College Math Departments Scale Up with Low-cost OER Courseware, Putting Affordability First

Institutions use OER-based Lumen OHM on a wide scale to improve affordability, access, and student success

Portland, Ore. (March 21, 2018) – According to Lumen Learning, 2018-2019 will be a record year for college math departments moving away from traditional publishers’ expensive online textbook packages and towards Lumen OHM, a math homework solution designed using open educational resources (OER). Affordability and ease of migration are primary drivers of this exodus. Students often save $100 or more compared to pricier offerings from Pearson and Cengage. Faculty can set up a ready-to-teach course in minutes, complete with robust learning management system (LMS) integration and algorithmic problem generation. Lumen OHM makes it simple to shift away from products many students can’t afford or access.   

“Lumen OHM demonstrates how open educational resources are really coming of age,” said Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning. “With investments in technology, faculty support, the user experience, and other updates that meet our community’s needs, we’re elevating OER to be a full-featured, professionally-supported solution math departments can rely on.”

Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) was the first college to migrate to Lumen OHM when it became available in 2017. SLCC has been at the forefront of using OER for math since it began collaborating with Lumen in 2014. Recently the College completed the OER redesign of all courses in the math sequence pathways students follow to meet Utah’s state Quantitative Literacy (QL) requirement for non-STEM majors.

Female professor writing on a whiteboard, next to a screen projection of instructional materials for a math class.

Salt Lake Community College Associate Professor Brenda Gardner develops and teaches math courses with open educational resources using Lumen OHM.

“From fall 2016 to fall 2017, we saw a 22% increase in Quantitative Literacy pathway completion, after putting OER options in place for all pathway courses,” said Suzanne Mozdy, associate dean of mathematics at Salt Lake Community College. “With over 6,400 students enrolled in our primary Quantitative Literacy pathway last fall, that 22% represents a large number. Our students can go through the entire Quantitative Literacy path with no textbook cost, because it is open.”

During fall 2017, over 80% of SLCC’s 9,000 total math students were enrolled in OER courses. Mozdy credits OER with improving learning. “Starting on day one, they’re using Lumen OHM to do math, and we see them carry that standard through the rest of the semester.”

Southeast Missouri State University is a relative newcomer to OER. In 2017, campus leaders tasked faculty with exploring OER alternatives, to ensure they are using the best possible instructional materials to maximize student learning at a reasonable price. Lumen OHM provided a strong fit for the University’s needs.

“Our faculty are experts at teaching these courses, and we know what our students need,” said Dr. Tammy Randolph, Southeast Missouri State University’s interim dean of the College of Science, Technology and Agriculture. “Lumen tools give us the opportunity to organize instructional materials, choose homework problems, and have checks and balances to monitor student progress. Partnering with Lumen also gives us instructional support from a team that understands how mathematics classes work and what good pedagogy looks like.”

The Department of Mathematics plans to use Lumen OHM starting Fall 2018 for 12 courses and a math placement exam. The partnership between Lumen and Southeast Bookstore manager, Follett, has helped facilitate a smooth adoption process and timely faculty support.

“Affordability is a serious issue for many of our students, and the University is committed to addressing that problem,” said Dr. Dan Daly, interim chairperson and associate professor of mathematics at Southeast Missouri State University. “Fortunately, with Lumen OHM we don’t have to compromise on quality. Our faculty members get a simple start-up process and essential tools like machine grading, automatic grade return, and a huge question bank from which to draw. Students get unlimited practice to learn the math. We’re excited about how this change removes barriers for students progressing towards graduation.”

Colleges and universities across the U.S. use Lumen OHM to support a variety of math subjects, from Arithmetic for College Students through Introductory Statistics, College Algebra, and Calculus. Lumen’s active roadmap delivers regular updates and enhancements in response to priorities identified by a diverse list of 30+ colleges and universities. Customers include small, mid-size, and large institutions like Odessa College (TX), Mercy College (NY), and Santa Ana College (CA) respectively, as well as large higher education systems such as the State University of New York (SUNY) and the Virginia Community College System (VCCS).

“We’re looking to open educational resources and solutions like Lumen OHM to help us support and scale innovation in teaching and learning across the SUNY system,” said Mark McBride, library senior strategist at the Office of Library and Information Services for the State University of New York (SUNY). “We know affordable, open resources improve access, and they can also help our faculty deliver the highest caliber of learning experience. In the end, that’s what matters for our students.”

About Lumen OHM

Lumen Online Homework Manager (OHM) is a flexible math homework engine with instructional text and video, algorithmically-generated assessments, seamless LMS integration, machine grading, and immediate feedback for students. Standard pricing is $25 per student enrolled in courses using Lumen OHM. Some institutions cover this Lumen OHM support fee so there is no direct cost to students, while others have students pay this cost in lieu of buying a traditional textbook. Visit our math catalog, learn more about Lumen OHM and request a demo or free trial at

About Lumen Learning

Lumen Learning uses open educational resources (OER) to provide affordable course materials that improve learning and replace expensive textbooks in high-enrollment college courses. Adding timely updates, learning design, and technical support to OER, Lumen makes the transition to open content simple, reliable, and effective for instructors and students. Lumen OER courseware includes Waymaker personalized learning course materials, OHM online homework system for math and other quantitative subjects, and Candela courses providing simple eTextbook replacement. Over 150 colleges and universities across the U.S. use Lumen-supported digital courseware for in-person, online, and blended courses. Materials created by Lumen are published under Creative Commons Attribution licenses and contributed back to the education community. Learn more at, and visit our course catalog at

Download the full announcement


Media Contact

Julie Curtis, VP Strategy & Communication

Lumen Learning

+1.503.840.5569 |