Open Textbook Grants

The open textbook grant initiative provides a financial incentive for Western Michigan University faculty and instructors to switch from traditional expensive textbooks to high-quality, free open textbooks.

Background

Colleges and universities have developed open textbooks and course content in response to concerns about the affordability of traditional textbooks. Textbook prices have risen 1,041% since 1977, higher than medical costs and the Consumer Price Index.

Many students who can’t afford their textbooks have found a simple, but concerning solution—they don’t buy them. According to research sponsored by Florida Virtual Campus in 2018, 64% of students did not purchase a required textbook. In addition, 42% of students took fewer courses and 22% dropped a course due to textbook costs. Open textbooks and course content provide an alternative to expensive textbooks.

Adoption Grant

Adoption Grant applications are now closed.

The Adoption Grant encourages WMU faculty and instructors to adopt an open textbook or open course content. Adopting an open educational resource not only provides cost savings to students but also allows the customization of content to meet your students' learning needs. It can also be specifically tailored to your teaching style and course development needs.

Applicants must be teaching a spring, summer or fall 2023 course to be eligible.

A maximum of ten $1,000 grants will be awarded to faculty and instructors. Grant applications for undergraduate courses with high enrollment will receive priority consideration. 

Proposals due: Nov. 18, 2022
Decision announced by: Dec. 9, 2022

  • Application process

    Submit an application for the adoption grant which demonstrates how a textbook that students were previously required to purchase will be replaced with an openly licensed resource or combination of openly licensed resources and library options, such as course reserves or use of library-provided ebooks.

    Applicants must be teaching a spring, summer or fall 2023 course to be eligible.

  • Participation requirements

    If selected, you must commit to the following:

    1. Meet with the Scholarly Communications Librarian
    2. Provide a syllabus for the course(s) for which you are adopting an open educational resource in lieu of a commercial textbook.
    3. Complete a survey on your experience after teaching the class using the open resource.
    4. Ask your students to complete an optional survey about their experience with OER.
  • Eligible expenses and disbursement of funds

    The use of funds is entirely at the discretion of the grant recipient.

    Funds will be disbursed upon completion of the project. Funds can be paid to individuals (taxed) or deposited into research accounts which must be used according to the WMU Research Acceleration Program (WRAP) policy.

  • Criteria for evaluating proposals

    Applications will be evaluated based on cost savings, as well as the number of students potentially impacted.

    Grant applications for undergraduate courses with high enrollment will receive priority consideration.

  • May 2022 Adoption Grant recipients
    • Dr. Jennifer Bott, MGMT 2500 – Organizational Behavior
    • Kyle Jehnzen, AVS 3220 – Global Navigational and International Flight Planning
    • Kyle Jehnzen and Jessica Birnbaum, AVS 2120 – Aviation Meteorology
    • Dr. Robert Makin, ECE 3800 – Probabilistic Methods of Signal and System Analysis
    • Dr. Tiffany Schriever, BIOS 5515 – Wetland Ecology
    • Dr. Wuwei Shen, CS 4610 – Reusable Software Architectures
    • Dr. Li Yang, GEOG 3100 – Introduction to Tourism
    • Dr. Zee-Sun Yun, FCS 2050 – Topics in Family and Consumer Sciences, Digital Retailing (Spring 2023) and FCS 3290 – Promotion in the Merchandising Environment (Fall 2022)

Creation Grant

Creation Grant applications are now closed.

The Creation Grant supports WMU faculty and instructors in the creation of an original, openly licensed textbook. Creating an open educational resource not only provides your students with high-quality learning content but it helps students everywhere. Developing resources with this level of reach and impact can be a valuable addition to your professional profile.

Recipients must complete the open textbook creation project within 18 months of the announcement of the award.

A maximum of two $5,000 grants will be awarded. The grant amount is awarded per project. If there are multiple authors for one open textbook, the grant amount is divided between them.

Proposals due: Nov. 18, 2022
Decision announced by: Dec. 9, 2022

  • Application process

    Submit an application for the creation grant which articulates your plan to develop an openly licensed book and any supplemental materials for an existing course at WMU, including the following: 

    1. Briefly describe your expertise in the specific subject area of the proposed open textbook. Also, describe your experience in teaching the course for which you are creating the OER or open text. 
    2. Explain how your OER creation will impact student success, including potential financial savings for students. 
    3. Project description and goals: Provide a detailed description of your project, including information about the course and why OER may be appropriate to use. 
    4. Justification for creating a new OER: Demonstrate that quality OER are not currently available to meet learning objectives. Attach additional documentation as needed. Examples include searches in OER repositories, evidence of review of existing OER materials, etc.  
    5. Provide an accessibility statement: how will the new OER be accessible for students with disabilities.  
    6. Articulate an assessment plan of the impact and effectiveness of the OER on student learning 
    7. Provide a sustainability plan after the end of the project.  
    8. Provide a project timeline. The project should be completed within 18 months of the announcement of the award.  
    9. Inclusion of a statement of support from the department chair is strongly encouraged. The statement should address other courses for which the open text could potentially be used, department curricular plans for the subject matter of the OER, the particular qualifications of the author(s) on the subject matter, or any other relevant information.
  • Participation requirements

    If selected, you must commit to the following:

    1. Meet with the Scholarly Communications Librarian to go over project plans.
    2. Plan to implement the resource in class for at least two semesters.
    3. Submit a mid-progress report and final report.
    4. Publish the OER with a Creative Commons license.
    5. House the OER in WMU’s institutional repository, ScholarWorks.
    6. Satisfy the requirements for inclusion in the Open Textbook Library and complete the submission process.
    7. Oversight and submission of a student survey of experience with the resource.
    8. Share experience and outcomes for development for future OER creation.
  • Eligible expenses and disbursement of funds

    The grant program is intended to compensate awardees for the time invested in writing, creating and developing a new open text, as well as supplementary materials (such as test banks, homework assignments and laboratory manuals). Funds may also be used to purchase necessary software for the project or to pay for outside consultation, research assistance, etc.

    Funds will be disbursed upon completion of the project unless applicants make a case for needing funds for expenses to be incurred during the development process. Funds can be paid to individuals (taxed) or deposited into research accounts which must be used according to the WMU Research Acceleration Program (WRAP) policy.

  • Criteria for evaluating proposals

    Proposals will be evaluated using a rubric that balances the following criteria:

    Objectives

    The proposals objectives are clearly articulated and well planned. The rationale for approaching the project is clear and the applicant has reflected on the work necessary to make the project a success.

    Impact

    The proposal clearly and convincingly articulates how their open text will significantly impact individual courses, address disciplinary gaps in open content, and/or impact student learning

    Cost savings

    The combination of previous textbook costs, student enrollment, frequency of the course offered means that the OER is likely to create extensive cost savings for students.

    Feasibility and sustainability

    The proposal’s timeline is feasible and clearly aligns with the work required to complete the proposed project. Proposal provides a clear plan for revising and updating content, both minor and major revisions.

    Inclusiveness and cultural relevance

    The proposal clearly demonstrates a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion through an exploration of the following: including diverse perspectives, serving populations disproportionately affected by textbook costs, and/or making the OER accessible for all students.

    Accessibility

    The proposal addresses principles of Universal Design, user experience and accessibility for students with disabilities.

    Assessment

    The assessment plan addresses how both the OERs quality and student learning outcomes will be addressed

    Letters of support

    The application includes strong letters of support from the department chair or similar person with knowledge of the proposed project.  

  • May 2022 Creation Grant recipients
    • Dr. Leah Omilion-Hodges and Dr. Annette Hamel, COMM 3350 – Leadership Communication
    • Dr. Mercedes Tubino-Blanco, SPAN 2000 – Intermediate Spanish and SPAN 2010 – Intermediate Spanish II

Questions about the grants?

  • Ask Michele Behr

    Our scholarly communications and open educational resources librarian is here to answer any questions you might have about either open textbook grant.

    Email Michele

Learn more about OER

Check out our site to learn what OER is, where to find it, how to adapt and create it, and more.