May 16, 2022

OER at Penn State: World Campus Bachelor’s Program Implements Cost-Free Materials in Core Courses”

From Penn State University:

An online bachelor’s degree program at Penn State has adopted free, open-source materials for its courses to help students save on their college costs.

The bachelor of science in agribusiness management is the first degree program offered online at Penn State to exclusively use cost-free open-education resources, or OER, in its core courses, which are abbreviated AGBM in the University’s course scheduling system.

The approximately 50 students enrolled in the major will not have to pay for textbooks, course packets, case studies or other course materials for the agribusiness management courses. The students can access the open resources, which the program faculty have selected from high-quality sources, through Canvas, the University’s learning management system.


Faculty from the college and a member of the Penn State World Campus Learning Design team collaborated to revise the program’s eight core courses and implement open-source materials. The spring 2022 semester is the first semester the OER materials were in use.

Rachel Perry, an instructional designer for World Campus, said the agribusiness management major was an ideal program to implement an all-OER approach because of its size. She was able to work with the faculty to identify or develop cost-free materials quickly.

For instance, instructor Bill Rossman replaced a $100 textbook in the course AGBM 101 Economic Principles of Agribusiness Decision Making with a free online textbook accessible through Pressbooks, an open-source course management system. He received a stipend through the Penn State Affordable Course Transformation initiative to customize the resource for his course.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.