Logos for the State University of New York, SUNY OER Services, and Lumen Learning


SUNY System Enters 3-year Partnership with Lumen Learning to Support Innovative Teaching & Learning

System-wide agreement makes evidence-based courseware, technology, and OER support services available at no cost to students

Portland, Ore. (June 12, 2019) – The State University of New York (SUNY) and open education innovator Lumen Learning, building on their prior collaboration, have entered into a multiyear partnership supporting SUNY’s strategy to improve college affordability and student success through wide-scale use of open educational resources (OER). Recognizing the importance of establishing the systemic infrastructure to support an initiative of this magnitude, SUNY selected Lumen as a strategic partner to complement its internal capabilities. Under the terms of the agreement, Lumen will provide digital courseware to replace expensive textbooks, a Ready-to-Adopt OER catalog, efficacy research, and a variety of support services focused on improving success for faculty and students using OER course materials in SUNY classrooms. Significantly, SUNY is making these augmented services available at no cost to students.

“A large, diverse higher education system like SUNY needs a vibrant ecosystem to support our many campuses, faculty members, students, and all the ways they are finding to innovate with OER in the classroom,” said Carey Hatch, Interim Senior Associate Provost for Academic Services at the State University of New York. “Lumen shares our vision for empowering faculty members to make continuous improvements to their course materials to strengthen learning, informed by learning data and their classroom experiences. This is a unique partnership working productively on many levels.”

SUNY and Lumen have worked together since 2012, when SUNY campuses began exploring how OER course materials can impact curriculum and improve college affordability. Today the Lumen team works alongside the SUNY OER Services team of SUNY-employed experts in OER adoption who raise awareness about OER and its benefits for faculty and students. During Spring term 2019, over 10,000 student enrollments at 45+ SUNY campuses used Lumen-supported OER course materials. This represents a 75% increase in the number of students impacted compared to Spring 2018.

SUNY leaders attribute this rapid growth in large part to the confidence SUNY faculty members feel as they explore OER course materials, experience their quality, and take steps to replace traditional textbooks with OER. General education subjects have seen the greatest levels of OER adoption within SUNY as faculty members find well-designed alternatives to expensive textbooks in classes that enroll many students. Another driver may be SUNY’s efforts to increase the competitiveness and quality of its online programs, for which OER courseware is well-suited.

“Open educational resources are a great investment because they not only save students money, but they empower our faculty to regain control over their classroom content and there is mounting evidence OER can improve learning. So if we save students money, empower our faculty, and improve the learning experience, it’s a win for everyone,” said Mark McBride, Library Senior Strategist for the State University of New York. “To implement this innovation successfully across SUNY, faculty and students need to be well-supported with outstanding OER content, reliable technology, excellent learning design, meaningful accessibility, and responsive user support. Lumen is uniquely qualified to partner with SUNY for these strategic priorities.”

OER course materials have emerged as a low or no-cost alternative to expensive textbooks in many college courses. OER also grant permissions that allow people to make timely updates, revisions, pedagogical and content improvements to strengthen how effectively course materials support student learning. Lumen Learning’s work with OER, including the development of its courseware, is grounded in academic research with substantiating evidence about what strengthens learning. With the RISE Framework, contributed recently to Carnegie Mellon University’s Simon Initiative, the Lumen team has developed open analytical tools and methods for measuring the effectiveness of OER content at supporting learning. Using these insights, Lumen invites faculty members and subject matter experts to design content improvements targeting areas in which students struggle.

“Our partnership with SUNY is the largest and most comprehensive initiative to date focused on using OER as a primary tool to encourage teaching and learning innovation, with direct positive impact on students, faculty, institutions, and the system as a whole,” said Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning. “This partnership creates a service infrastructure for discovering, creating, using, and iteratively improving course materials that are highly effective for learning, simple to adopt, and sustainable to maintain over time.”  

Today the SUNY community has unlimited access to well-designed OER course materials through SUNY’s Ready-to-Adopt OER Catalog, with no out-of-pocket cost to students. Lumen’s support services include seamless integration for students and faculty to interact with OER content inside any of the multiple learning management systems in use across the SUNY system, including automatic grade return. The Lumen team continues to work with SUNY OER Services and the SUNY Help Desk providing coordinated support for faculty members and students using OER throughout the system.

About Lumen Learning

Lumen Learning provides digital course materials designed to strengthen learning, using open educational resources (OER). Lumen replaces expensive textbooks with affordable digital content that emphasizes interactivity, learning by doing, and ease of use. Adding timely updates, learning design, and technical support to OER, Lumen makes open content simple, reliable, and effective for instructors and students.

Lumen OER courseware includes Waymaker personalized learning courseware and OHM, an online homework system for math and other quantitative subjects. Over 250 colleges and universities across the U.S. use Lumen-supported digital courseware for in-person, online, and blended courses. Materials created by Lumen are published under Creative Commons Attribution licenses and contributed back to the education community. Learn more at lumenlearning.com, and visit our course catalog at lumenlearning.com/courses/.

Media Contact

Julie Curtis, VP Strategy & Communication

Lumen Learning

+1.503.840.5569 | julie@lumenlearning.com