A Milestone Year for OER Designed to Strengthen Learning 

Open Education innovator Lumen Learning crosses 100K mark for students using supported OER in a single term 

Portland, Ore. (August 21, 2018) – Now entering its sixth back-to-school season, Lumen Learning today announced it crossed a milestone in June 2018 with over 100,000 students using its supported OER course materials in a single term. With open educational resources (OER) in use at approximately half of all U.S. colleges and universities this fall, a growing number of institutions, faculty, and students are opting for low-cost services like Lumen’s, which are aimed at making OER adoption simple, reliable, and effective. 

“For Lumen, this milestone represents a massive validation of the change we’re driving with openly-licensed learning materials,” said Kim Thanos, CEO of Lumen Learning. “We develop OER course materials to be highly effective for learning, affordable and easy to access for students, and simple to adopt for time-crunched faculty members. As we take this combination to colleges and universities, we’re seeing remarkable results.”

A spring term College Success course at Ivy Tech Community College carried Lumen over the threshold of supporting 100,000 students in a single term. To mark the occasion, Lumen Learning sent each of the 30 students in the College Success course a check for $45, the amount each student saved because their instructor selected OER course materials instead of a traditional textbook. 

“Many of our students face some type of financial hardship, and so OER can make a huge difference in their ability to persevere with their educational goals,” said Sara Proffitt, Ivy Tech Community College’s director of instructional design services. “OER makes it possible for every student to access the materials they need to be successful from the first day of class.” 

Ivy Tech began working with the Lumen team in 2015 on a multi-year project to develop OER course materials as an approved alternative for many general education courses. Last year, OER programs impacted over Ivy Tech 20,000 students, resulting in millions of dollars in textbook cost savings. In addition, the College’s efficacy research shows evidence of improved student outcomes in OER courses. Ivy Tech students using OER are more likely to receive a C or better, and they are slightly less likely to drop classes, as compared to students in course sections that do not use OER.

According to Paula Birt, Statewide Director of Associate Accelerated Program (ASAP) & Director of K-12 Initiatives  for Ivy Tech Community College, “We expect a lot from our faculty, and asking them to adopt OER is like asking them to juggle one more ball. Our partnership with Lumen makes OER easy to adopt and customize with a focus on the success of Ivy Tech students. When faculty members know they can reach out to Lumen for guidance and support, it helps them say yes to OER.”

Looking ahead, the outlook for Lumen’s growth remains strong. Its catalog offers OER course materials to replace expensive textbooks in 50+ high enrollment college courses. Since the company was founded in 2012, Lumen has doubled student enrollments each fall, and Thanos projects a similar pattern for 2018. More institutions are using Lumen for more classes: Fall 2018 has seen a 50% increase in the number of institutions enrolling 1,000 or more students in Lumen-supported course sections. 

Thanos asserts, “We are growing because educators across the country are expecting more from OER course materials: more affordable choices, more effective content and learning tools, more support to help students and faculty succeed, and more opportunity to strengthen learning through ongoing improvements to OER content.”

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 200 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

Media Contact

Julie Curtis, VP Strategy & Communication

Lumen Learning

+1.503.840.5569  |