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Open Textbook Grant Program

Rolling Application Announcement

Forsyth Library and the Open Educational Resource (OER) Committee would like to announce that the Open Textbook Grant Program is now accepting applications on a rolling basis, whenever faculty feel the need for funding. With funding provided by a generous donation from Richard and Delores Fischli through the FHSU Foundation, the Program offers grants of $500-$3,000 for faculty who want to write, adapt, or add supplementary materials to an openly licensed textbook. To learn more, please read the Program FAQ below.

We will be holding four information sessions to answer questions about the Program throughout the semester in FL133:

  • 2:30 PM on Monday, October 2
  • 2 PM on Thursday, October 19
  • 12 PM on Thursday, November 9
  • 12:30 PM on Monday, November 27

If you are unable to attend an information session or want to learn more, please contact Claire Nickerson, Learning Initiatives & OER Librarian, at x4543 or cenickerson@fhsu.edu.

Open Textbook Grant Program FAQ

What is an OER?

What is an open textbook?

What is the grant funding for?

How much funding is available?

When will the funding be dispersed?

Why does the program exist?

What can the grant funding NOT be used for?

What’s the application process?

Can I apply for multiple awards?

What’s the review process?

What do I have to do if I receive a grant?

As an open textbook author, adaptor, or supplementor, what can I expect?

How much time will I have to finish my project?

How will the final product be made available to students?

Will this count as scholarship for the purposes of merit, reappointment, promotion, and tenure?

What about copyright issues?

Who should I contact if I have questions?

What is an OER?

“OER” stands for “open educational resource.” OERs are course materials (such as textbooks, slide sets, videos, etc.) that are free and available under an open license. At a minimum, an open license allows students and instructors to make and distribute copies of the resource, activities that are not usually permitted under copyright law. An open license may also allow you to reuse material in other contexts and formats, revise it, or remix it with other content. The most common class of open license is a Creative Commons license.

What is an open textbook?

A textbook provides an overview of existing knowledge in a subject for the purpose of educating students. It is usually divided into chapters by topic and frequently has special features designed to promote systematic learning, such as vocabulary lists, diagrams, chapter overviews and summaries, review questions, and/or practice questions. A textbook, unlike a monograph, does not usually make an argument, advance new knowledge in the field, or go into great depth on specific aspects of a subject. An open textbook is a textbook that is available under an open license, as described above under “What is an OER.”

What is the grant funding for?

The grant funding may be used for three types of projects:

  1. Creating openly licensed supplementary materials to go with an existing open textbook;
  2. Revising an existing open textbook; or
  3. Writing a new open textbook.

If you have a project to propose that does not fit into one of these categories, please contact Claire Nickerson at x4543 or at cenickerson@fhsu.edu.

How much funding is available?

Grants are available in the amount of $500-$3000 depending on the complexity of the proposed project. In general, projects that involve adding supplementary materials or minor revisions will receive $500-$1000, major revision projects will receive $1001-$2000, and the authoring of new open textbooks will make you eligible for grants of $2000-$3000. You may request a specific amount of funding, but the OER Committee will make the final determination as to how much funding is offered.

When will the funding be dispersed?

The funding will be provided after the project is completed and uploaded to the FHSU Scholars Repository. If you will need funding for a specific purpose prior to project completion, please specify this in your application.

Why does the program exist?

The cost of tuition and course materials is a major concern for students. Faculty don’t have control over tuition prices, but you can control the cost of course materials. Textbook prices rise much more quickly than the rate of inflation, and many students don’t purchase textbooks even though they know it will negatively affect their academic success. Using OERs helps to reduce the cost of course materials, but high-quality OERs are not available for all subjects, and creating them takes effort. This grant is designed to help address this issue.

What can the grant funding NOT be used for?

  • Adopting commercially published materials, even when those resources may be made freely available to students;
  • Implementing an existing open textbook without some original authoring, either through revision of an open textbook (adaptation) or the creation of accompanying supplementary materials that add value to the original text;
  • The creation or adaptation of textbooks for profit or commercial publication;
  • The creation or adaptation of textbooks without the accompaniment of a Creative Commons license;
  • The development of educational resources that are not textbooks, unless they are intended to supplement an open textbook; or
  • Professional development or training.

What’s the application process?

First, attend an information session or schedule an appointment with Claire Nickerson to discuss your proposed project. If you are still interested, please ask Claire to help you schedule a presentation to the OER Committee. Your presentation should be no longer than 30 minutes, including time for questions. Please provide the following information in your presentation:

  • The name and number of your course
  • The approximate number of students who take your course annually
  • The title, publisher, and list price of the commercially published textbook or other paid resource to be replaced, if any
  • The amount of money that will be saved annually (number of students enrolled annually times money saved per student)
  • A description of your proposed project
  • A proposed completion date for the project

Can I apply for multiple awards?

You may apply for multiple awards to work on open textbooks for different courses. However, we encourage you to propose and work on one project at a time, since open textbook projects can be time consuming. You can also apply for an open textbook grant and TILT course development funding at the same time if you are working on a new course for which you want to use an open textbook.

What’s the review process?

After hearing your presentation, the OER Committee will ask questions about any aspects of your proposal that may have been unclear. The Committee will then discuss the merits of your proposal (usually immediately after your presentation, so you should receive a response quickly) based on the following rubric:

  • Applicant has clearly articulated the need for an open textbook and/or supplementary materials and has made a convincing argument that having an open textbook will have a significant impact on the course (35 points)
  • Applicant has made a convincing case for their choice of open textbook to adapt and/or supplement or for the choice to write a new open textbook (10 points).
  • Applicant has a realistic plan to write or adapt and implement the open textbook in their course (10 points)
  • Applicant has carefully considered possible copyright issues and needs for additional resources or support (10 points)

What do I have to do if I receive a grant?

If you receive a grant, you will be asked to provide a progress report to the committee every six months until the project is complete. When the project is complete, it must be implemented in the course and a PDF version must be uploaded to the FHSU Scholars Repository under a Creative Commons License. We will also ask you for a short final report on your project, including a summary of your process and the number of hours you spent working on the project.

As an open textbook author, adaptor, or supplementor, what can I expect?

If you have questions about what to expect, we are happy to put you in touch with other faculty who have received open textbook grants. There are also a number of resources available for faculty working on open textbook projects, such as the Rebus Community (a forum for open textbook projects) and BC Campus’s open textbook project guides.

How much time will I have to finish my project?

You may propose a completion date for your project during your presentation to the OER Committee. Funding will be dispersed at project completion.

How will the final product be made available to students?

In your course, you may use the final product in any format you like and on any platform you like. However, a PDF version of the final product must be uploaded to the FHSU Scholars Repository under a Creative Commons License.

Will this count as scholarship for the purposes of merit, reappointment, promotion, and tenure?

That is up to your department, but we will provide an award letter and project agreement that you can put in your portfolio.

You are responsible for following applicable copyright laws. However, if you have any questions about possible copyright and licensing issues related to authoring, revising, or remixing open textbooks, the library offers copyright consultations and will be happy to advise you.

Who should I contact if I have questions?

Please contact Claire Nickerson, Learning Initiatives & OER Librarian, at x4543 or cenickerson@fhsu.edu.

Where can I find open textbooks?

There is a list of recommended open textbook repositories on Forsyth Library’s OER Research Guide.

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Other Ways to Get Involved

Request a Consultation

Claire Nickerson (cenickerson@fhsu.edu; 785.628.4543), the Learning Initiatives and OER Librarian, takes search requests for OERs to save faculty time. If you would like her to search for OERs for your course, please email her a description of what types of materials you are looking for along with a recent syllabus, course topics list, or table of contents from your textbook. Claire will be happy to meet with you or simply send you back an annotated list of OERs in your subject area (please allow 1-2 weeks).  

Claire can also answer questions about Creative Commons licensing, copyright, free-to-use media, and OER creation.

Get Your Feet Wet

You may not be comfortable replacing all of your course materials with OERs. Or there may not be comprehensive OERs, such as open textbooks, available for your subject area yet. That's okay! Consider getting your feet wet by supplementing your existing curriculum with OERs or replacing just a little bit of commercially published material. You might be surprised at what's available. There are openly licensed videos, open podcasts, open lesson plans, games, interactive modules, and more. Simply replacing a commercially published textbook with an open textbook isn't your only option.

Join an OER Organization

If you are interested in learning more about or promoting OERs, there are a number of organizations you can get involved with:

 

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