Project Archive: Marking Open & Affordable Courses

This is a snapshot of project information archived on 2 September 2022. Please contact the project team for most recent updates.

Marking Open & Affordable Courses

Subject: Other Education

Book Language: English


Book Cover:

Created date: October 25, 2019

Updated date: October 9, 2020

Target Release Date: 2020-05-18


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About this Project

Marking Open & Affordable Courses: Best Practices and Case Studies

, forthcoming in 2020,

expands the

“Texas Toolkit for OER Course Markings”

to help institutions of higher education implement a course designation system for open or affordable educational resources. The creation of the book has been both transparent and experimental, with editors utilizing Rebus Project’s public site to recruit contributors and authors often working across institution and areas of expertise to collaboratively draft content for which there is not an abundance of existing literature. To date, the team includes 30 contributing authors and 35 peer reviewers from multiple institutions and organizations across the United States, Canada, and Australia filling the roles of project manager and publisher, editor, section leader, section author, case study author, and peer reviewer. Published by

Mavs Open Press

at the University of Texas at Arlington Libraries. Copyright © by Breeman Ainsworth, Nicole Allen, Jessica Dai, Abbey Elder, Nicole Finkbeiner, Amie Freeman, Sarah Hare, Kris Helge, Nicole Helregel, Jeanne Hoover, Jessica Kirschner, Joy Perrin, Jacquelyn Ray, Jennifer Raye, Michelle Reed, John Schoppert, and Liz Thompson. Case studies © by Alexis Clifton, Michael Daly, Juville Dario-Becker, Tony DeFranco, Cindy Domaika, Ann Fiddler, Andrea Gillaspy Steinhilper, Rajiv Jhangiani, Brian Lindshield, Andrew McKinney, Nathan Smith, and Heather White. All text is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Short Description:

Marking Open and Affordable Courses: Best Practices and Case Studies

helps higher education institutions across the country to implement course marking for open and affordable educational resources. This practical guide provides case studies, summarizes relevant state legislation, provides tips for working with stakeholders, and analyzes technological and process considerations.



Marking Open and Affordable Courses is a collaboratively authored guide for institutions navigating the uncharted waters of tagging course material as or under a “low cost” threshold by summarizing relevant state legislation, providing tips for working with stakeholders, and analyzing technological and process considerations. The book is divided into two main sections. The first section provides high-level analysis of the technology, legislation, and cultural change needed to operationalize course markings. The second section presents tangible case studies for those interested in how others have implemented course markings.


Policy has played a significant role in accelerating the practice of open and affordable course markings. States and institutions that are not currently subject to legislative mandates have an opportunity to be proactive now, or else they will likely need to be reactive later. This section will explore the history of federal and state legislation related to course materials marking and the implications for institutional course marking policies. It will also offer a comprehensive summary of current state initiatives related to course marking and the differences and similarities between them.


Collaborating with campus stakeholders is vital to creating a campus culture that recognizes the value of open and affordable resources. This section introduces a variety of stakeholders, starting with Chapter 4 (Students), which is dedicated to the main beneficiaries of most course marking efforts. Chapter 5 (Other Stakeholders) presents key considerations for introducing open and affordable course markings to campus stakeholders.


Readers can use this section as a general guide on how to plan a strategy for implementing marking open and affordable courses, including preparing for unique contexts through an environmental scan, reviewing processes connected to the student information system, and assessing implementation’s impact on institutional procedures and technical systems. The section also includes information on creating a stand-alone list of open and affordable courses.

Branding and Communication

Using open and affordable course markings in the schedule of classes can help students locate courses and make tracking OER use easier; however, making this change can be challenging for institutions, as they must ensure all stakeholders are aware of the changes to the schedule of classes and why they are significant. This section will extend the discussion of talking points in Chapter 6 (Talking Points) to address issues that institutions might face when building a brand and running a systematic communication campaign for marking open and affordable course markings. Management of communication and branding will be explored before, during, and after the launch of open and affordable markings.


As evidenced by the experiences of institutions featured in Part VII (Case Studies), techniques for measuring impact for course marking initiatives are largely in the developmental stage. However, reports of early quantitative data and anecdotal responses have emerged as a means for assessing the success of open and affordable course marking initiatives. This section explores potential strategies for measuring impact and other potential effects of open and affordable course markings. Additionally, this section highlights a few relevant openly licensed tools and resources.

Further Reading

Students make decisions about course registration based on a combination of variables such as class time, instructor, and whether a class is required to complete a degree or to graduate. Course markings for open and affordable materials are a recent addition to the course registration details that provide student agency in decision making. The newness of open and affordable course marking practices, however, means there are few publications about this topic. This section offers a short annotated bibliography of some of the most helpful resources.

Case Studies

This section provides nine examples of implementation of course materials marking from across the United States and Canada. Representing a variety of institutional types, each case study provides a unique take on the guidance provided in the preceding sections, walking readers through the thought processes, over the hurdles, and toward the successes of individuals and teams charged with implementing open and affordable course marking. Each case study concludes with recommendations for colleagues looking for ways to implement similar initiatives on their own campuses.