Blake Wood
Publish Date

The University of Illinois Springfield has received a $102,668 Open Educational Resources (OER) grant from the Illinois Secretary of State. This grant aims to reduce students’ need to purchase textbooks by promoting the use of free learning materials.

The OER funding will enhance three UIS courses in public health, mathematics and public administration by introducing new test banks, games, infographics, tutorials, summaries, videos, quizzes and case studies. The project is projected to benefit around 200 students, leading to substantial cost savings exceeding $34,000, based on average textbook prices of $125 to $260 per student.

“This grant aims to improve student engagement, comprehension and application of concepts, ultimately enhancing academic success without imposing excessive financial burdens,” said Pattie Piotrowski, university librarian and dean, who is leading the project. “By leveraging OER and innovative resources, UIS continues to enhance academic success and engagement across diverse student populations.”

The project will be led by Brookens Library at UIS, in collaboration with faculty members Brian Chen (public health), Suyang Yu (public administration) and Hei-Chi Chan (mathematics). The UIS Center for Online Learning, Research and Service; UIS Office of Research and Sponsored Program; and UIS Center for State Policy and Leadership will contribute to the grant. Researchers from Arizona State University and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign will also offer their expertise.

This grant is part of a larger state-wide initiative with academic libraries focusing on OER and coordinated by the Consortium for Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI). Brookens Library is a governing member of CARLI.

The project will begin immediately and aims to introduce OER materials into the classroom by August 2025.