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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Learn how to find and use OER materials in teaching and learning.

Information Services OER Grant Program




In order to increase OER course adoptions and encourage faculty exploration and innovation in finding new, better, and less costly ways to deliver quality learning materials to students, the College is providing incentives for faculty to convert courses currently using traditionally purchased materials to use OER material. An OER Grant  encourages creation of open educational resources that can be shared widely at the College and with higher-education institutions world-wide.  

The grant provides funding and staff support to faculty who wish to integrate OER into a course.

  • Three Grant Categories
    • Adoption: Adoption of existing OER with additional funding available for technology tools, $500
    • Adoption and Revision: Adoption of OER plus creation of supplemental material, $1000
    • Creation Grant: Creation of new open textbook, $5000 

OER Grant Recipients & Results

Sana Abdi, James Austin, Jacob Levi, Robyn Pront, French and Francophone Department

Adam Kleman, Chemistry Department

Andrea Lanoux, Slavic Studies Department

Yongjin Park, Economics Department

Carla Parker-Athill, Biology Department

Tanya Schneider, Chemistry Department

Luke Wilczek, Chemistry Department


Sana Abdi, James Austin, Jacob Levi, Robyn Pront, French and Francophone Department

Ruth Grahn, Psychology

Jessica Koehler, Hispanic Studies

Emily Kuder, Hispanic Studies

Julia Kushigian, Hispanic Studies

Augustine O'Keefe, Mathematics & Statistics

Midge Thomas, Music

Sufia Uddin, Anthropology

Adopted OER for FYS: Myths that made America

"It brings some relief to students to know they do not have a lot of books to purchase. I have been moving in this direction for a while but after Tempel Institute in June 2022, I learned about the importance of legibility for all. So now I have made ALL my readings OER or at least taken from a rare source that can be read using Hypothesis. It did take some time to locate sources but I think will be a bonus to my effective teaching."


Ruth Grahn, Psychology

Adopted OER for NEU 214: Biopsychology

"Taking this approach has had a substantial impact on my teaching. Seeking new material to replace text-based material opened up a wider range of sources and formats. Using video and material from multiple sources has provided more variety. Another important influence has been the use of collaborative tools, such as Google docs, forms, slides, etc. For example, I’m converting all of my slides from PPT to Google slides, which makes them more easily accessible to students. This seems to me like another example of OER."

Midge Thomas, Music

Adopted OER for Music 206: Harmony, Melody, Rhythm

"I am in the process of trying to adopt OER for all of my courses and phasing out regular textbooks as much as possible. I think students really appreciate OER, and some of the music theory ones use technology (embedded audio and video) pretty effectively."


Martha Grossel, Biology

Adopted OER and additional free material for BIO 120E, Introduction to Biological Inquiry

"When thinking about what type of OER to develop, I realized that I have developed a good number of class activities and I realized that if I was able to turn these activities into OER resources, that I would have easier use and access to the material, and that I could share the activities I have developed with other educators and students. During the development, I have expanded the resources I use as part of these activities and I have realized that I may be able to work with Professor Parker-Athill in Biology to expand my activity that could build off of some of the work she does in her classes. I plan to reach out to Carla and see if we might be able to work together to improve on my activity and then build that into the OER, as co-authors." 

Priya Kohli, Mathematics and Statistics

Adopted OER and additional free material for STA 317, Mathematical Statistics

"Adoption of OER for STA 317 has shown a positive impact on student learning outcomes relative to using our commercial, standard textbook. My main goals are to reduce cost for students and to introduce a variety of relevant and contemporary applications of data as examples. While bringing theory and application together in a course works effectively, it is often challenging to make sure that students remain engaged with both of these aspects. I selected examples which helped improve statistical thinking, programming skills, and written and oral communication of statistical ideas."  

Emily Kuder, Hispanic Studies

Adopted OER and additional free material for SPA 312/412, The Sounds of Spanish

 "The integration of OERs has greatly influenced my teaching. I feel more liberated to craft course content around my own interests and specializations and based on the unique goals of the course, Hispanic Studies department, and Connecticut College as a whole. When building content, I am empowered to tie in College values such as equity and diversity, and I am able to innovate by designing instructional tools that are in-line with pedagogical best-practices such as active, hands-on learning. I can weave the analysis of primary research into discussions of conceptual readings about course topics. These qualities contribute to a cohesive course message and meaningful activities that engage students."

Michelle Dunlap, Human Development

Adopted OER and additional free material for HMD 307, Adolescent Development

"I was unable to find a whole textbook, but I was able to piece together all needed from other OER human development texts, U.S. government resources and video from YouTube. OER has impacted my teaching in several ways. For one, my students are very happy that they have no economic expenses in my courses. Secondly, they love having the preponderance of course resources just one click of a button away. Thirdly, during these times of pandemic and the pivots from in-person to remote etc., both my students and I are relieved that we do not have to keep up with and lug around textbooks-- especially from the college campus to home, and vice versa. Fourthly, I have been able to incorporate a greater variety of different types of media into my courses through the OER experience, which my students greatly enjoy and easily intellectually connect to their readings and other aspects of our courses."

Christopher Hammond, Mathematics and Statistics

Created the open textbook The Art of Analysis, for Real Analysis I: MAT301

"This advanced text will be an important addition to the open education community because most OER in mathematics are directed at lower or intermediate courses, such as calculus or linear algebra. Hammond says, “in addition, the perspective I am adopting -- particularly with regard to Riemann integration -- is different from any other treatment I have encountered at this level. To be honest, I could envision this text becoming wildly popular or going largely unnoticed -- I do not know which is more likely. In any event, completing this project would allow our own students to have access to an appropriate and innovative educational resource.”

Ben Beranek, Economics

Adopted an open textbook for Introductory Microeconomics: ECO112 and modified OER materials for Environmental Economics: ECO212

"The pandemic and shift to remote learning made OER an obvious choice for course materials. The result of these efforts is that none of his 112 students has had to purchase the standard $100 textbook, with a savings of $11,200."

Karolin Machtans and Suzuko Knott, German Studies

Adopted OER for Elementary German: GER101 and 102

"In order to make course materials less costly, more accessible and more up-to-date, they will use two free online German language courses provided by Germany’s international broadcaster Deutsche Welle. These online courses have been developed for refugees in Germany and provide very current teaching materials that speak to a diverse group of language learners."

Emily Kuder, Hispanic Studies

Adopted OER for Introduction to Hispanic Linguistics: SPA255

"Using OER gives me more flexibility as an instructor, and it allows me to present different perspectives on a topic to the students.”

Michelle Dunlap, Human Development

Adopted OER for Introduction to Human Development: HMD111

Replaced a $233 textbook for with an open educational resource, saving the 28 students in her class over $6,000. Students in the class were grateful for the cost-savings and found electronic access to the texts preferable to print textbooks.

Priya Kohli and Yan Zhuang, Mathematics and Statistics

Adopted OER for Advanced Regression Techniques: STA207

"Instead of a single open textbook, they plan to merge open material weekly to create study guides, problem sets, small group projects, quizzes and build a data repository. This repository of open datasets will be used for group projects and provide relevant and current statistics that mirror contemporary trends in society."

Derek Turner, Philosophy 

Created Form and Content: An Introduction to Formal Logic, a textbook published in 2019 under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

"For many years, I had used one of the standard popular textbooks in my logic classes. But the publisher kept issuing new editions and adding bells and whistles that no one needed, while steadily raising the price. Logic is something that should be accessible to anyone who takes an interest in studying it. So I decided a couple of years to write a textbook that students at Connecticut College, or anywhere, could access for free. The book also differs from other standard textbooks in its reliance on fun, low-stakes examples involving dinosaurs, my dog and his friends, etc. The sillier the content, the easier it is to see the logical form."

Maria Rosa, Biology

Adopted and revised content for Invertebrate Biology: BIO 215 (Laboratory Course)

OER "will make my classes more accessible. I’m also working actively on assigning less reading and giving the students more meaningful reading/recall assignments. Not having a textbook means that I will have to be more creative in how I make sure the students are prepared for each class. With this grant I have developed OER plans for the 3 courses I taught at Conn in 2018. I plan to keep updating my OER plans, and hope to implement more of the resources I have been finding in future classes. Thanks to the support and the resources made available, I was able to locate and implement OER resources for 3.5 out of the 5 courses I have taught."

Kathy McKeon and Warren Johnson, Mathematics and Statistics

Adopted OpenStax Calculus for 100-level Calculus 3-course sequence (MAT 111 Calculus A, 112 Calculus B, 113 Calculus C)

"We have shared this information with the other faculty in our department and there is interest in investigating OER texts for other courses. Tina O’Keefe hopes to use one in MAT 226 this fall.  Finding an appropriate and quality OER text for the introductory statistics course (STA 107, 6-8 sections per year) is a short-term goal for the department. We anticipate this OER will have positive impacts for both the calculus students and instructors. With the cost of standard calculus texts over $200, many of our students would try to get by without purchasing the text, which has a negative impact on their learning.  The cost and quality of the OER we’ve selected should make a difference."

Rachel Black, Anthropology

Adopted material for Power and Inequality in a Globalized World: ANT 114

"I am trying to convert people and raise their awareness of the burden that expensive textbooks create." OER "will make my course more accessible. I also plan on discussing the OER initiative with my students. We will talk about how academic knowledge is produced and disseminated and how this creates issues of power and inequality."

Emily Kuder, Hispanic Studies

Adopted and revised material for Spanish for the Professions: SPA202

"I will be creating course content entirely from OER materials. I will be incorporating some items from a textbook that I own, but again, the students will not be purchasing anything for the course. I hope the implementation of OER in my course will provide a richness of materials and expose the students to bilingualism in legal and medical fields from a variety of perspectives. I also believe that OERs will facilitate a more interactive, hands-on environment, particularly with the use of scripted roleplays."

Yongjin Park, Economics

Adopted a free textbook for ECO407: The Economics of Conflict and Cooperation

Cover Art

A Cooperative Species by Samuel Bowles; Herbert Gintis; available for free online.

Building OER @ Conn College

The Course Materials Affordability Task Force, comprised of faculty, staff, and students, was developed to delve into the issues surrounding textbook costs. The Task Force’s work directly supports the College’s strategic plan, Building on Strength: A New Plan for Connecticut College. Our efforts specifically work toward Goal 3, Financial Strength: “Explore new ways to make a Connecticut College education affordable.”


  • Survey the ways that course material costs are mitigated across the campus
  • Recommend ways to streamline these efforts by reducing redundancy and increasing interdepartmental collaboration,
  • Design and propose new collaborative programs and approaches if warranted, and clearly communicate this work to the community.

Participants: Margaret Bounds, Office of Sustainability, Jamila Ezbidi, ‘19, SGA President, Noel Garrett, Academic Resource Center, Laura Little, Walter Commons & Slavic Studies, Roxanne Low, ‘19, Student representative, Sean Martin, Financial Aid, Ariela McCaffrey, Information Services (Research Support and Curricular Technology), Jessica McCullough, Information Services, Kathy McKeon, Department of Mathematics and Statistics


  • Collect and share more information to assist faculty in making textbook selections and to develop new programs to support students with textbook-related costs. 
  • Add question about textbook use to All-Campus Evaluation.
  • Use Student Advisory Boards (SABs) to advocate for the OER Program, use of Course Reserves, and gather information from students about the use and cost of textbooks and share it with faculty.
  • Share data about course material costs with faculty.
  • Improve communication to students to help them make informed decisions about acquiring course materials. 
  • Increase awareness of existing programs to first-year students earlier.
  • Require student advisers to share information about course materials to students during orientation.
  • Include more information about ways to get course materials in Over the Hump and other orientation materials.
  • Provide information to first-year students at the library following registration in August.
  • Encourage students to donate textbooks to the lending library.
  • Better advertise price-matching at the College bookstore to students, and explain how it works.
  • Improve communication between faculty and staff so they may better support students. 
  • Include textbook affordability information in FYS Moodle site for faculty and staff advisers.
  • Improve coordination about popular/expensive books between ARC and the Lending Library. 
  • Encourage faculty to place textbooks on reserve. 

*Continue these discussions through the creation of a committee, task force, or another mechanism in order to increase communication and collaboration between faculty, staff, and students to mitigate the cost of course materials.

May 2018 - OER Explorers committee formed

Purpose: Explore programs, funding sources, and support models for adopting Open Educational Resources at Connecticut College.  Consider challenges and roadblocks for faculty. Recommend a program and develop an implementation plan. The Committee’s work should be completed by August 15, 2018.  Members will be advocates for open and accessible course materials to reduce the total cost of education.

Members: Kathy Gehring, Beth Labriola, Noel Garrett, Kate McDonald, Joseph Schroeder, Frida Morelli, David Chavanne, Lyndsay Bratton, Karen Gonzalez Rice, Jacob Stewart, Rebecca Parmer

OER Explorers - Series of Workshops

May 10 - What is OER?

May 30 - Review of existing OER programs

June 25 - Suggestions for program design at Connecticut College

July - Create OER grant proposal and solicit feedback from committee

August 9 - Next Steps

OER Presentations to faculty

- May 24, 2018 - Improve Learning & Decrease Educational Costs: The Case for Open Educational Resources

- June 5, 2018 - Open & Affordable Educational Resources


Open Access Week

- October 22 - 26, 2018 - OER and Your Course: Integrating open content into the curriculum