Use this play to:

Sustain and expand OER initiatives by adding a low-cost OER course fee to cover courseware and other program support costs.

Note: Asterisk denotes this is a proven, high-impact play.

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Running the Play

Timing is the biggest threat to the success of this play. Many institutions decide too late in the game to tag courses, so beginning early will be key.

  1. Verify ability to add a course fee and connect with key players to identify institutional timelines. Some institutions are unable to offer a course fee option, and those that do must adhere to strict deadlines and complex administrative processes that often occur months in advance.
  2. Make the case! To support adding a course fee, Invite students to help advocate for affordable course materials and make a strong case around benefits of OER:
    • Affordability: Cost savings for students
    • Access: Day one access to course materials
    • Ability to pay with financial aid, versus finding cheaper options via third parties but being unable to pay with financial aid dollars.
    • Ownership: Ability to retain materials after the end of the semester, and print without fear of copyright violation.
    • Control & Editability: Ability to make changes to content so the materials can exactly fit the needs of the course.
    • Success: Passing rates and retention improve.
  1. Keep faculty informed. Maintain a regular schedule of communication of upcoming deadlines.

4. Collect data! Ensure growth and ongoing success by tracking key metrics for OER courses (drop rates, completion, passing), and consider triangulating this data with a student satisfaction survey.


  • Odessa College uses a $20 course fee to support courseware, professional development, and faculty mini-grants to continue expanding their OER efforts.
  • El Paso Community College employs a $20 course fee for each OER course using the same mechanism for identifying courses with Lab fees:
  • Salt Lake Community College communicates course fee guidelines, including submission deadlines, here on their website.

Helpful Resources

OER Course Feedback Survey: “Course Reflection” by Allen Fortune, Greg Kennedy, and Vera Kennedy, West Hills College Lemoore is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Website link from Salt Lake Community College.


Featured photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash