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Open CU Boulder

OER IconCU Boulder Open Educator Participants

Explore some adaptations and creations undertaken by your CU educators.


I was very impressed at how supportive everyone was in supporting my project.  I am grateful that this grant opportunity exists and allowed me extra resources to do what I was hoping to be able to provide for my class.

On the first day of class, I tell the students that they do not have to buy a textbook for this course.  I often get a round of applause.  It is the opposite reaction from what you normally hear from students regarding textbooks.  

Creating this project was an experience both myself and my collaborator are extremely proud of. I was surprised how immensely satisfying it was to mark the OER as part of the Creative Commons.

It was very easy to put the chapters together, and I consider my OER to be a changing document.  It will be easy to edit the chapters as needed.  This will allow me to update the textbook as necessary in the future.

I found the OER that I utilized for my class to be an asset to my teaching tool kit. Student were able to find direct correlation between the OER and my classroom instruction and equipment demos.

This program was an eyeopening introduction to the vast opportunities OER provided. I am very thankful to have been a part of it and I know I will use this training and experience in my courses moving forward.

I felt like using the OER in my course actually made my teaching more effective.

The adoption was seamless, after the considerable time I spent reading OERs and researching them. The books were useful and served their purpose well for the course. When the course went fully online due to the pandemic, these online texts seemed to be more accessible to students than the print textbooks in my other writing course that didn't use OERs.

I really appreciated that this class did not have a textbook - that all the material was provided.


Strategic Public Relations Planning

By Burton St. John

Professor Burton St. John created Strategic Public Relations Planning, an openly licensed textbook designed to help students master fundamental principles of public relations planning. The text is an adaptation of Information Strategies for Communicators that integrates the RACE approach --- Research, Action Planning, Communication, and Evaluation. The RACE approach has been absent from other public relations texts, thus this OER fills a gap in relevant ways for CU Boulder students. St. John also expanded on examples by drawing from his own first-person stories in the field to illustrate core principles. St. John intends to use the materials in a number of his courses which will result in significant student savings on course material costs. Further, St. John intends to share the resource with colleagues at the Association of Educators in Journalism and Mass Communication, which promises broader adoption of the OER.


Introduction to Chemistry Online

By Alex Saltzman

Alex Saltzman, STEM Instructor in the Student Academic Success Center, created an OER titled Introduction to Chemistry Online. Saltzman is passionate about educators taking action in response to the financial burdens and barriers of higher education. Prior to beginning this OER, he was already saving students money by adopting the OpenStax Chemistry 2e open textbook. Introduction to Chemistry Online is designed to supplement that text with instructional videos and quizzes for use in any first-year chemistry curriculum. For students enrolled in Saltzman’s courses, each will save $50 of course materials costs. Chemistry courses across the nation will benefit from these modules and may download the entire OER or individual components as best suits their needs.


Enacting Climate

By Beth Osnes and Sam Collier

Beth Osnes, Professor of Theater and Environmental Studies, and many of her students created Enacting Solutions: Adaptations and Translations of the Drawdown Climate Solutions, a website that offers climate solutions in an appropriate, accessible, accurate, exciting, and engaging manner. The creators drew from the 86 climate solutions, offered by Project Drawdown and leading climate experts, and created 1-2 page overviews and illustrations, along with additional research sources for each solution. The OER offers a collection of resources for student learning and climate action. Reviewed by students and teachers from 5th grade to university level, the resource is ready for use in a wide range of learning settings. The authors anticipate large adoption across the CU Boulder curriculum in tandem with the “Climate across the Curriculum” initiative and this resource will certainly be used in Professor Osnes’ Creative Climate Communication course and Performance for Community Engagement course. Indeed, at a time when needs for climate action and education are paramount, the resource promises to be of value to an audience well beyond CU Boulder.


Start-up Finance for First Time Entrepreneurs

By Karen Crofton

Karen Crofton, Scholar in Residence in the College of Engineering, created this open educational resource to describe the basic finance aspects of a start up venture. The OER filled a gap in available learning materials for first-time entrepreneurs. Crofton will implement the OER in the CatalyzeCU accelerator beginning in Summer 2022 and the OER promises to be valuable to any course teaching venture creation. Already, the Deming Center Venture Fund intends to incorporate it in their onboarding materials for new members each year. Crofton, who was surprised to find that such an OER did not yet exist, predicts that many national accelerators and business courses will be eager to use the OER.


Exploring Culture and Gender through Film

by Christian Hammons

This book is an Open Educational Resource (OER) designed specifically for the course Exploring Culture and Gender through Film, which is taught every semester at the University of Colorado Boulder. The course began as an introduction to cultural anthropology that used films to illustrate key concepts, but it has evolved over the years to become much more than that. Films can do things that written texts cannot; they can convey knowledge that cannot be conveyed in writing or any other medium. In the course, written texts and films now inform each other. The key concepts in cultural anthropology still provide context for the films, but just as importantly, the films convey a kind of cinematic knowledge that provides context for the key concepts. Together, they offer unique and compelling insights into the human condition. This book introduces the key concepts, but at the end of each chapter, there are sections that begin to connect them to the films. "Now Showing" briefly describes a film that pairs well with the key concepts in the chapter and includes a list of suggested reading."Thinking Critically" is a question that encourages the reader to connect the key concepts to the film.

The book will be adopted immediately in ANTH 1170 / CMDP 2820 Exploring Culture and Gender through Film. This textbook will replace the previous textbook, Mirror for Humanity by Conrad Kottak, which cost $141.67. The estimated cost savings is $113,336 per academic year at CU Boulder.

Hammons estimates approximately 200 students/year might benefit from this OER across these other institutions.


Origins of European Civilization a revision of Brooks’ Western Civilization: A Concise History

by David Paradis, Sheena Barnes, and Abbey Lagemann

Origins of European History is a revision of Christopher Brooks Western Civilization volumes to match the needs of teachers and learners at CU Boulder. Paradis, Barnes, and Lagemann took on the project of revising Christopher Brooks open educational resource, Western Civilization (v.1 & v.2), to customize and improve for the 300+ CU students who enroll in introductory history courses at CU Boulder. The revised OER includes an enhanced introduction, as well as a more thorough treatment of Early, High, and Late Middle Ages. The revised and enhanced volume concludes at 1500 CE matching the curriculum for the “Greeks, Romans, Kings, and Crusaders” course at CU Boulder. Significantly, the team revised the title to eliminate the polarizing term “Western Civilization” and in so doing shaped the text in a more culturally responsive pedagogy. As Paradis describes, the motivation for the change was student engagement and critical thought: “By changing the title and direction of the book, I hope to engage students more fully and to demonstrate to students how the language that we use matters.”

The text will be adopted in several versions of HIST 1011: Greeks, Romans, Kings, and Crusaders (previously known as Western Civilization) ; HIST 1011 in-class; this class is usually HIST 1011-100 or HIST 1011-001; HIST 1011 online (section 581) term based; HIST 1011 online (section 640F) flexibly paced.

This textbook will replace the previous textbook saving each student $40-$60 totalling an estimated annual cost savings of $17,500 at CU Boulder.

Paradis notes that Introduction to European History courses are a staple at many universities nationwide where the text might be adopted.


Mathematical Analysis in Business

by Elizabeth Grulke and Laura Kornish

The purpose of this project was to convert the course materials that form the foundation of MATH 1112 (Mathematical Analysis in Business) into OER resources. The course materials include learning outcomes, ten modules, instructional videos, and spreadsheets.

The OER has already been adapted for MATH 1112 at CU Boulder.

This textbook will replace the previous textbook saving each student $100-$200 totalling an estimated annual cost savings of $150,000 at CU Boulder.

Grulke and Kornish report that their materials would be suitable for large undergraduate business courses offered at most flagship public universities. They write “If even one or two of them adopt the OER,  hundreds of students per year might benefit from it.”


Documentary Media Poetics: A handbook for theory and practice

by Eric Coombs Esmail and Laurids Sonne

Documentary Media Poetics: A handbook for theory and practice is a teaching and production resource summarizing key theories in the field and practical applications for documentary arts. Theories include the creative treatment of actuality, documentary poetics, media of truth, standards and practices, and ethics. Topics on practice include documentary development, photography, field sound recording, cinema, and the interview. The Handbook also includes a set of production tools and additional notes on practical techniques.

This OER will be adopted in Fall 2021 in CMDP 3800 Documentary Media Poetics. It will also be used in CMDP 3810 Engaged Documentary Media Practices. Additional potential courses include: CMDP 3800 Documentary Media Poetics, CMDP 3810 Engaged Documentary Media, CMDP 4810 Advanced Documentary Practices, CMDP 4820 Ethnographic Media, CMDP 4900 Concepts and Practices of New Media.

The text will replace:
Ascher, Steven and Edward. Pincus, ​The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive
Guide for the Digital Age. ​New York, New York: Plume, 2012. - ​$35.00
Aufderheide, Patricia. Documentary Film: A Very Short Introduction. 1st edition; Oxford
University Press, 2007 - ​$12.00
Barnouw, Erik. Documentary: A History of the Non-Fiction Film. Rev. ed. Oxford
(Oxfordshire); New York: Oxford University Press, 1983. - ​$20.00
de Jong, W., Knudsen, E., Rothwell, J. Creative Documentary. London: Routledge, 2012. - ​$64.00
Nichols Bill. Introduction to Documentary, Bloomington, Indiana UP, 2001. - ​$25.00

This textbook will replace the previous textbooks saving each student $156 totalling an estimated annual cost savings of $9,360 at CU Boulder.

Coombs Esmail identified eight national and international universities where the materials might be adopted. He estimates 50-150 students/year might benefit from this OER across these institutions.


Revolutions: Theorists, Theory and Practice

by Gregory Young and Mateusz Leszczynski

There have been many attempts by scholars to formulate universal theories that explain how revolutions develop and predict their success or failure, yet most have yielded disappointing results. This text aggregates the classical structural, actor-oriented, and process theories to answer “Why do Men Rebel?” An interrogative variation of Ted Gurr’s eponymous book, Why Men Rebel (Gurr, 1970). Students read theory, study the theorists, and apply this knowledge to multiple case studies. Ultimately they will perform their own deductive process to arrive at a critical explanation for what creates both revolutionary situations and revolutionary outcomes.

The text will replace a reading packet for PSCI 3062 that costs each student $49.95 beginning in Fall 2021 at CU Boulder totalling an estimated annual cost savings of $4,500 at CU Boulder.

Young reports that revolutions courses are taught in most Political Science departments across the country where the text might be adopted.


Garcilaso de la Vega: "carpe diem"

by Juan Herrero-Senes and Susanna P. Pamies

The authors offer a group of materials related to the culture of the Iberian Peninsula. The materials include lesson plans, in-class activities and homework, and they cover several types of cultural expressions (literary texts, paintings, buildings and festivities and traditions) ranging in time from the middle ages to the present. The resource is in Spanish as it is intended for courses conducted in that language (which is the standard in courses in Spanish, particularly in upper-division).

The text will be used in academic year 2021-22 and is suitable for several courses, including: SPAN 3100 - Literary and cultural analysis in Spanish, SPAN 3200 - Spanish Culture, SPAN 3240 - Catalan Culture I: Nation & Art, SPAN 3250 - Catalan Culture II: Contemporary Trends & Barcelona. Estimated cost savings of 17,210 /academic year at CU Boulder.


OpenSocial: An Introduction to Social Psychology Resource

by Ryan Curtis

This project resulted in a textbook available on PressBooks entitled Social Psychology. Students may directly access the textbook online or view it as a pdf. The textbook is a compilation of 21 chapters from Open Educational Resources (OER) from a variety of authors in the topic of Social Psychology. Social Psychology is the scientific study of affect, behavior, and cognition as influenced by other people. Topics include love, emotions, social cognition, personal relationships, etc. The textbook also includes chapters on research methods for studying these topics scientifically.

The text will be used in academic Fall 2021, PSYC 2606 Social Psychology The text is comparable to a text used in other sections with a cost ranging between $99.75- $124.75.

Estimated cost saving for 105 students between $10,473.75 and $13,098.75 at CU Boulder.

Curtis indicates that at minimum 100 students enrolled at other institutions might benefit from the text with most universities world-wide offering similar courses.



BioFundamentals 2.0

Michael W. Klymkowsky,

Mike Klymkowsky adapted Biofundmentals, available in LibreText and the Open Textbook Network, for his MCDB 4650 course, which is the final required course in the MCDB course sequence. Additionally, he created and adopted activities to support student learning with BeSocratic. These are activities that students complete before class, and serve to review and to serve as jumping off points for further discussion in class. This work saves each student approximately $100, with an average of 35 students enrolled.

Mike share the importance of thinking hard "what is really important for students to master and avoid extraneous or trivial materials often found in commercial (and in fact, many OER) materials."



Fundamentals of Reporting Technologies

Patrick Clark

Patrick Clark worked with several OER in the design of his JRNL 2001 Fundamentals of Reporting Technologies course. The course helps students develop newsgathering and production skills for work in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and online/mobile. Students learn techniques central to research, reporting and writing, and producing stories for various formats. Instruction focuses on reporting and writing across media, and helping students improve skills they practiced in the CMCI introductory storytelling courses (CMCI 1010 and 1020). In addition, students will learn relevant software in order to create digital news components. According to Clark, the OER materials allow the integration of more detailed instructional materials without burdening students with additional course material costs.

Be Credible, by Peter Bobkowski and Karna Younger Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Edited by Michelle Ferrier & Elizabeth Mays Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Tools For Podcasting, By Jill Olmsted Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Writing for Electronic Media, by Brian Champagne,Kiera Farrimond and Brianna Bodily Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License



First-Year Writing on Energy, Environment, and Sustainability

Doug Dupler

Doug Dupler integrated OER into his ENVS 1150 course, which is designed for students to explore their environment-related interests while engaging in projects that develop their personal, academic, and professional writing skills. A central aim of the course is for students to gain practice in writing and research processes using topics related to their academic and career interests, including the environmental sciences, energy, and sustainability. We will learn how to use scholarly sources; practice critical, creative, and analytical thinking abilities; build habits for academic and professional success; and hone effective communication skills through a range of writing and oral presentation formats. To support those goals, Dupler integrated a number of OER into the course. According to Dupler, the OER provided a useful reference source for grammar, punctuation, syntax, and style as well as chapters on the writing process, research, and source citations. Further the OER, he selected address reading skills, writing genres, critical thinking, a deeper discussion of the writing and research processes, and skills for academic and writing-class success. Adopting the OER allowed Dupler to remove a required text that had cost students $70.00 each.

A Guide to Rhetoric, Genre, and Success in First-Year Writing by Melanie Ggaich & Emilie Zickel licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

Lumen Learning's Guide to Writing

Lumen Learning’s Introduction to College Composition



Middle East Politics

Greg Young

For his 4000 level political science course, Greg Young adopted an open educational resource as well as locating supplemental resources openly licensed or available through library subscriptions. The course content covers a broad range of areas and disciplines that previously necessitated a number of required texts of which students might only read a portion. These integrations removed the the need for students to purchase multiple texts or course packets that cost $49.99. Young, an open education advocate, has looked for solutions to reduce student costs for the past fourteen years. These adoptions resulted in meeting his goal of $0 in course materials.

Keys to Understanding the Middle East by Alam Payind and Melinda McClimans licensed under  CC BY-SA.



Advanced Language Skills in Spanish

Juan Garcia Oyervides

Oyervides used a combination of resources from MIT Open Courseware and other online resources, particularly the informes published by Latinobarómetro to meet the needs of his Advanced Language Skills in Spanish course.,Spanish 3000 is a bridge course designed to move students beyond the intermediate level toward an advanced command of the language with a focus on communication appropriate for carrying out academic research and professional interactions. With those goals in mind, the course activities focus on helping students solidify and deepen interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational communication skills in order to prepare them for upper-division content courses in literature, linguistics, culture, business, medical and other professional topics. SPAN 3000 is the first required course for the Spanish major and minor and is one of the prerequisites for all upper division Spanish courses except SPAN 3001. Oyervides notes that, "OER are not only for students but also to make lesson planning and course planning easier and accessible to instructors."




Introduction to Behavioral Genetics

Brooke Huibregtse

Huibregtse integrated a number of openly or public domain licensed materials, such as Lumen Learning's Introduction to Psychology and Boundless Psychology. Huibregtse was dissatisfied with commercially available texts for undergraduate level behavioral genetics. By integrating multiple OER, she was able to compile materials to cover a breadth of concepts at a level appropriate for her students. As a result, she was able to remove the required textbook that cost students $70-$200, depending on the edition purchased. Huibregtse also found that because she was able to tailor the content to her course design, the texts became much more a central element of the course. She reported,"the redesign provided a focused way to restructure and organize my course based on course goals rather the predetermined textbook topics. I have been able to eliminate outdated material and spent much more time and energy on more relevant and current topics (as well as point students to up to date research and library resources)."