Open SUNY Textbooks scales up open educational resources (OER) adoption and creation services for SUNY campuses and faculty

Open SUNY Textbooks scales up open educational resources (OER) adoption and creation services for SUNY campuses and faculty

On June 1, 2016, Open SUNY Textbooks (OST) announced, in collaboration with Lumen Learning, a new service model, SUNY OER Services, to support State University of New York (SUNY) faculty and SUNY campuses with their efforts to expand effective adoption, creation and use of open educational resources (OER) in teaching and research. To date, OER savings for students tracked across SUNY total over $840,000 and a growing number of colleges and universities are exploring how to replace expensive commercial textbooks using OER, with the goals of improving college affordability, expanding access to high quality educational content, and boosting student retention and success. To further extend these benefits to SUNY students, SUNY OER Services will help faculty and campuses make a smooth, efficient transition towards wide scale use of open educational resources in college courses across the SUNY system.

Major support and funding for expanding SUNY’s use of OER come from the SUNY Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, Alex Cartwright, as well as the SUNY Office of Library and Information Services. Open SUNY Textbooks and SUNY OER Services are being developed with system level strategic goals of reducing textbook costs; developing institutional models for low cost and high quality course materials support; and producing new models of academic publishing and scholarly communications across SUNY.

Based out of Milne Library at SUNY Geneseo, OST and SUNY OER Services, with support from Lumen Learning, will build on OER collaborations that already exist within the SUNY system. They will further develop a formalized approach to OER adoption that provides faculty with a suite of services to assist with curating, adopting, remixing and creating new OER content, along with a platform that makes it easy to maintain and deliver OER within SUNY courses. The platform supports Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI), allowing for easy integration with any Learning Management System (LMS), and easy access for students through the LMS. Using this platform, a growing number of complete OER courses and other open resources are available for individuals within and beyond the SUNY community to use, modify and repurpose in their own courses. OST will also provide editorial support and a community of practice to assist with OER course design and development on SUNY campuses through a network of librarians, instructional designers, and faculty mentors.

“Geneseo’s leadership role in the OST initiative to date has played an important role in our commitment to pedagogical innovation and faculty scholarship”, said Dr. Carol Long, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at SUNY Geneseo, “Today’s announcement of the SUNY OER Services program, which will be based out of Geneseo, will allow us to partner with our SUNY colleagues by spreading this innovation across the entire SUNY system, thus becoming a national model for higher education institutions who are working to address student affordability and access challenges.”

OST will provide SUNY OER Services through a partnership with Lumen Learning, a company that has built a track record around facilitating broad, successful adoption of OER. “Lumen is excited to work with OST to extend the work of SUNY OER pioneers across the whole system,” said Dr. David Wiley, an open education visionary and cofounder of Lumen Learning. “The OST model is one of the most ambitious and practical initiatives yet to build the infrastructure students and faculty need to realize all the benefits of OER and open education.” Open educational resources include any materials for teaching and learning that freely allow for sharing, revising, and reusing the content. Typically OER are published in the public domain or with open licenses stewarded by organizations like a Creative Commons or GNU that state specifically how the material may be used, reused, adapted, and shared. As SUNY campuses and faculty shift towards broader use of open educational resources, OST estimates students will save millions on the cost of required textbooks, while faculty will enjoy greater academic freedom and control over course content and its alignment to SUNY curriculum.

About Open SUNY Textbooks
Open SUNY Textbooks (OST) is an open access textbook publishing initiative established by State University of New York libraries and initially supported by SUNY Innovative Instruction Technology Grants . OST publishes high quality, cost effective course resources by engaging faculty as authors and peer reviewers, and libraries as publishing service and infrastructure Originally launched in 2012, OST provides an editorial framework and service to authors, students and faculty, and establishes a community of practice among libraries. The first round of grants funded 15 titles, with a second round in 2013 which added an additional 15 titles to the catalog. Participating libraries include SUNY Geneseo, College at Brockport, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, SUNY Fredonia, Upstate Medical University, University at Buffalo, Monroe Community College, SUNY Morrisville, and SUNY Oswego, with support from other SUNY libraries and SUNY Press. To date, OST textbooks have been downloaded over 133,321 times.

About Lumen Learning
Lumen Learning provides well designed, low cost digital course materials that help colleges and universities offer the best education to all students, regardless of socioeconomic status. Created using open educational resources (OER), Lumen’s complete, customizable college courses save time and effort for instructors designing OER courses, while students save millions in textbook costs. Ongoing efficacy research suggests students who use Lumen do significantly better than students in sections using other course materials. Educational resources created by Lumen are published under Creative Commons Attribution licenses and contributed back to the education community. Visit us at

Follow us on Twitter at @LumenLearning .
To learn more about Open SUNY Textbooks and its services, please contact:

For Open SUNY Textbooks:
Kate Pitcher, Interim Library Director
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Milne Library, SUNY Geneseo
1 College Circle
Geneseo, NY 14454
Office: (585) 2455528
Fax: (585) 2455769

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For Lumen Learning:
Julie Curtis, VP Strategy & Communication
Office: (503) 8405569