Open Educational Resources Boot Camp – Buffalo State

Open Educational Resources Boot Camp - Buffalo State

On Friday, Buffalo State sponsored an open educational resources (OER) boot camp and invited Amber Gilewski, Associate Professor of Psychology and Sophia Georgiakaki, Assistant Professor of Math both from Tompkins Cortland Community College to come and share their experiences with OER. Both of these professors have used OER in their curriculum and have seen success with their students. Here are the lessons learned.

OER Defined

As these professors indicated they built their courses using Creative Common licensing material. Before they went in to explain creative commons licensing, they provided a definition of what open education resources was for Tompkins Cortland Community College. Here’s that definition:

“Open educational resources are teaching and learning materials that may be freely used and reused, at low cost or without charge. OER often have a Creative Commons or GNU license that state specifically how the materials may be used, reused, adapted, and shared.”

Throughout the presentation, there was a great discussion on the use of OER materials. Part of the of the information they presented was based on research from grant program they were participating in. This study was called the Kaleidoscope Open Course Initiative.

Open Textbooks

Some of the concerns about using textbooks in the classroom come back to a couple of these findings:

  • Students believe we are textbooks are the same or better than traditional textbooks.
  • The majority of students prefer preferred kaleidoscope courses over traditional courses.
  • A lot of students have a hard time paying for books.
  • Faculty at times do not use the textbook.
  • The students would like to have access to the material immediately.

Textbooks and student success

So one of the goals of the Kaleidoscope study was to reduce the cost of students for textbooks by $50. Sophia chose a course that had a $120 textbook and reduced the cost to $0.

The professors indicated that they were compensated for building or adopting OER courses, specifically, for first-time courses.

Part of the focus on the college bookstore and ways that the college bookstore could continue to make money. One of the ways was to provide a print of the digital version was a slight mark up. The bottom line was textbooks costs keep rising and students cannot afford to pay for them.


In Sophia’s course when she went to my open math she had the following results:

  • She increased success and retention in her course.
  • She was able to change your course on the Fly.
  • The entire math department went to OER materials.
  • And she saved 1,374 students between $163,000 to $219,000.
  • Other disciplines are also moving to OER materials based on the results.


Here are some resources to share:

If you are interested in OER for your classroom, please contact a member of the TEI team.

Additional Reading

Photo by NESA by Makers on Unsplash

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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