Skip to main content

Learning Materials Access and Affordability Task Force

Purpose 

The Learning Materials Access and Affordability Task Force brings together key stakeholders from across Boise State University campus to devise and implement the State Board of Education (SBOE) required plan for meeting the work of affordability, access, accessibility, and pedagogical innovation of instructional materials to further student success. This Task Force will plan for the future of this work at Boise State in alignment with the university’s goal to Improve Educational Access and Student Success. This Task Force will place a specific emphasis on open educational resources (OER). 

Please contact Shannon Smith, Open Educational Resources Librarian and Task Force lead with questions or feedback.

Membership

Membership List

Specific goals of the task force include, but are not limited to:

    • Development of a university plan in response to the SBOE Instructional Materials Access and Affordability policy, including a determination of the focus of affordable learning materials for campus, consideration of existing resources, and identification of necessary additional resources.  
    • Seek feedback from campus stakeholders on the plan prior to submission to SBOE in June 2022.
    • Devise an assessment strategy for the plan to ensure momentum and continuity for the implementation of the plan. 

Term

Through June 2022, with possible extension dependent upon feedback from SBOE.

Operations

It is anticipated the Task Force will meet once a month.

The Task Force will ensure transparency of their progress and share updates via campus communication and marketing channels. 

The Task Force will share updates and seek guidance when needed from their advisory liaison to the Provost’s Office.

Context 

After input from faculty senate representatives from around the state of Idaho, SBOE passed Policy III. U, Instructional Material Access and Affordability over summer of 2021. This policy asks postsecondary institutions to develop a plan in support of access and affordability of learning materials. Plans are to be submitted to the Board office for feedback by June 1, 2022. 

Policy III. U. asks that plans address the following elements: 

    • Resources and support to help faculty ensure all instructional materials are relevant and accessible for all students, especially those who require learning accommodations or additional modes of delivery (e.g. a print version of a digital textbook, internet access, etc.).
    • Policies and/or strategies that minimize the cost of instructional materials for students while maintaining the quality of education, the academic freedom and responsibility of faculty and students, and the recognition that the average cost of instructional materials is higher in certain disciplines, and some disciplines require higher cost materials which are used over multiple terms or throughout an entire program. 
    • Professional development opportunities for faculty and staff related to the discovery, adoption, and use of OER and other affordable instructional materials. 
    • Strategies to support faculty adoption, adaption, and/or use of OER and other affordable instructional materials.
    • Programs, incentive structures, or other strategies to encourage and support faculty to publicly share OER developed for their own courses.
    • Course marking processes at the time of course schedule releases that indicate the cost of instructional materials in course sections that are reliably zero cost or very low cost, as defined in this policy.
    • Course marking processes at the time of course schedule releases that indicate course sections that reliably require the purchase of, including an automatic charge for, any access codes for instructional materials.
    • Strategies with measurable goals for improving and using readily available and relevant OER or other very low cost instructional materials in common indexed courses as articulated in Board Policy III.N.6.b, including dual credit courses.  

Although OERs are a component of the required plans, the policy addresses affordability of learning materials in a broader sense. In order to move a plan forward for Boise State in a thoughtful and timely manner, it will need to include voices from diverse campus stakeholders. 

Work with and around OER have been part of the campus community in various ways since approximately 2015. Much of this work has been grassroots in nature and scattered across various units on campus. To capture institutional knowledge and include those perspectives, the Task Force membership primarily represents stakeholders identified as already committed to the work of furthering student success through affordability and accessibility of learning materials.