Open Textbook Workshop Report

By | July 1, 2016

Open Oregon Educational Resources joined the Open Textbook Network (OTN) on behalf of Oregon’s 17 community colleges last year. In August, 2015, Amy Hofer attended the OTN’s Summer Institute. The OTN’s centerpiece is a strategy for raising awareness and adoption of open educational resources by giving a faculty workshop on open textbooks and then offering a $200 stipend to write a review of a book in the Open Textbook Library. The OTN finds that faculty who write an in-depth review of an open textbook are much more likely to adopt the book in their classes.

In Fall 2015, Amy led 6 Open Textbook Workshops at 4 colleges (Portland, Clackamas, Treasure Valley, and Lane) that were attended by 100 faculty. The workshops resulted in 66 textbook reviews published in the Open Textbook Library, 19 open textbook adoptions to date, and an estimated $110,600 in student savings during Winter and Spring 2016.

In March, OTN Executive Director David Ernst and Managing Director Sarah Cohen visited Oregon to lead a train-the-trainer workshop hosted at Portland Community College. Representatives from 15 of the 17 colleges attended the workshop. The goal of the workshop was to establish a deeper bench of OER advocates throughout the state who feel prepared to promote OER with faculty on each campus.

In Spring 2016, 13 Open Textbook Workshops were offered at 7 colleges and attended by 104 faculty. The train-the-trainer workshop was a success – 11 of the spring workshops were led by campus OER coordinators rather than Amy. Reviews from the spring workshops will be due mid-summer and data on adoptions and savings will be available next fall.

By the numbers

Total program costs* $18,000
Estimated student savings $110,600
Student savings per dollar spent $6.14
Faculty participants who wrote reviews 66%
Faculty participants who said that they planned to adopt an open textbook after the workshop 50%
Faculty participants who said that they might adopt an open textbook after the workshop 26%
Faculty participants who adopted open textbooks in winter/spring 19%
Faculty reviewers who adopted open textbooks 29%

*Stipends for fall workshops were paid by Open Oregon Educational Resources and OER at Lane.


  • Saving students $6.14 for each dollar spent is an excellent return in comparison to other kinds of OER activities such as offering faculty stipends to adapt or create open course materials.
  • The 50% rate of intended adoption for fall faculty participants was higher than the OTN’s average of 40%  (Impacts and Benefits). Amy and campus OER coordinators can reach out to faculty who say that they plan to or are thinking of adopting an open textbook after the workshops to ensure that intention translates to action.
  • 35 faculty who had not adopted an open textbook in winter/spring can more accurately be classified as “not yet” because they intend to adopt during the coming academic year. Our adoption rate and student savings will be higher when we revisit faculty in spring 2017.

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