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Course Materials Adoption Policy

NUMBER: 1419
APPROVED: April 25, 2019
  1. Policy Statement and Purpose

               In accordance with the Code of Virginia §23.1-1038, it is the policy of Old Dominion University to encourage efforts to minimize the cost of course materials for students while maintaining the quality of education and academic freedom. In addition, pursuant to §23.1-1308, Old Dominion University shall implement guidelines for the adoption and use of low-cost and no-cost open educational resources in courses offered at the University.

  2. University Compliance

               To the maximum extent practicable, each institution of higher education receiving Federal financial assistance shall disclose, on the institution’s Internet course schedule and in a manner of the institution’s choosing, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and retail price information of required and recommended college textbooks and supplemental materials for each course listed in the institution’s course schedule used for preregistration and registration purposes.

               Pursuant to § 23.1-1038.3:1 of the Code of Virginia, no employee at Old Dominion University shall demand or receive any payment, loan, subscription, advance, deposit of money, services or anything, present or promised, as an inducement for requiring students to purchase a specific textbook required for coursework or instruction, with the exception that the employee may receive

    1. sample copies, instructor’s copies, or instructional material, not to be sold, and

    2. royalties or other compensation from sales of textbooks that include such instructor’s own writing or work.

               Faculty members may require course materials they have authored or co-authored for classes they teach. However, the selection of one’s own course material should be communicated to the department chair (or the Dean if the faculty member teaching the course is the chair) prior to adoption. The chair should determine that the course materials are appropriate for that class and keep a copy of the communication in the department file.

  3. Definitions

    1. Course materials - For the purpose of this policy, course materials include but are not limited to textbooks, articles, videos, streaming media, software applications, and/or media bundles designed to be used in a course to introduce students to a subject or continue basic instruction at the intermediate or advanced level. Commonly, although not always, course materials include study questions, discussion topics, study guides or exercises at the end of each chapter and may be published in subsequent editions in order to update information in previous editions. Course materials may be designed for use in undergraduate courses, graduate courses, or for use in professional programs.
    2. Open Education Resources - For the purposes of this policy, the definition of the U.S. Department of Education is followed. Open education resources (OER) are openly licensed educational resources as teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under a license that permits their free use, reuse, modification, and sharing with others.
    3. Open Education Resources Committee - The University-level committee that establishes overall policy and guidelines for implementation and expansion of OER course materials in accordance with existing University policies.

  4. Open Education Resources (OER) Adoption Practices

    1. To reduce costs and provide access to course materials, faculty and departments are encouraged to use open education materials in their courses to minimize the costs of course materials for students.

    2. Faculty are encouraged to adopt or adapt existing, or create new OER, including open textbooks.

    3. Faculty and departments who develop OER can have those resources digitally stored at Old Dominion University.

    4. The Libraries and Academic Affairs, where feasible, will provide resources and training for faculty to identify and use open education resources.

    5. A University OER Committee will be responsible for coordinating the expansion of OER materials across the University.

  5. Additional Actions to Minimize the Cost of Course Materials for Students

    1. Course materials and related class supplies shall be part of the financial aid Cost of Attendance budget used to award financial aid to students.

    2. Faculty are encouraged to utilize the ODU Libraries’ collection and electronic books, journals, image databases, audio and video materials, and other supplemental items available.

    3. Faculty are encouraged to limit their use of new edition non-OER textbooks when previous editions do not significantly differ in a substantive way. The appropriate faculty and the University Village Bookstore should ensure adequate supply of the older edition. Faculty members are also encouraged to adopt the best practice of using the same non-OER textbooks for consecutive semesters. Except in unusual circumstances, non-OER textbooks used in sequential courses (e.g., PHYS 101N and PHYS 102N) should not be changed after the first semester.

    4. Faculty are encouraged to use new technologies and packaging techniques such as e-text and bundles that reduce the cost of course materials to students.

    5. Faculty are encouraged to provide instructional materials for students to use through their respective departments and/or the ODU Libraries.

    6. No funds provided for financial aid from University Village Bookstore revenue shall be counted in the calculation for state appropriations for student financial aid.

    7. Faculty should avoid requiring students to purchase materials that will not be used for pedagogical purposes in their courses. For instance, faculty are discouraged from requiring students to purchase technology or software simply to track attendance.

    8. Courses with zero- or low-cost educational resources should be advertised to students.

  6. Responsibilities of the Faculty

    1. Faculty, departments and/or schools should provide required or assigned OER and non-OER course materials information for each particular course to the University Village Bookstore by the specified due date published by the University Village Bookstore. Exceptions will be made for faculty who are hired or assigned after the course adoption due dates. Chairs are encouraged to make the appropriate course adoption adjustments as soon as possible in these cases.

    2. Faculty members shall affirmatively confirm their intent to use each item in a bundled package when placing an adoption for such a package. If the faculty member does not intend to use all items in the bundle, he/she shall notify the University Village Bookstore of the items required, and the Bookstore shall order the individualized items when the store’s procurement is cost effective for both the institution and students and such items are made available by the publisher.

    3. Departments offering courses that have adopted OER course materials should submit an OER course material adoption report to the Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services.

    4. Instructors of courses adopting OER course materials should post the resources online prior to the beginning of the semester and notify students in the class how to access it.

  7. Responsibilities of the University Village Bookstore

    1. The University Village Bookstore Textbook Manager will communicate the requirements and due dates for course adoptions each academic session. Follow-up communications will be sent to the department chairs and the faculty if the requested materials are not available from the publisher or obtained in a timely manner.
      1. The University Village Bookstore continuously works directly with instructors and departments to collect adoptions throughout the process.

      2. The OER course material adoption report should be submitted prior to the beginning of the semester.

      3. Leading up to and after the due date passes, a course material adoption report is sent to the Assistant Vice President for Auxiliary Services and the Provost’s Office to be forwarded to the deans and chairs. This process continues through the beginning of classes each semester.

      4. Approximately one month after the start of the fall and spring semesters, the University Village Bookstore alerts the Provost’s Office about textbook submissions. The Provost’s Office sends an email to deans, chairs, and instructors informing them that it is time to submit course material orders for the next semester to the University Village Bookstore.

    2. The University Village Bookstore shall provide a convenient course materials adoption process, including a web-based method, to expedite the ordering process for non-OER course materials.

    3. The University Village Bookstore shall note courses that utilize OER course materials on the course materials website.

    4. Centralized listings of course materials required or assigned for particular courses shall be available from the University Village Bookstore’s website after the relevant instructor or academic department notifies the University Village Bookstore. The University Village Bookstore shall post the relevant information received from the faculty in a timely manner. The listings shall be in a standard format and include the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), when applicable, along with other relevant information.

  8. Responsibilities of the OER Committee

               The OER Committee reports to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs on the development and enforcement of the University's Course Materials Adoption Policy. The Provost appoints Committee members, to include representatives from the faculty, University Libraries, Information Technology Services (ITS), University Bookstore, Institutional Effectiveness and Assessment, Student Engagement and Enrollment Services (SEES) representative (and/or student), Center for High Impact Practices (CHIP) representative, Center for Learning and Teaching (CLT), Center for Faculty Development, and senior University management. The Provost will solicit recommendations from the Deans for the faculty representatives, who will constitute the majority of the committee. The OER Committee may create subcommittees and task forces as needed to carry out its responsibilities.

               Other Committee responsibilities include:

    1. Guiding updates to this policy.

    2. Developing strategies and actions, setting timelines, and determining outcomes that will advance the University’s efforts to facilitate adoption of OER.

    3. Tracking local, national, and international developments within the area of OER.

    4. Implementing and coordinating a training program available to faculty on OER. Stimulating discussion, generating supporting material and developing venues for communication and education.

    5. Seeking collaborative ventures internally and with other institutions.

    6. Exploring and identifying possible high impact initiatives that the University could either launch or support, such as pilot projects that promote creation and/or adoption of OER.

    7. Consulting broadly with individuals, groups, and units as needed.


           The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs officially interprets this policy. The President may revise or eliminate any or all parts as necessary to meet the changing needs of Old Dominion University and the Commonwealth of Virginia.


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