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Open UAS

Students can't learn from textbooks they can't afford. Open Educational Resources (OER) are free alternatives to expensive textbooks.

Course Materials Affordability

Runaway textbook costs on college campuses have become a major impediment to student success. Not having money to buy course materials makes a difference. Having immediate free and forever access to course materials makes a difference. 

  • 6 out of 10 students have forgone purchasing college textbooks because of cost (U.S. PIRG, 2021)
  • Students at UAS are encouraged to budget $1,400 per year for textbooks and supplies, though most students will spend much less and rely on other strategies to access course materials.
  • When students have free day 1 access to course materials, grades improve and withdrawal rates decrease, especially for those students traditionally underrepresented in higher ed (Colvard et. al, 2018)

Want to learn more or get involved with Textbook Affordability work at UAS? Contact Jonas Lamb.

Faculty Development and Support

Open UAS is a textbook affordability and Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative of the UAS Egan Library and the Center for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT). We advocate and promote open educational practices on campus and provide faculty development and support in the discovery, creation and adoption of affordable or free course materials (including OER). Faculty use of affordable course materials signals an awareness of rising textbook prices and an effort to select course materials with student cost and student success in mind. In 2022 we championed Zero Textbook Costs (ZTC) course section marking process so that students can identify course sections with zero textbook costs.

Interested faculty are encouraged to complete the OER 101 training available at the "Learn OER" link or schedule a consultation with your liaison librarian to learn more about Open Education/Textbook Affordability support services offered through the Egan Library. 


Worldwide OER adoption has saved students, parents, schools and government‚ over $1B, the majority of the savings comes from U.S. & Canada Higher Ed ($921,783,169). (SPARC, 2018). Savings from Open UAS contributed to the $1B milestone.

2,555 UAS students saved an estimated $205,000 on course materials through open educational resources. Updated April 2021

[image caption: May  2023 summary of Open UAS Impact. Source data.]

A 2018 study, "The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics", found, "OER address affordability, completion, attainment gap concerns, and learning" (Colvard, Watson, Park, 2018).

Change in Student Success from non-OER to OER

Change from non-OER to OER
GradeDrop, Fail, Withdrawal
Non-Pell Eligible Students+7.4%-2.05%
Pell Eligible Students+12.3%-4.43%
All Students+8.6%-2.68%

The large-scale study (21,822 students) investigated the impact of course-level faculty adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER). Courses that adopted OER saw:

  • a significant positive grade increase
  • a significant decrease in grades earned of D, F, and withdrawals
  • Pell-eligible students, part-time students, and populations historically underserved by higher education were even more positively impacted by the adoption of OER and immediate and forever free access to course materials.

Open Education in Action

UAS recognizes faculty excellence in Open Educational Practices as part of the annual Faculty Excellence Awards (nomination info). Open education can be defined as a collection of practices that utilize online technology to freely share knowledge. Under the umbrella of open education, there are a number of specific ways in which this sharing of knowledge happens in higher education. These practices can include:

  • Sharing and reuse of teaching and learning materials (open educational resources), courses (open courseware) and textbooks (open textbooks)
  • Adopting free or affordable course materials in recognition of student needs (open and affordable educational resources)
  • Sharing of teaching and research practices (open scholarship)
  • Publishing research in open journals (open access publishing)
  • Releasing data to be reused by others (open data)
  • Using, sharing and collaboratively creating software and computer code (open source software)
  • Flexible admission policies to institutions or courses (open admissions or open registration)
  • Student assignments that promote student publishing or participating on the open web (open teaching or open pedagogy)

Open Access publishing increases visibility of scholarship and creative activity at UAS.  

Open UAS has developed the following documents to outline short-term goals and begin visioning long-term strategic initiatives. Comments are invited on both documents.

Faculty Champions

Faculty offering Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) sections are recognized annually as Textbook Affordability Champions for their efforts to utilize Open Educational Resources (OER) or other Zero Cost materials in their course(s). Increasing the use of OER is a strategic goal for Academics at UAS and use of OER and AER is recognized as a form of academic leadership which advances innovation in teaching (a component of the UAS Value of Excellence) and learning with impact beyond UAS classrooms. 

Additionally, Faculty Senate and the Provost's Office recognize and award faculty excellence in Open Educational Practices as part of the annual Faculty Excellence Awards. 

If you're looking for data to support a faculty nomination, please contact Jonas Lamb.

Open Educational Practice Award Recipients

  • Ali Ziegler, Associate Professor of Psychology (2022-23)
  • Dr. Heather Batchelder, Associate Professor of Education (2021-22)
  • Dr. X'unei Lance Twitchell, Associate Professor of Alaska Native Languages (2020-21)
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