Survey of UH Faculty shows interest in Open Educational Resources

Here is the link to download the full report and/or the executive summary: OER & University of Hawaii Assessment Survey.

Beginning in the spring of 2014, the University of Hawaii (UH) Outreach College and the Information Technology Services joined efforts to promote the use, selection, and creation of OER across the UH System. Because the use of OER is still in the early stages, the University of Hawaii Open Educational Resources Team felt it was important to learn how and why instructional faculty and staff across the UH System wanted to interact with OER. Beth Tillinghast, librarian and project leader for ScholarSpace (our digital commons) created, distributed, and analyzed the survey, which was sent to UH faculty electronically in Spring 2015.

How OER is saving students money at Leeward CC

Leeward CC starts 2016 with 148 Textbook Cost: $0 classes with a combined enrollment of 2,643 students.   Estimated cost savings for students this semester is $131,334.

A Textbook Cost: $0 designation means that an instructor does not require students in their class to purchase textbooks, supplemental course materials, or access codes.  Faculty teaching a Textbook Cost: $0 class incorporate Open Educational Resources (OERs) and other freely available materials to replace costly commercial textbooks.  Leeward CC faculty use OpenStax and other OERs, library-purchased e-books and streaming videos, faculty-authored materials, and a variety of open web resources to use the Textbook Cost: $0 designation.

The money Leeward CC students are saving through the Textbook Cost: $0 program reduces the overall cost of their education. Students can immediately apply any cost savings towards their living expenses and it reduces the need for part-time jobs or having to work more hours.  Students can even use the savings to help pay for additional classes which potentially reduces time to completion.

Since Leeward CC faculty started replacing commercial textbooks with OERs and zero-cost resources students have saved nearly $300,000!

Leeward CC Textbook Cost: $0 Classes

Leeward CC Student Testimonials and Survey Results

Open Educational Resources @ Leeward CC website

Open Educational Resources @ Leeward CC

As part of Convocation activities two weeks ago at Leeward Community College, Wayde Oshiro (Head Librarian) and Leanne Riseley (Educational Media Center Coordinator) shared Leeward’s progress on the Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative. Here is a recap of the session highlights.

OER-@-Leeward-Convocation-2016-10zumjuLink to Presentation

Student Survey

Last Spring (May 2015), 987 Leeward students responded to a survey on their purchasing decisions for required course textbooks. Data from the survey showed that 55% chose NOT to purchase a required textbook for at least one of their classes. 58% said that the cost of required textbooks determined whether they took a course.

Student Benefits

One of the main benefits of OER for students has been to lower or eliminate their textbook costs. In this video, Leeward CC student Christina Kaleiwahea, describes how OER affects her financially as a full-time student who also works full-time.

ChristinaOER” by Christina Kaleiwahea

This semester, 150 Leeward classes (CRNs) were designated as “Textbook Cost: $0” in the class listing. Additionally, a No Cost Textbook page has been added to the campus website so students may easily access the information.

OER Fellowship Program

In Fall 2015, John Morton’s Office of the VP for Community Colleges awarded Leeward CC and Kapiolani CC $100,000 to further our OER campus initiatives. The initiative is being spearheaded by Wayde Oshiro and Leanne Riseley at Leeward and Sunny Pai and Susan Kazama at Kapiolani.

 The funding for the project has been roughly allocated as:

  • 60% capacity building for the Library and EMC/CELTT (student help)
  • 20% professional development
  • 20% incentives and marketing.

One of the outcomes of receiving the funding was it allowed the team to launch the OER Fellowship Program as a way to recognize faculty’s effort in implementing no-cost or OER in their course as well as to provide a small incentive to do so. The purpose of the program is to increase student success by promoting alternatives in educational resources and creating a community that actively encourages, supports, and sustains the use of no-cost or OER.

 The goals of the program are:

  1. Equip instructors with skills so they can properly integrate no-cost or OER materials into their class.
  2. Provide tools for instructors to assess no-cost or OER materials used in their class.
  3. Examine the impact on the use of no-cost or OER materials on students.
  4. Engage instructors in reflecting on the impact of using no-cost or OER materials in their teaching.
  5. Grow the number of OER champions who will advocate for adoption across the UHCC system.

Leeward/Kapiolani faculty and lecturers teaching at least one 3-credit course and those who completed the Go Open, Go Free Using OER Professional Development Training are eligible to participate in this program. The Go Open, Go Free Using OER was offered last summer as a track of Pacific Region Learning Summit (PRLS). It is being offered this semester as a 7-week flipped workshop series and will be offered again as a PRLS 2016 track this coming summer.

Faculty who choose to participate in the OER Fellowship Program work toward achievement or champion level according to this rubric. Upon completion, faculty are awarded technology in recognition of their accomplishment toward using and promoting the use of no-cost or OER.

OER Fellowship Participants at Leeward CC include P. Jayne Bopp (Sociology), Susan Wood (English), Ann Inoshita (English), Lani Uyeno (English), and Michelle Igarashi (English). Kelli Nakamura (Ethnic Studies) is participating from Kapiolani CC. We look forward to adding more to this list in the near future.

As part of the OER Fellowship Program, instructors encouraged their students at the end of the Fall 2015 semester to complete a survey. 125 students from five different Leeward classes participated in the survey. From that, we were able to draw some preliminary findings on the impact of OER on students.

94% said they saved money by the instructor adopting no-cost or OER resources


92% reported having access to a device and the Internet to access the resources.


87% felt the quality of the no-cost resources were just as good as a traditional textbook.


78% felt they did better in the course because they had access to the resources from the first day of class.


The most powerful part of the session was the sharing of reflections by Susan Wood (English), Ann Inoshita (English), and Jayne Bopp (Sociology). They shared their reflections on the impact of using no-cost or OER materials in their teaching. Below is a summary of their sharing:

Susan Wood

Share, what difference, if any, using open educational resources has made to your teaching.

1) I feel more in control of the material. When I used a traditional textbook, I had to teach whatever was in the chapters. I suppose I could have skipped parts of each chapter, but usually I would not since I felt obligated to use as much of the textbook as possible, so the students would feel like they were getting their money’s worth. With OER, I can adapt materials (as permitted by the license) so that I am including only the material I want to include. I have really enjoyed this part the most. 2) It’s much easier to adapt the course material to meet the needs of my students. If I see a number of students are struggling with some concept, I can modify material or add material or even delete material. Several times over this semester, I modified my course content to make it clearer based on feedback from students. While it is also possible to modify content when using a traditional textbook, for me it meant I needed to find some non-textbook resource to fill in where the textbook was not sufficient. 3) In the past, I was not able to use the textbook until at least the 2nd week of the semester since many students did not have the text until then. Now, we jump right into the course material and everyone has access.

Share comments students have made to you about using of OER.

My students have been very positive about OER. One student recently told me he bought a $100 textbook for a class, but they only used one chapter of it during the semester, so he was so glad he didn’t have to buy a book for ENG 100 as well– it offset the cost of the other textbook. This is an email I received from an online student: “I have completed the OER survey and have attached a screen shot from the completion page. I really appreciate not having to purchase a textbook for this class. Any money I can spend on my family instead of on a book I will use for five months is a good thing.” Here is another email: “I just finished the other evaluation! I hope more classes uses these types of textbooks in the near future.”

If you were to share your “lessons learned” with an instructor new to OER, what would they be?

OER is a lot of work up front. Finding resources can be a time-consuming challenge. But, it’s fun, too, to see what materials are available. I really enjoyed collecting resources and modifying them to fit my course. Also, I never found the “perfect” textbook to replace my traditional textbook. After searching for awhile, I ended up mashing up several sources and creating course content that really fits the needs of the class. I think the “mash up” approach is certainly worth considering when investigating OER.

 Ann Inoshita

Share, what difference, if any, using open educational resources has made to your teaching.

Students are able to access course content from the beginning of the semester. In the past, some students purchased their textbook late due to delayed funds. Although I provided a few photocopies of important text material, some students were at a disadvantage since they didn’t have the text. Now, there is equal opportunity learning because all students, regardless of their funds, are able to access the OER sources.

Share comments students have made to you about using of OER.

Students love OER. They love accessing course materials via “Weekly Modules” and reading the course content there instead of purchasing a book.

If you were to share your “lessons learned” with an instructor new to OER, what would they be?

Start early when finding OER sources. It takes time to find what you need for your course.

Jayne Bopp

Share, what difference, if any, using open educational resources has made to your teaching.

Its given me more freedom and control over my course materials.  I like not having to put in book orders each semester and not having to deal with the numerous frustrations that can come from working with textbook companies.

Share comments students have made to you about using of OER.

Many students are extremely grateful. Lots of them say that they wish their other classes were OER.

If you were to share your “lessons learned” with an instructor new to OER, what would they be?

Like any other kind of new “technology” the area of OER is rapidly developing. Just because you canʻt find good resources for some classes right now, donʻt give up.  Keep checking each semester. I think that soon most fields and disciplines will have access to quality OER materials.

Educause snapshot of campus technology


Screen Shot 2015-11-13 at 10.07.38 AMEducause compiled survey data into this infographic –of interest is the statistic that 65% of surveyed faculty support the idea of OER.  Since OER depends on digitally delivered instructional materials, it is also interesting to note that 91% of students surveyed have laptops and 92% have smartphones, thus enabling them to access online instructional materials.

YouTube videos of a few of the Open Access Week at Manoa talks

The Center for Teaching Excellence/Faculty Mentoring Program has uploaded videos of three OA at Manoa talks held the week of October 19th:

Talks by Pam Wilson, journals manager for the University of Hawaii Press and Kathleen Luschek (OA advocate and formerly Senior Production Coordinator for the Public Library of Science (PLoS) can be seen here:

Richard Rath, Manoa Digital Arts and Humanities, gave an interesting talk about using GitHub as a collaboration tool:

OER and University of Hawai‘i Press Publishing Services

University of Hawaii PressKatherine Fisher, Publishing Services Coordinator at the University of Hawai‘i Press, writes about the publishing services that the UH Press can provide faculty who want to create OER that are copyedited and have a professional layout:


Thanks to Sara Rutter for inviting me to post about the University of Hawai’i Press’s new publishing services arm. I’m excited to learn about the innovative educational resources and research projects underway around UH, and I hope UH Press Publishing can help get some of them ready for students and teachers to use. In this post I’ll answer a few questions you might have about UH Press Publishing Services. I’m also happy to answer additional questions in the comments.

How can UH Press Publishing Services support OER projects?
We can assist UH faculty and other authors who want to write or edit an open textbook but lack the time or knowledge to copyedit, proofread, typeset, and create digital forms of their work. We can also help to make out-of-print books available again for use online and in classrooms (provided that prior publishing contracts have lapsed or rights have reverted to authors).

What can UH Press Publishing Services do?
Our services cover the full range of tasks involved in turning a manuscript into a print or digital book, from editing the text to manufacturing the books (or generating the epubs, as the case may be). We can prepare files for use on most platforms and facilitate deposit in OA repositories for long-term access and preservation. We also provide print and digital distribution support for select projects. While we most often work on books, we can help produce other types of OER as well.

How much does it cost?
The program operates on a cost-recovery basis, meaning that we charge the author or sponsor a fee to cover the staff time and production expenses involved in completing the project. This frees up the Press to support experimental projects, books with a limited market, or materials meant to be freely distributed, because we don’t have to make up our costs in sales. Depending on the complexity of the project and the range of services requested, the fee may range from $500 to several thousand dollars. Typically funding is provided by a grant, a sponsoring department or institution, a fundraising campaign, or the author directly.

What can you do with the book?
Anything you want! All rights remain with the author of the work (we encourage the use of Creative Commons licenses). You own the content and the digital files, so once the production fees have been paid, you can release your writing into the public domain, give away print copies of the book or sell them at cost, place a digital download in an OER repository or on your website, or distribute the title through a print-on-demand service like CreateSpace.

What are the advantages of working with UH Press Publishing Services?
There are many companies out there providing publishing services, and you might find that one of them is the best fit for your project, but we do have some unique advantages. Most simply, we offer local, in-person project management assistance—I’m the current campus-based consultant—for busy authors who don’t have time to coordinate each step of the process with vendors and don’t wish to manage their projects remotely. UH Press is a nonprofit publisher serving other nonprofit and educational organizations, and our goal in setting prices is to offer the best services possible and cover our costs without a significant markup. Finally, our expertise in publishing academic work and our connections in the world of scholarly communication mean that we are prepared to produce the types of projects coming out of the UH community, whether monographic or pedagogical, traditional or experimental.

To learn more or propose a project, contact me at

Academic Chief Information Officers and OER

A new 2015 survey from  Campus Computing  reveals that 81 percent of the survey participants (417 2- and 4- year campuses) agree that “Open Source textbooks/Open Education Resource (OER) content “will be an important source for instructional resources in five years.”  The data reported that 38 percent of survey respondents reported that their institutions encourage faculty to use OER–an increase from 33 percent in 2014.

There is also a report in Inside HigherEd (October 29, 2015) at
Something Old, Something New by Carl Straumsheim.

The executive summary and graphics are are

Ka Lā: Honolulu Community College student newspaper and OER

Ka Lā of Honolulu Community College, the student newspaper ran an article in August in support of OER as a solution to student textbook cost woes. The article, Textbook costs frustrate students, but relief could be around the corner, by Jason Mar and Jackie Liu (August 2015) quotes UH OER librarian Carol Hasegawa, “Student support is needed to show administration that this matters so that they’ll put more effort and funding into the program.” See the full article on page 5 at .

Student advocacy for their own education at UH campuses is the key to improving the student experience and to supporting faculty to change their course materials to more affordable options.

Proposed U.S. legislation to support open textbook creation

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Al Franken (D-MN) and Angus King (I-ME) introduced legislation October 8, 2015, the Affordable Textbook Grant, to support the creation of shareable textbooks for higher education. In the House of Representatives, U.S. Representatives Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX) and Jared Polis (D-CO) introduced legislation in the House.  A post  on Senator Durbin’s blog at provides more information about the proposed legislation. 

The book noted by Senator Durbin in the post as an exemplar of open textbooks is Sustainability: a comprehensive foundation by Tom Theis and Jonathan Tomkin of the University of Illinois. The book has been used by more than 60,000 students in MOOCs and in traditionally delivered courses. The legislation proposes competitive grants to support faculty in creating open educational resources.

U.S. Department of Education proposed OER policy

There are a couple of blog announcements about the forward movement of a open licensing policy for projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education. See the Creative Commons post by Cable Green at and the post by the Association of Research Libraries Open Education Director, Nicole Allen, at .  The policy discussion has centered around K-12 education but should also affect grant funding in higher education.  Creative Commons will lead training workshops on licensing material for re-use thus increasing the overall awareness of CC licensing.


Article highlighting U Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library

An article in the Minneapolis based Star Tribune provides a description of the Open Textbook Library, which provides peer reviewed textbooks for introductory university courses, hosted and curated by the University of Minnesota Library. One of the big changes in textbook publishing according to a source from the American Association of Publishers is the move to reformat textbook material into computer interactive course management packages that students purchase. This is creating a major challenge to OER initiatives in that it may not be sufficient to replace a print textbook with a free text; OER also needs to address the learning tools that provide students and instructors with immediate feedback in problem solving.

Leeward CC students speak out about OER


This past May, Leeward CC students were surveyed on textbook costs. 987 students took the survey.

  • 55% of students said they decided not to buy a required textbook for a course.
  • 58% of students reported the cost of textbooks determined whether they took a course.

One of the primary reasons instructors adopt OER is to benefit their students. The videos below feature Christina Kaleiwahea and Rhonda Craig, both Leeward CC students who share the student perspective on how the high cost of textbooks affect them.


OER by Rhonda Craig” of Leeward CC is licensed under CC BY 4.0


OER by Christina Kaleiwahea” of Leeward CC is licensed under CC BY 4.0

University of Hawaii — Open Education Resources