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Illinois Course Materials Survey: Student Perspective


The Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI) and its Open Educational Resources Committee developed the “Illinois Course Materials Survey: Student Perspective” to help identify Illinois students’ needs regarding affordable course materials and interest in Open Educational Resources or other affordable course material options.

This survey specifically aims to answer the following research questions:

  1. How much did students spend on course materials during the current term?
  2. How are students affected by the cost of college course materials?
  3. Which demographics of Illinois college students are most impacted by the cost of course materials?
  4. What are students’ interest in and experiences with Open Educational Resources (OER)?
  5. What are students’ interest in and experiences with other affordable material options?
  6. Do students have clear preferences for the formats and features of course materials?

This data will help us identify future steps CARLI can take to better support Illinois students’ required course material needs including continued support for the creation of Open Educational Resources and advocacy for recurring funding. It will also benefit individual institutions by identifying answers to the research questions at the institution level. Institutional aggregated data may be requested by an institution at . CARLI will not make individual institution data publicly available.

This survey is modeled from other statewide course material surveys including the Florida Virtual Campus (FLVC) and the Virginia Academic Library Consortium (VIVA) as well as CARLI-member surveys.

Distributing to Students

This survey has been approved with exempt determination category Exempt 2(ii) by the University of Illinois’ Office for the Protection of Research Subjects to be shared with students at not-for-profit institutions of higher education in Illinois. With this approval, CARLI requests librarians at not-for-profit institutions of higher education forward the survey to their students through local campus channels. Distributing emails to students may look different for all institutions and may require approval. Please note that institutions will be distributing this survey, not recreating it. If a campus approval is required to distribute the survey at your institution, start as soon as possible on your approval request. 

Messaging: An informal student outreach message or a formal student outreach message are available for use when distributing this survey to students. 

CARLI members have successfully reached students through a combination of approaches: direct emails to students, sharing of the survey via the campus learning management system, emails to faculty and deans notifying them of the survey, and reaching out to other campus groups.

Institutions may distribute the live survey in more than one academic term, between April 5, 2023-December 31, 2023. 

Students may complete the survey for each enrolled term in 2023.

CARLI staff will be collecting the data in a secure system, RedCap, approved by the University of Illinois’ Institutional Review Board.

All student responses will be anonymous and aggregated together for analysis at the state and institution levels.

Student questions are all optional with the exception of four questions that ask students to: consent to participate, select an academic term, identify if they were 18 years of age or older when the term began, and indicate their institution name. 

Questions about the survey can be sent to or . Questions for the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Office regarding IRB approval of this survey can be directed to the Office for the Protection of Research Subjects at 217-333-2670 or .

Survey Instrument

The 2023 "Illinois Course Materials Survey: Student Perspective" closed on December 31, 2023. We greatly appreciate the 4733 student participants and the staff at 36 Illinois non-for-profit institutions who devoted their time and effort to distribute this survey. A report on the statewide results will be shared in mid-February, 2024. Please save the date, March 5, 2024, and join us for the webinar "Key Findings and Student Reflections from the 'Illinois Course Materials Survey: Student Perspective' ."

Questions included in the 2023 survey are available in this offline version


January 2024: Data review begins.

February 2, 2024: Requested institution-specific data is shared with approved staff at participating institutions.

Late February, 2024: A report on the statewide aggregated data will be shared.

March 5, 2024: Join us for the webinar "Key Findings and Student Reflections from the 'Illinois Course Materials Survey: Student Perspective' " from 10:00-11:30 a.m. Central Time.