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Alternative Textbooks: Grant Guidelines

Read More about Alternative Textbooks

Grant Guidelines

Full time faculty may apply for a grant to support the adoption of an alternative textbook. Grants will be awarded from OU Libraries  for up to $2,500 and are designed to help support faculty members in transitioning to open course materials.  For 2017 the OU College of Arts and Sciences will be contributing to the grants awarded to CAS faculty, dependent on the impact projects will have on students. 

Applications will be reviewed by the Alternative Textbook Initiative Task Force, and grants will be awarded based on:

  • potential for student savings, including class enrollment and cost of existing materials
  • frequency of course offering
  • impact of project on open education
  • course scheduled for summer 2017, fall 2017, or spring 2018
  • course material creation and adoption over the summer and fall of 2017
  • agreement to terms in support/agreement chart

Faculty will be notified of grant decisions no later than May 8, 2017, with half of the grant awarded in June and the remaining half in September. If the course is not being taught during Fall 2017, the second half of the grant will be awarded in the first month of the semester the course is offered.

There are no restrictions on how grant funds may be spent. Examples of how previous grantees have spent their funds include (but are not limited to) supplemental income, funding a student to help create the resources, purchasing technology to be used in the classroom, and airfare and lodging for a colleague who traveled to OU to collaborate on creating an alternative textbook.

Additional Grant Application Information

Alternatives to traditional textbooks do not themselves need to be textbooks. Often they are; however, they can also take the form of freely available videos, websites, problem sets, or anything else that could be considered an educational resource. The ideal open educational resource is freely available (no restrictions to access), free of cost, and free to be modified. Because the primary aim of the OU Libraries' Alternative Textbook Grant is to reduce the dollar amount OU students spend on classroom resources, the granting committee will consider, and has funded in the past, the use of resources that are not free of cost or free to be modified. For example, replacing a textbook with library resources – even though OU Libraries pays for those resources – lowers the cost for OU students and therefore may qualify as a textbook alternative for the purposes of this grant. 

Proposals that are awarded an Alternative Textbook grant will fall into one of three categories. These categories are as follows in order of most to least assumed implementation difficulty:

  • Those who "create" a resource may be creating it from scratch or will be heavily modifying an existing resource. 
  • Those who "adapt" or "modify" a resource will perhaps be combining several existing resources. This may consist of compiling several chapters from a few existing open resources with a few editorial modifications.
  • Those who "adopt" a resource will be using an existing resource as-is, or perhaps using significant portions of existing resources requiring minimal editorial changes.
  • Those who find and use library resources to replace their existing textbook may be assembling a reading list or an already-available ebook in the Libraries' collection.

These categories will be used by the granting committee to determine funding amounts as well as the potential for impact. Impact is calculated as the product of the number of students enrolled in a class and the cost of the traditional resource(s) being displaced by a textbook alternative on a per semester basis.  This product is thought of as what students using the alternative textbook will be saving by not having to purchase a traditional textbook. 

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