Troy University Textbook Initiative (Open Educational Resources)

The TROY Online Center for Excellence in eTeaching (CEeT), along with the Academic Deans, and the Open Educational Resources (OER) Committee (link to list below), have developed and implemented an OER Strategic Plan for Troy University. The major goals of the plan will increase student learning and success, by providing affordable access to education.

Faculty will be given the freedom to adopt, adapt, or create content from high quality, peer reviewed, relevant, and up to date sources. Providing faculty with easy access to Open textbooks, and information about teaching with these materials by their colleagues, as well as providing institutional support and recognition of their efforts will be instrumental in increasing faculty adoption of Open textbooks. The CEeT recognizes the efforts of the Troy University faculty and will partner with them to develop Open courses, that provide the highest standards of quality available.

As part of a global organization, the Troy University Board of Trustees, along with the Office of Academic Affairs, and the Center for Excellence in eTeaching, feel an obligation to our students around the world to conduct research, manage the Textbook Initiative, encourage adoption of OER, and assist in the design and development of Open courses that help students and faculty achieve excellence.

Committee Members:

Dr. Glynn Cavin
Assoc. Vice Chancellor for Troy Online

Dr. Deb Fortune
Director, CEeT

Josh Hill
Instructional Designer, CEeT

Jana Slay
Head of Technical Services/Acquisitions Librarian, Library

Dr. Paige Paquette
Assisant Professor, CCFA

Dr. Margaret Gnoinska
Assisant Professor, A&S

Dr. Dianne Eppler
Assisant Professor, SCOB

Dr. Hal Fulmer
Associate Provost

Chancellor's Fellows:

Dr. Wade Forehand
Associate Professor, HHS

Dr. Dionne Michelle Rosser-Mims
Associate Dean, EDU

Dr. Carmen Clark Lewis
Assistant Dean, SCOB

Lauren Stone Cole
Coordinator, Career Services

Dr. LaKerri R Mack
Associate Professor, A&S

Dr. John Kline
Distinguished Professor, Leadership Development


Dr. Christopher Bradley
Associate Professor, A&S

Dr. Wade Forehand
Associate Professor, HHS

Dr. Carla Gallahan
Associate Professor, CCFA

Dr. Erich Grommet
Assistant Professor, EDU

Dr. Lorraine Magrath
Assocaiate Chair, SCOB


Dr. Earl Ingram
Senior Vice Chancellor for Academics

Dr. John Dew
Senior Vice Chancellor of Student Services

Troy Textbook Initiative


Frequently Asked Questions

"...Open Educational Resources (OER), which are teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use. Generally, this permission is granted by use of an open license (for example, Creative Commons licenses) which allows anyone to freely use, adapt and share the resource—anytime, anywhere. “Open” permissions are typically defined in terms of the “5R’s”: users are free to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute these educational materials."

-SPARC. (2017). Open Education. Retrieved February 3, 2017, from

"OER includes full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge."

-The Hewlett Foundation. (2016). Open Educational Resources. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from

Video by The Council of Chief State School Officers

The following section was extracted from a review, that provides a summary of all known empirical research on the impacts of OER adoption:

"...Given that (1) students and teachers generally find OER to be as good or better than traditional textbooks, and (2) students do not perform worse when utilizing OER, then (3) students, parents and taxpayers stand to save literally billions of dollars without any negative impact on learning through the adoption of OER."

-Hilton, J., III, & Mason, S. (2016, September). Review. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from

The following link is A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER) from the UNESCO Guidelines for open educational resources (OER) in higher education:

Video by The Council of Chief State School Officers

"Educational resources developed in an open environment can be vetted and improved by a community of educators, resulting in materials that represent what the educational community sees as most valuable. Educators with access to open education resources have the potential to spur pedagogical innovation and be exposed to new alternatives for effective teaching. Additionally, OER has the potential to expose students and instructors to the long tail of content, most of which never finds its way into widespread educational use. Moreover, learning resources that can be modified and reused promote collaboration and participation."

-Educause. (2010, May 27). 7 Things You Should Know About Open Educational Resources. Retrieved March 27, 2017, from

According to Nicole Finkbeiner from Rice University (Openstax) the following are benefits from implementing OER:

  • Increase your academic freedom to teach your course the way you want to
  • Every student will have IMMEDIATE access to their text
  • Every student will have UNLIMITED access to their text
  • Free versions of OER increase student retention and completion
  • Free textbooks increase student equity

Video by The Council of Chief State School Officers

Troy University students could potentially save an estimated $336,000 in textbook costs based on Fall term/semester statistics (2016).

"Given that students and teachers generally find OER to be as good or better than traditional textbooks, and students do not perform worse when utilizing OER, then students, parents and taxpayers stand to save literally billions of dollars without any negative impact on learning through the adoption of OER."

-Hilton, J., III, & Mason, S. (2016, September). Review. Retrieved March 17, 2017, from

"A recent report by The College Board, indicated that students spend an average of $1200 a year on textbooks and supplies."

-College Board (2013). Trends in college pricing. Technical report.

Video by OpenStax

"Students reported that they occasionally or frequently take fewer courses (47.6%); do not register for a course (45.5%); drop a course (26.1%), or withdraw from courses (20.7%)' due to the high cost of textbooks.

-"2016 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey," Florida Virtual Campus, October 2016.

The following statement from Student PIRGS, speaks volumes about the challenges our students are facing: "28 hours working a minimum wage job to purchase a $200 textbook"

-Senack, E., & Donoghue, R. (2016, February). Covering the Cost. The Student PIRGS. Retrieved June 22, 2017 from

How do students find TROY Open courses?

"R" is the course designation in Datatel. "R" is the second letter in the Course Coding Matrix. "R" represents Open Educational Resources. The schedule/student planning areas state that, "This course offers a low cost/no cost textbook."

Textbook Initiative Policy Statement for the Troy University System

The guiding principle in textbook selection is a commitment to the quality and affordability of textbooks and student learning materials used in courses. Whenever possible and appropriate, selected textbooks should be reasonably priced, have a reasonable shelf-life for continued student use beyond a single semester/term and provide students with maximized cost savings and buy-back opportunities.

The purpose of the Troy University Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiative is to increase student success by promoting alternatives in educational resources and creating a community of educators that actively encourages, supports, and sustains the use of OER.

The University is actively engaging in the promotion and adoption of OER by providing faculty members, especially those who teach large enrollment courses, such as, our General Studies Curriculum with resources and assistance to transition away from expensive textbooks to Open Educational Resources. As we begin our project this Summer (Term 5, 2017) we can expect to save the Troy students approximately $19,500 in a single term.

  • Increase student success, retention, and graduation rates
  • Reduce textbook costs for students
  • Align content with course and program outcomes
  • Create an OER community online and within the TROY system
  • Equip instructors with skills to properly integrate OER materials into their class
  • Provide tools for instructors to assess OER materials used in their class
  • Grow the number of OER champions who will advocate for adoption across the TROY system
  • Create website to provide faculty with links to a repository of OER/Open course materials and track/report efficacy of the Textbook Initiative.
  • Gain and market a regional competitive advantage for Troy University
Reasoning for the Textbook Initiative
Using the OpenStax methodology, TROY University students could potentially save an estimated $336,000 in textbook costs based on Fall term/semester statistics (2016). 1$100 textbook cost multiplied by 20% of course enrollments.
Open Educational Resources (OER) offer Troy University a cost-efficient method of improving the quality of teaching and learning while at the same time reducing costs imposed on students related to the purchase of expensive commercial textbooks and learning materials. Troy University leaders, particularly boards of trustees and senior academic governance leaders, have a tremendous opportunity to harness the advantages of OER at TROY.
Adoption Process

Each course requires a four-term development cycle: (Cycle- 9 week term)
Each cycle 2 new courses are chosen for development.

  • Term 1: Course selection; faculty/SME selection via College Liaison
  • Term 2: Text selection(s) for the course ; course development with Instructional Designer
  • Term 3: Beta offering of the course, with Instructional Designer coaching
  • Term 4: Revise course based on feedback and observations in beta offering
  • Term 5: Go Live
Video by The Council of Chief State School Officers

Quality Standards
The OER Committee has been working closely with representatives from OpenStax (Rice University) to help develop strategies for implementation. Content must meet with a stringent peer review process, such as the one referenced in this LibGuide from Pierce College. Peer reviewed Open Texts from OpenStax, Merlot, MIT OpenCourseWare, Open Suny Textbooks , Galileo and the OER Commons are valuable resources for course development.

The following section was extracted from a guide that can be used to evaluate Open Educational Resources:

Evaluation Process

Here are a few steps you might take in the evaluation process. If this process seems lengthy, think about the process you follow to review textbooks and other materials for your course. You can use a similar or modified evaluation process to that.

Does this OER cover the content you'd like your students to learn in this course or module? How accessible is this content? Will it be accessible for your students or is it too technical or, vice versa, is it robust and challenging enough for your students? How can you use the content? Verify the license that the resource is under. Can you remix or revise the OER as long as it isn't for commercial purposes? Who do you have to recognize if you use it? Will you be able to do so? Once you determine how you can use the OER, what would you like to do with it? Does only a portion of it apply to your class? Would you possibly want to combine this OER with another OER or resource?

As you collect more OER and other resources, save them in a central location. Take note of how you envision using them. Align these resources with the learning objectives and weekly lessons on your syllabus in order to identify gaps.

Textbook Initiative Savings Chart

Troy Textbook Initiative

OER Repositories