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Case Studies

What Are We Looking For?

Stakeholders who have implemented OER/affordable course markings


The toolkit will showcase case studies of OER course marking projects that have been implemented at colleges and universities across the globe. Stakeholders at institutions that have implemented OER course markings are invited to submit case studies for publication in this resource. Case studies should provide an overview of the course marking process, describe the roles of partners involved in implementation, summarize feedback from students, faculty, and other stakeholders, and note challenges, lessons learned, or recommendations. They may be individually authored or authored by a group of contributors.

Length Requirements: Though there is no minimum or maximum page requirement, we anticipate contributions between 1,000 - 2,500 words.

Time Commitment

writing processes vary

Target Completion Date

31 Oct 2018


  • None yet.


Michelle Reed


Rebel Cummings-Sauls


Rajiv Jhangiani


Nathan Smith


Ann Fiddler


Michael Daly


Heather White


Cindy Domaika


Alexis Clifton


Juville Dario-Becker


Andrew McKinney


Leslie Kennedy


Brian Lindshield



  1. I will submit a case study about the course marking process implemented at the University of Texas at Arlington. The case study will focus on collaboration between the libraries, bookstore, registrar, & university administration to establish a new workflow for reporting and tagging free and low-cost resource use in the schedule of classes via PeopleSoft & Qualtrics. Information about locating courses that use open and affordable content is available online.

  2. I will submit a case study about how Zed Cred course marking has been implemented at Kwantlen Polytechnic University. Among other things, the case study will highlight the critical partnership between the office of Open Education, the Faculty of Arts, and the office of the Registrar, along with the importance of guidance provided by other institutions (that use Banner) that have gone down this path.

  3. Welcome, Rajiv—we’re excited to have you on board! Thanks for your interest in contributing to this project and for introducing yourself on the discussion board. One of the editors will get in touch with you soon about your case study. In the meantime, please get in touch on the Questions discussion board if you have any questions about project participation. Thanks again— we look forward to working with you!

  4. Looks like I left a blank reply above — and I can’t edit it.

    I’d like to participate in this project. Houston Community College has implemented a course tagging system in it’s People Soft SIS. We decided to go with three tags: Low Cost Books, Zero Cost Books, and Z-Degree. Only the Low Cost Books and Zero Cost Books tags are visible to students. The Z-Degree tag is used to track enrollment and courses in our Z-Degree program. We have been piloting tagging for this past year, but it is running live in Fall 2018. Our big challenge is educating faculty, staff, and students about the tagging system.

  5. Hi, Nathan! Thanks for your interest in contributing to this project. We’d be glad to have a case study focusing on the implementation process at Houston Community College. One of the editors will follow-up closer to the close of the call for proposals with additional details.  In the meantime, please take a moment to introduce yourself on the discussion board. We look forward to working with you!

  6. Hello. I work at Massasoit Community College in Massachusetts. We received a grant from the MA Dept of Higher Education in Dec. 2017 to expand our existing OER program with the goals of nearly doubling the amount of faculty who use OER, nearly doubling the number of sections that no textbook, and better marketing OER to our students so they understand what it is. We would like to share a case study about our experience, our results, and successes/continued challenges. I’d love to hear more about deadlines and formatting. Thank you and have a great day!

  7. I am a Librarian at Texas Tech University and teach a one-hour undergraduate research course for the Honors College. This fall I am using only existing OER textbooks for this course but would like to create a Tech-centric OER for this course. TTU will begin courses in our recently THECB approved Master of Science in Library and Information Sciences degree program in Fall 2019. I will be teaching Public Services and Curriculum Design and plan to create OER textbooks for these graduate courses. My thought is these experiences will lead to at least one case study (using existing OER textbooks in an undergraduate ; adapting existing OER for an undergraduate course; creating an OER for graduate courses)

    I am very interested in being part of this project and am flexible as to what my role could be as a section leader and/or contributer.

  8. Hi Jesse and Laura, welcome! Both of your programs sound fascinating, thanks for sharing. Just to clarify, the book is devoted to course marking (designating OER in the course catalog) so is it possible for these case studies to center on that element? Details about other pieces of your program are of interest as they help others understand your context, but the focus should be on course marking implementation, plans to implement course marking, students’ perceptions of marking, your own informal ideas about marking, any partnerships you’re building to do marking, etc. etc. Does this make sense?

    Jesse, I would be fascinated to learn more about your position as both the LMS Administrator and the OER Coordinator, for example, as a case study or stakeholder story. How do you straddle these positions and how does that impact your course marking work? If you aren’t marking courses in the catalog are you in the LMS in some way?

    Laura, your case study could potentially focus on how your students are interested in this type of work being designated in course catalogs, the LMS, or some other space.


  9. I am a librarian at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington.  Over the past 4 years, we have been developing an OER program, one section at a time.  We began with a grant for an Advocacy Plan, which then led to one workshop on OER. The workshop led to a few instructors migrating to OER for Psychology and Sociology, and the whole program took off from there.  We now have about 40 courses, 90 sections, that use Alternative Educational Resources. We call them Alternative Educational Resources at LCC because some of them are not open, but they’re very inexpensive. As long as the text material for the course costs less than $30, it qualifies as “alternative” for our students.  

    Every quarter, we prepare a list of all the courses and sections that will be using AER.  The administrator responsible for coding all the courses at our college has developed a special icon which is inserted into the catalog, identifying any course that is open.  (There are similar icons for items which are online only, or are on the distribution lists.) In addition, each printed catalog has a half-page advertisement that identifies, course by course and section by section, each course that uses alternative resources.  We also have a link on the class schedule web page to the list of all the AER courses for that quarter. Advisors, faculty, and students have all used these lists and the advertisement.

  10. I will submit a case study on the following: Mt Hood Community College (MHCC) successfully implemented Low Cost and No Cost course markings by coordinating the expertise of a Technical Services and OER librarian, IT computer programmers, faculty beta testers, and various college administrators. This brings MHCC into compliance with Oregon’s legislative mandate toprominently designate courses whose course materials exclusively consist of open or free textbooks or other low-cost or no-cost course materials.” The resulting Course Section Reporting Form (CSRF) does three things: 1) Automatically maps appropriate course sections with HB2871 No Cost and Low Cost designations in our SIS (Jenzabar CX) for display to students at the point of registration; 2) Captures data on which course sections are using OER regardless of HB2871 cost thresholds; and 3) Captures data on which course sections have an expensive textbook that is used for multiple terms over a sequence of classes. Officers from MHCC’s Associated Student Government (ASG) determined $50 as the “low cost” threshold, and the campus-wide Textbook Affordability Team (TAT) collaborated with them, Student Services employees, and the College’s marketing department to create posters and flyers notifying students to keep an eye out for the new “Textbook Price” column in the online course registration system. Librarians promote awareness of these course markings through various student events all year round, and MHCC’s institutional research department assists the TAT with analyzing the resulting data over time.

  11. Hi all—I’m submitting a post on behalf of Creative Commons Certificate instructors: Cable Green, Maran Wolston, and me. We would love to participate in this project.

    As instructors for the Creative Commons (CC) Certificate courses for Educators and Librarians, we propose a case study to contrast with traditional institutions implementation of course tagging.

    Creative Commons (CC) is the nonprofit organization that builds and stewards the legal tools, technologies, and programs to power open movements around the world. The Creative Commons Certificate courses train people in open licensing, open practices and the ethos of sharing. As a non-profit, the analogous process for tagging, or identifying our CC Certificate course resources as OER, has been easy. Where many academic institutions address challenges of implementing a new tagging system within more traditional institutional frameworks and record management systems, our framework is set up for highlighting OER. We have the benefit of easily labeling course contents on a webpage devoted to the course information, and in Canvas, our learning platform. Crucial to this effort: we have explicit leadership support to openly license resources without fearing loss of business. Creative Commons community members and course participants simply expect OER from the start.

    With tagging as the expected norm, we aim to address other related challenges. The case study will discuss our efforts to align our explicit values for openness with tagging and other course administration needs, including design and platform management.

  12. Hello,

    I would like to submit a case study on how the course designation of low cost/no cost in our course schedule is coming out of our bookstore. I am the Manager of Open and Instructional Resources and Nicolet College and oversee bookstore operations. Our OER program is relatively new compared to some (up and going for approx 18 months) but we are making progress quickly. I would like to show that even though our process is simple, it is bringing transparency to students, helping them make more informed choices, and even how it encouraged some faculty to switch.

  13. Hi everyone,

    I’m submitting a case study on behalf of SUNY OER Services, a support organization for OER implementation across the 64 State University of New York (SUNY) community colleges, technical colleges, comprehensive colleges, and universities. Together with my colleagues Tony DeFranco and Michael Daly, I will explain the various points of transition our institutions are currently with OER course indicators, where that change is happening most quickly, what barriers are, and what impact has been so far.

    To date, I have confirmation that 16 of our institutions have OER course markers in place. These span PeopleSoft, Banner/Elucian, PowerCampus, and a homegrown student information system. Several additional campuses are working through the implementation process as well, and I think others will move quickly once they see established models in place, inside NY and across the country.

  14. I will submit a case study on how Central Virginia Community College made it possible for students, faculty advisers, and the community to access the OER Course offerings for the semester. We started course markings in the SIS in the summer 2016 semester and have continued to do so.

  15. I’m submitting a case study on behalf of the CUNY Office of Library Services (OLS). Along with Ann Fiddler, the Open Education Librarian at OLS, we will describe our experience rolling out our Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) course attribute in our university-wide registration system, CUNYFirst. Although the ZTC attribute in theory gives faculty the ability to advertise that they’re using OER materials, gives students the ability to search for courses that use OER, and allows campuses and OLS to track the number of OER sections across the 24 colleges at CUNY, in reality it has been much more complicated than that. In our case study, we will highlight the ups and downs of the ZTC attribute and share what we think are the most important takeaways of our experience. By sharing that experience we hope that other colleges and universities can learn that a course designation involves a lot more than you would think it does at first glance.

  16. We are interested in submitting a case study that describes the background, context, and methodology of a simple, low barrier initiative to implementing OER Course Marking that uses specific branding strategies within a higher education setting. It discusses implications for the future of this innovative approach to the branding of teaching and learning in academia. We look forward to hearing from you.

    Dr. Raúl Fernández-Calienes & Dr. Hagai Gringarten, St. Thomas University

  17. If you are interested, I will submit the OER marking story which has recently been implemented based on California state legislation within the CA State University system and the CA community colleges. The CSU and CCC collaborated on branding and messaging. Since our information systems are very different, the CSU campuses worked independently to organize our student information system offices and scheduling tools to meet the requirements of the legislation with guidance from us in the central office. The central office also provided guidelines on how bookstore systems could supply faculty book orders to the scheduling system which would then provide the much needed reporting of OER being used. Since January 2018 we have seen the marking implementation process vary within the 23 university system, and we have additional work to do to notify students and faculty of this process and valuable resource.

    The CSU (and my office) has been guiding and resourcing several CA higher ed intersegmental OER adoption initiatives which have raised the awareness and supported the infrastructure for OER adoption since 2014. An deliverable from these projects has been cool4ed.org built on the foundation of MERLOT.org which is also supported out of our office, as well. If you have any questions, please let me know.

    Leslie Kennedy, EdD, California State University, Office of the Chancellor (central office)

  18. Thanks for your patience as we reviewed your proposals. If we needed clarification or if your proposal was out of scope, we have already reached out to you directly via email. Otherwise, congratulations, your proposal for Marking OER Courses: Best Practices and Case Studies has been accepted! Our contributor list is up-to-date, though we are still finalizing some roles and responsibilities.

    By the end of the week, we will send you a direct email which will include the following:

    • The author guide for this publication, which includes details on collaborative writing, deadlines, and the license the final book will be shared under.

    • A link to the Google Drive space we will be using to collaboratively draft content for the book. Before formal peer review, the book will be loaded into Pressbooks for final publication. Until then, we will use Google Docs for more robust editing and collaborating.

    We will use the e-mail you provided to Rebus for this correspondence; if you would like to use another email for your primary contact, please let us know. In the meantime, questions about the project can be submitted to the Rebus discussion board.

    We look forward to working with you!

    Michelle, Jessica, and Sarah

  19. Rebel Cummings-Sauls and Brian Lindshield are interested in contributing a case study about the process of developing and selecting an icon for the Kansas State University Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative. It took us a long time, others might be able to learn from our experience and avoid similar issues. We are able to speak on our experiences with communication and marketing, university administration, and other stakeholders along the path to implementation.