4 Why Now?

Choosing to make your course more Open is always important and timely. It also works directly with the University’s of Idaho’s Strategic Plan 2016-2025, specifically with our goals of improving educational equity, access and outcomes for first generation students (which comprised 52% of incoming freshman in 2022). [1]


Textbook costs might seem like a drop in the bucket of financial burdens that many students face, but they are one expense where individual instructors and faculty can make a difference. This difference shows not just in course affordability, but in student academic success. In 2023, the average cost of a textbook is estimated to be $105.

Research shows that students in courses which have Zero or Very Low Cost course materials have higher test scores and lower DFW rates compared to students using a traditional, high-cost textbook.

In addition to the positive impact on academic success, retention, and persistence, course marking meets our institutional and statewide goals. Course marking fulfills part of the mandate set forth by the Idaho State Board of Education in their 2021 Instructional Material Access and Affordability policy and aligns with the University of Idaho’s strategic plan.


Some specific University of Idaho strategic goals open practices interface with include:

    • A+ rating for scholarship transparency:
      University of Idaho was the only institution
      in the state recognized with an A+ rating in
      scholarship transparency by Universitybusiness.
    • About 52% of incoming freshmen in 2022 were
      first-generation college students.

Open Contributes to these goals by increasing the visibility of research, scholarship, and creative work achieved here at the University of Idaho. It also reduces barriers related to accessing those outputs both to our students, Idahoans, and our wider nation.

In the spring of Fall of 2022 the University of Idaho Library and the Office of Academic Initiatives convened a coalition of campus units called the Open Campus Committee (OCC).[2] This committee is also responsible for investigating how to implement a zero and low-cost course marking system at the university to align with the Idaho State Board of Education’s III.U. – Instructional Material Access and Affordability charge. Working to make your courses Open now will set you up for success when this plan is implemented in the near future, highlighting your course as a zero or low cost for students. 


  1. The Office of the Provost & Executive Vice President. (2023). Idaho Impact: Annual Report & Strategic Plan Update. University of Idaho, accessed June 29, 2023. https://www.uidaho.edu/-/media/UIdaho-Responsive/Files/provost/StrategicPlan/2023-annual-report.pdf?la=en&hash=2950533397FABC116071FA5EB81D887EE218852B
  2. Seiferle-Valencia, Marco; Henrich, Kristin;  Ropski, Beth (2023, June 16,). This Open Campus Committee is tasked with generating the reports to the State Board of Education on Implementation of Policy III.U – Instructional Material Access and Affordability. [Memorandum]


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Open at the University of Idaho Library Copyright © by Tyler Rodrigues and Marco Seiferle-Valencia is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.