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Open Educational Resources

Make Your Class Affordable

Many faculty members across USC have converted traditional courses to zero cost courses. How can you do the same? There's no one answer for everyone, but you can use a mix of Open Educational Resources, library-licensed resources, and items freely available or in the public domain on the web. Don't get discouraged if you do not immediately see an open textbook that fits your needs. A librarian can help you locate alternate resources to make your class affordable. 

Using OER

Using Open Educational Resources (OER) is one way to make your class affordable. Most OER are funded by governments, foundation grants, or universities and are created, edited, and peer-reviewed by academics, ensuring that their quality is comparable to traditional textbooks. While many OER are created for lower level, high-enrollment courses, more are being developed for higher-level specialized courses. To locate OER to use in your classes, visit

Using Library Licensed Resources

While library-licensed resources are not OER and may come with copyright and licensing restrictions, using materials available through your library can save your students money. The library offers e-books, databases, and journals that can be easily linked to and freely accessed through Blackboard or your syllabus.

Course Materials Support

The library will scan library materials or find links to resources for you at no cost in Blackboard. We will also address copyright concerns connected to posting these materials. To provide this service, we need a list of the reading assignments as well as the dates of the assignments.

SCoer Faculty Awards

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Each year, the library selects four USC Columbia faculty members as winners of the SCoer Faculty Award. These winners work with librarians to substitute freely-available or library-licensed materials in place of a traditional textbook, resulting in a course with no textbook costs for students. 

Statewide Initiatives


Learn about statewide initiatives to help you adopt affordable resources offered by the Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries (PASCAL). PASCAL is currently accepting applications for the Professors for Affordable Learning Award. Learn more from the PASCAL website.  

Get Help

We are happy to offer a syllabus review service to help you locate affordable resources. Please fill out the template provided in the email below: