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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Alternative Textbook Grant?

The Alternative Textbook Grant is an initiative of OU Libraries. Its primary goal is to compensate instructors for the work required to abandon costly, course materials in favor of open educational resources or other course materials free to students. The primary metric of success for this initiative is a reduction in what students spend on course materials.  The grant, which was started in 2014, accepts applications annually opening its call for applications in spring semester each year.

How much funding will successful applicants receive?

OU Libraries does not award more than $2,500 per successful application; some colleges supplement this amount for their participating faculty.

What can the funding be spent on?

Alternative Textbook Grant funding is intended to be supplemental income and there are no restrictions on how they can be used. Some grantees have used the award money for creative purposes including:

  • Time of student assistant to help with OER adoption
  • The purchase of a classroom set of electronic tablets
  • Paying a third party for editing or other services

Do I need to submit a budget with my application?

No! Since you may spend the money however you wish, there is no need to submit a planned budget for how you will use the funding. You are welcome to include your ideas in your application, if you choose.

I'm not faculty, can I apply for a grant?

Any applicants who do not have faculty status (graduate teaching assistants, staff, etc.) may apply for the grant approval from their department chair, associate dean, or equivalent.

Who else has received an Alternative Textbook Grant?

You can see a list of all previous grant recipients HERE.

Where can I find already existing OER?

A great place to start is the Open Education Network’s Open Textbook Library. This library contains over 1400 college level textbooks that are openly licensed. Another good resource to browse is OER Commons, which has openly licensed resources for all education levels and in formats outside of full textbooks. There are also two OER search engines you can use, Mason Metafinder and OASIS. These tools search multiple libraries of open content simultaneously.

What about copyright?

OER authors retain full copyright of the resources they create. In order to be considered OER a resource must have an open license. We require that all grant recipients license their original content under a Creative Commons (CC) or other open license that allows for derivatives. Please see our Copyright and Licensing guide for more information.

How do I register my work with a Creative Commons license?

You don't. To apply the terms of a CC license to a work, simply choose a license using this wizard and insert its icon and its declaration into your work where you would typically include "All Rights Reserved" or "©". You'll find an example declaration at the bottom of this page.

Where can I learn more about OER?

Please see our Open Educational Resources guide for more information about OER or contact OER librarian, Morgan Briles

I’m planning on changing from a textbook students have to buy to scholarly journal articles from library databases. Does that qualify under this grant, even if I’m not using a book?

YES! As long as the course materials are free to students it can be considered for this grant.

How is this different from course reserves?

OU Libraries course reserves program involves loaning physical copies of assigned textbooks to students for short periods of time (currently 4 hours). Since there are time limits and a limited number of physical copies, course reserves are not a viable solution for all students in a given class.

What is an unlimited user licensed ebook?

This means that OU Libraries has a copy of this ebook that can be used by many authorized users at a time, which is ideal for course materials. Some publishers only allow one user to access an ebook at a time, similar to physical books. Like physical course reserves, assigning an ebook that can only be used by one student at a time isn't a viable solution for an entire class. If an ebook is available with unlimited access, there will be a note on the item information. Additionally, we our library search has an "unlimited access ebooks" filter that can be used to search for  those resources.

What if an ebook that I want to use does not have unlimited access?

Please let us know! Our acquisitions team can see if it's possible to get an unlimited access license for the ebook. Keep in mind whether this option is available is dependent on the publisher.



All original content on this page is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.  All linked content maintains its respective license.