Pilot Program to save students $179K in first year

Posted May 23, 2019 by Lauren McKeen

The newly launched Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant program was designed to support faculty who are interested in exploring the use of OER in undergraduate courses.

OER are free teaching materials that are licensed for unrestricted distribution and modification to fit the course-specific needs of instructors. Some examples of OER include textbooks, websites, presentations, syllabi, and lesson plans. While most OER start in digital format, files can be converted so faculty and students can print their materials at home or through a printing service. OER support is part of the Affordable Instructional Resources (AIR) initiative, a multi-departmental effort across Northwestern to address the impact of rising cost commercial textbooks and course packets.

The grants were funded by the Office of the Provost and the Libraries at two levels: $2,500 for replacing a textbook with OER; and $5,000 for developing and publishing new OER for an academic field.

Following a six week application window, seven project proposals were selected from faculty across departments in the sciences, social sciences, and languages.

$2,500 for replacing a textbook or course materials with OER

$5,000 for creating and publishing new OER

Work on the submitted projects will begin over the summer, with redesigned courses scheduled to launch in the 2019/2020 academic year. It is expected that 998 students will save a total of $179,610 in the first year.

Although the grant opportunity is now closed, faculty interested in using or developing Open Educational Resources are encouraged to contact Chris Diaz, Digital Publishing Librarian, or Lauren McKeen, Librarian & Web Manager, for consultation and support.