Rice's OpenStax Institutional Partner Program to offer expanded benefits

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OpenStax, Rice University’s education technology initiative, today opened applications for its 2020-2021 Institutional Partner Program. The deadline to apply is June 25.

The program, now in its fifth year, has helped save students at participating institutions $19.6 million on course materials in the past two years alone. It has also helped increase the use of resources that encourage long-term learning and foster a greater sense of academic freedom among educators, administrators and students, program leaders said.

The Institutional Partner Program has been revamped for the coming academic year to offer expanded benefits and support to new and existing schools.

"This program has been integral to the success of open educational resources on over 50 campuses across the United States, and in turn to the success of OpenStax,” said Daniel Williamson, managing director of OpenStax. "The opportunity for our team to work alongside dedicated individuals and groups at different institutions to provide students and instructors with free, flexible resources is one that I think everyone involved is truly grateful for."

OpenStax, the world’s leading provider of free textbooks, is a pioneer in open educational resources, with more than 40 titles used by 10 million students since 2012. The Institutional Partner Program supports schools on their journey to increase use of such materials.

“The OpenStax Institutional Partner program gave us the opportunity to form relationships with open educational resource leaders at other institutions,” said Emily Ragan of Metropolitan State University of Denver, a partner school. “We shared strategies for overcoming obstacles and were inspired by hearing each other’s success stories.”

In addition to the elements and offerings of past years, the program will now include free, online open education trainings that put its most valuable content into an easy-to-access format, and free access to OpenStax Tutor, an online courseware platform, for all students at partner schools.

“Our goal is to make the program fit the lives and needs of educators, administrators and students today,” said Jeff DiGiovanni, associate director of strategic partnerships and head of the Institutional Partner Program. “The education community is currently facing serious challenges. And so our goal is to work closely with our partners to help them take on these challenges with tools that are free to use and flexible enough to change.”

The Institutional Partner Program’s primary focus is increasing the adoption of open educational resources at participating schools. Because these resources are under an open license and are often available free or at very little cost, they are especially suited to meet the needs of educators and students today.

"As economic uncertainty continues to grow, students need access to free resources — it is the only price point that is fair for everyone," Williamson said. "Instructors need resources with pedagogical freedom that lets them adapt to any learning environment."

Selected partners will be notified by July 1, and the program begins July 20. Participating schools will receive direct support from the OpenStax team throughout the year.

To learn more about the program and to see a full list of its new offerings, visit https://openstax.org/institutional-partnership. Established partner institutions are encouraged to provide updated information to their OpenStax program contacts to stay connected and access the new offerings.