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New grant supports creative use of open resources

A new grant program at Northwestern supports faculty who use open educational resources for undergraduate courses. The grants come in two amounts: $2,500 for revising some or all of course textbooks and/or course packs with existing OER; and $5,000 for developing and publishing new OER.

OER are free course materials that can be distributed without restrictions and at no cost to students. Advocacy of OER is part of the Affordable Instructional Resources initiative, a multi-departmental effort across Northwestern to address the rising cost commercial textbooks and course packets.

Funded by the Office of the Provost and the Libraries, these grants encourage faculty to adapt and remix openly-licensed educational materials to reduce course material costs and highlight the pedagogical power of OER.

Application for grants are open through April 15. No experience with OER is necessary to apply. Completed projects will be launched in courses in the 2019-2020 academic year.

The grants for OER are only a small part of the affordable resource effort at Northwestern. AIR also encourages faculty to use library course reserves to secure expensive textbooks; to work with librarians to find digital copies or other equivalent e-resources; and to list all required course materials on the first day of registration (a help to students who must plan their expenses, as well as a requirement of the 2008 Higher Education Act).