Open Textbook and Open Educational Resource Adoption Project

The UWM Libraries and Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) invite instructors to participate in the Open Textbook/Open Educational Resource Adoption Project. This grant supports the adoption of open textbooks and open educational resources (OERs) in large enrollment credit-bearing courses, which includes several sections, possibly with multiple instructors.

Did You Know…

  • The high cost of some course materials can impede students’ academic success.
  • The College Board estimates that the average undergraduate can expect to pay $1,225 for textbooks and supplies in 2014–15.
  • The cost of textbooks is rising at a rate of 4 times inflation.
  • Seven out of 10 students don’t purchase a required textbook during their academic career because of cost.
  • 60% of students have delayed purchasing textbooks until they’ve received their financial aid.


Recent research by Hilton, Fischer, Wiley and Lane shows that students do as well or better in courses where OER is adopted. They also showed that OER adoption has a positive effect on Drops and Withdrawals and grades of C or less in face to face, online and hybrid courses (2016.) Open textbooks and support materials are especially important in large enrollment courses. This project encourages the adoption of high quality open educational resources in large enrollment courses, with a goal of improving student retention in large courses and increasing retention between first and second year.

Feedback from UWM faculty and 3,000 U.S. faculty surveyed by Babson Survey Research Group, shows that a major barrier to OER adoption is lack of available supplemental course materials. These materials, including PowerPoints, interactive content, videos, and case studies are essential for helping students make connections to the course topics, achieve the learning outcomes of the course, and ultimately achieve course success. Supplementary and interactive materials are commonly provided by textbook publishers, but are less available with open textbooks.  As a result, many instructors are reticent to adopt open textbooks that do not supply these resources.  This project will provide instructors with tools that will allow instructors to find, modify, or create interactive course materials to supplement open textbooks.

Participation Benefits and Requirements

We will incentivize open textbook and OER adoption in large enrollment courses as well as support instructors seeking to adapt or develop supplemental and interactive course materials. These materials support student learning and position faculty for sustainable OER adoption.

Departments will be required to:

  • Facilitate open textbook adoption in large enrollment courses.
  • Facilitate open textbook adoption across a minimum of three sections in a large enrollment course.
  • Organize, revise, and/or create course materials for sharing among multiple instructors with the goal to provide consistency in the student experience and to overcome the barrier of open textbook adoption.
  • Incorporate the open textbook into a course(s).

CETL staff will evaluate the impact of open textbooks and OER as a vehicle to increase course completion and first to second year retention.

Departments will receive:

  • Up to two awards of $3,000 available for the adoption of an open textbook in multiple sections of a large enrollment course.
  • Guidance in selecting open educational resources (OERs) that align with course objectives. For more information, see the UWM Libraries guide on open textbooks and open educational resources.
  • Pedagogical assistance for incorporating the open textbook and modifying course design/course materials.
  • Support for the evaluation of the impact of open textbooks and OER as a vehicle to increase course completion and first to second year retention.


To apply, complete the following form:

  • Departmental Information

  • Course Information

  • Textbook Information

  • Project Plan

For more information about participating in the Open Textbook/Open Educational Resource Adoption Project, please contact Kristin Woodward and Amy Mangrich, at

The Open Textbook/Open Educational Resource Adoption Project is made possible by funding from UWM’s Advisory Committee on Educational Technology Fees.