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Author: Oliver Dreon and A. Nicole Pfannenstiel (Guest Editors)

Nestled in the heart of Lancaster County in South Central Pennsylvania, Millersville University is a public liberal arts institution that serves around 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students. As one of the 14 institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, Millersville University describes its overall mission through its EPPIIC values: exploration, professionalism, public mission, inclusion, integrity, and compassion. At the intersection of these values lies more large-scale adoption of open educational resources (OER) to support student learning.

Beginning in 2017, a group of Millersville faculty and staff representing a variety of content areas and roles on campus formed an Open Education Working Group to examine ways to promote campus-wide understanding and use of OER. OER offer students and faculty free and low-cost access to textbooks, simulations, software, and other curricular materials. Since Millersville serves a number of first-generation college students and students who receive Pell Grant support, widespread OER adoption can help to lower the overall cost of admission for students. Since 2017, Millersville’s Open Education Working Group has offered programming, mentorship, and other initiatives to foster OER adoption across campus. These efforts have culminated in the Open Textbook Initiative (OTI), an incentive program where selected faculty receive $1,000 in professional development funding to redesign their courses for OER use. The third OTI cohort will begin in fall 2020.

The articles in this series capture our work by sharing the diverse perspectives on our successes and outlining some of the lessons we’ve learned along the way. Our goal with these articles is to provide guidance for academic leaders who are considering OER adoption at their own institutions. By reviewing our successes and our missteps, we do not intend to draw a road map for other academic leaders to follow. Instead, we offer these perspectives to capture the complex nature of cultural and academic change on collegiate campuses.

In Part 1, members of the Open Education Working Group discuss the value of building campus initiatives to foster OER adoption. In Part 2, they describe their efforts to communicate about and track OER adoption. With state and local libraries and universities interested in finding alternative approaches to support student learning, the types of free, accessible materials for faculty adoption have significantly increased. Building a common vocabulary, communicating the adoption message to stakeholders, and tracking adoption are key components of successfully reducing student cost of attendance with OER on campus.

Part 1

Adopting Open: Promoting Faculty Interest
Stronger Together: Building Cross-Campus Partnerships
Fostering Innovation with a Hands-Off Approach
Supporting and Understanding Open Scholarship

Part 2

Don’t Sacrifice the Good for the Perfect: Focusing on OER versus Zero Textbook Cost
Managing the Message: Communicating Innovation with Diverse Stakeholders
Challenges of Tracking Adoption and Impact: Discussion of Cost and Academic Data Management
Mentoring Adopters for Curricular Change by Creating Community