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Ideas & Example Projects


Daniele Ramella, from the Department of Chemistry, replaced a $238 Molecular Chemistry textbook in a course of fifty students with a freely accessible, open textbook from OpenStax. Professor Ramella saved students $11,900 in the Fall 2016- Spring 2017 academic year. Professor Ramella observed that student participation increased as a result of better preparedness for class.


Jodi Levine-Laufgraben, from the Department of Higher Education saved students $30, for a total of $900 in her 30 person course in Fall 2016 by opting not to use a traditional textbook. Vice Provost Levine-Laufgraben carefully curated readings from multiple library resources and identified public domain, primary source documents such as Brown v. Board of Education and US congressional charters.


Seth Bruggeman, from the Department of American History, assigned students a semester-long project researching the history of the Alfred E. Burk Mansion in North Philadelphia. This project was initiated with materials found in Temple University’s Special Collections Research Center. Students were tasked with drafting an updated statement of historical significance and imaging a new use for the vacant space. The class presented their findings to representatives from the administration. Students published blog posts throughout the semester that were made available on a course webpage that was publicly accessible.*

The idea behind open assignments is to challenge the lifespan of traditional assignments that oftentimes end when the instructor assigns a grade. Instead, open assignments shift the utility of students’ effort and work away from a grade toward a public good. An open assignment focuses on reusing, remixing, and revising information by redistributing that information for further reach.

*Professor Bruggeman’s course was not part of the Textbook Affordability Project.


If you are seeking additional examples and support, please reach out to the subject specialist librarian serving your discipline. For more information on open educational resources (OER), please visit Discovering Open Educational Resources.

Get Help

Questions? Contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian.