New grant will improve OER awareness and engagement

Gauri Raje, News Editor

UTSA recently received a $10,000 grant to “promote faculty adoption and student awareness” of open educational resources, also known as OERs.

OERs are openly licensed educational resources, including textbooks, that are available for free in the public domain. The university’s efforts to promote OERs began in 2016 with the Adopt A Free Textbook initiative. Since then, UTSA Libraries has been working with faculty to implement OERs into their courses as a way to defer the cost of textbooks. 

“It is important to recognize that open educational resources are critical in our pursuit as a multicultural institution in promoting equity in our education,” Zachary Nepote, Student Government Association presidential candidate, said. 

This new grant, awarded by the Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success (DOERS3) Collaborative, will further help the university identify any gaps in its efforts to promote OERs.

“The goal is to basically assess ourselves [with regards to] OER,” DeeAnn Ivie, UTSA’s open education coordinator, said. “We’re trying to see how [we] can do better as far as awareness and engagement with OER amongst faculty and students. But also, how can we leverage OER in more equitable and inclusive ways at UTSA.”

Ivie applied for the grant along with two other campus partners after receiving an email from UT System Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Dr. Rebecca Karoff. The grant was collectively awarded to UTSA Libraries, Academic Innovation and Student Success.

The assessment will be conducted based on a Creative Commons Licensed rubric created by DOERS3. This means that the rubric can be customized.

“We have the permission to adjust [the rubric] for our institution,” Ivie said. “We can choose and adjust things based on what we feel like works best for UTSA.”

At UTSA, the focus will be on “student and practitioner aspects.” This includes looking at OERs in the learning environment, the impact of OERs on underrepresented groups of students and the general awareness of OERs amongst students to ensure they are aware of classes that specifically use OERs. 

“We’re choosing to tailor it and focus on those particular groups because that’s where we feel like we need more help,” Ivie said. 

Currently, Academic Innovation, UTSA Libraries and Student Success are working individually to conduct a gap analysis which is due this month. 

“What our three divisions are doing is figuring out where we have gaps so that we can then figure out how we can have our faculty and students help us fill those gaps,” Ivie said. “We’re looking at the rubric and seeing where we stand.”

All staff members working on this project are volunteers and will not receive any compensation from the grant money.

“[The funds will go] to faculty to help us gather information from their students and their classes and to distribute a survey to those students,” Ivie said. “Primarily, we have it right now for faculty to help with gathering information and giving us feedback so that we can have that information to move forward with our action plan.”

Additionally, there would be efforts to get feedback from classes that are using OERs. 

“We’ll get some advice from students on how those can be better,” Ivie said. “Ultimately, we want more faculty reporting their classes that are using OERs so that we can have that transparency for our students and everybody.”

The aforementioned action plan will be developed to ensure students can find classes that use OERs among other things.

“I love working [every day] on advancing OER with our students and faculty and our campus partners,” Ivie concluded. “I hope to see more partnerships [like there have been with this grant] around OER advancement at UTSA.”

For more information about OERs at UTSA, visit