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Alternative Textbook Grant

The OU Libraries' Alternative Textbook Grant (ATG) incentivizes instructors to abandon costly course materials in favor of those available to their students for free.  Since 2014, the Alternative Textbook Grant has saved OU students over $4M in course material costs contributing to the North American open education movement's total savings of $1B for the same time period. OU Libraries awards up to $2,500 for successful applications, and some colleges award discretionary matching funds.  Faculty in colleges offering matching funds have the potential to receive $5,000 for their implementations of alternative course materials.  Successful applications will be categorized in one of the following ways:

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Open Educational Resources are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or are released under the terms of an open license. The nature of these open materials is such that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them. OER range from textbooks to curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video and animation. (UNESCO) –and yes, troves of these materials exist and OU Libraries wants to help you use them.

Library Resources

The term "library resources" refers to any material that OU Libraries purchases or subscribes to. Applications that propose the use of library resources do save students money by making use of materials the Libraries have already purchased; however, they do not offer the same benefits of adopting truly open materials.  Additionally, these grants are awarded not to instructors directly but applied to the purchase of multiple concurrent use licenses for the desired resource or "in kind" work of getting licensed resources into Canvas.

In Practice

What does it mean to receive an Alternative Textbook Grant? 

For students it means,

  • Having access to their required course materials on or before the first day of class without paying a dime
  • Retaining access to that material perpetually

For instructors it means,

  • Using a text that they like
    • Working with an open education professional to select an appropriate resource
    • Tailoring it to their specific needs if necessary (Yes, this is legally permissible and technically possible. –the linchpin quality of open materials)
  • Reducing the barrier to educational materials for all students
    • Publishing on the open, uninhibited, web continues a cycle of reciprocity and iterative improvement

​​The Office of Open Initiatives at OU Libraries is dedicated to assisting all grantees through each step of adopting these practices.


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