OEW events also offered free popcorn, a raffle for Amazon gift cards and a host of other free giveaways.  The event will hopefully lead to a robust enrollment in all the fall OpenBooks courses.

More information and pictures at


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