UMass Library Open Education Initiative
Now in its eighth cycle, the Open Education Initiative has generated a total savings of over $1.6 million for students in classes that utilize open educational resources or free library material. The Library partners with the Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD), Academic Innovation, and Provost's Office to support our efforts.
The Open Education Initiative at UMass Amherst aims to:
- Encourage the development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks by supporting the adoption, adaptation, or creation of Open Educational Resources (OER) .
- Provide support to faculty to implement these approaches.
- Lower the cost of college for students in order to contribute to their retention, progression, and graduation.
- Encourage faculty to engage in new pedagogical models for classroom instruction.
The high cost of commercial print textbooks is a major concern for both students and their parents. Data shows that the cost of textbooks affects the academic choices and success of students. If textbooks are prohibitively expensive, students will: find illegal PDFs online, not purchase them, buy an outdated edition, or not acquire at all. With the increasing use of adaptive learning systems available directly from commercial publishers via access codes, the used, rental, sharing, and library options that have provided alternatives for students, are effectively eliminated. To address these concerns, the Provost’s Office and the UMass Amherst Libraries launched the Open Education Initiative in the Spring of 2011. The Open Education Initiative is a faculty incentive program that encourages the use of existing openly-licensed, low-cost, or free information resources to support our students’ learning.
Grants will be given in one of three categories with priority given to the projects that utilize or create the most openly licensed materials.
Open Educational Resources
Proposals in this category must replace an existing textbook with a no, or low-cost (< $50), alternative. Priority will be given to proposals that utilize existing or create new openly licensed materials (e.g. Creative Commons, GNU General Public License, Public Domain, etc.) and that impact the largest amount of students.
Free or Low Cost Educational Resources
Proposals that replace commercial textbooks or learning materials with free licensed library materials (e.g. articles found in LexisNexis, streaming video from Kanopy, eBooks, etc.) or free web content (e.g. blog posts, news articles, think pieces, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc.) will be considered but given less priority, as the library has an existing infrastructure to support the use of these materials (e.g. reserves, interlibrary loan, subject specialists, etc.).
Proposals in this category use a mixture of the two categories above.
Four levels of funding are available based on the scale of the project proposed:
- Adopt - Redesign course to incorporate an existing open textbook or open course content. $500. Examples: adopt an OpenStax textbook with no modifications, find and incorporate Khan Academy or Ted Talk videos, etc.
- Adapt - Combine or remix new or existing openly licensed content to bridge gaps in available resources. Range: $1500-$2500. Examples: compile an early American Literature book using public domain works, take several chapters from an OpenStax textbook and re-write them or combine them with lecture notes developed for your class, create/implement interactive course-authoring tools (adaptive learning, quizzes, etc.) or low-cost homework platforms to accompany affordable learning materials, etc.
- Create - Create a new open educational resource when there are currently no sufficient OER available to meet your learning objectives. $10,000. Examples: Author a new openly licensed textbook, collaborate with students on the creation of a new textbook
- Other – Propose a project that does not fall within any of these categories.
Following the selection of your project, support will be provided by the UMass Libraries, Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD), and Instructional Technology. These entities will help with technical, logistical, or pedagogical issues that arise in the course of finding/creating your materials. Library Subject specialists, eReserves, and Scholarly Communication personnel will be available to support the development of your materials. The Library has recently partnered with the Open Textbook Network & Rebus Foundation to support the creation of open textbooks using the Pressbooks publishing platform.
Funding & Timeline
Grant winners will be announced in May of 2017 and expected to implement their projects in fall 2017 or winter/spring/summer 2018 semesters. 50% of grant funds will be released shortly after the announcement. The remaining 50% will be awarded following the completion of a grant report at the end of the first semester of implementation. Note: we will consider extenuating circumstances that require all the funds to be released at once.
Grantees will be required to:
- Write a final grant report that includes a narrative summarizing the challenges and accomplishments of your experience creating/finding/using the materials, the impact on your teaching, the impact on students and their performance, and lessons learned.
- Circulate a qualitative and quantitative survey to all of your students at the end of the first semester you utilize the materials.
- Attend a kickoff meeting where we will answer questions, discuss open licensing and copyright, and outline technological, pedagogical, and research support.
- Provide a copy of the revised syllabus or course outline used for the class.
- Participate in long range assessments of the Open Education Initiative.
- Deposit any openly licensed material created into an appropriate open repository (e.g. Scholarworks, Open Textbook Library, Merlot, etc.)
Presentation for the information session for the OEI grant applicants in the Spring of 2016. Includes an overview of OER, copyright and Creative Commons, and the OEI grant parameters. Useful for those running a workshop or for people teaching with open education resources.
This is a presentation made to the Faculty Senate Meeting at the University of Massachusetts Amherst regarding the Open Education Initiative. It includes an overview of the why and how of the OEI grant, some examples, and its successes/challenges. Useful for those talking to administrators about the open education movement.
Read the ARL Report on our program.
Spring 2016 Open Education Initiative
Winners of the Spring 2016 grants are below
|Faculty Name||Department/Class||Proposed Project|
|Ysaaca Axelrod||Education/Human Development||Find readings/video on the web that cover material in current textbook.|
|John Brigham||Political Science/Intro. to Constitutional law||Replace textbook with free Government material from Supreme Court website, Wikipedia, Oyez, Library of Congress and National Constitution Center|
|Thomas St. Laurent||Kinesiology/Introduction to Kinesiology||Utilize chapters, articles, and studies that give overviews of basic contents in lieu of textbook.|
|Shubha Tewari||Physics: Electricity and Magnetism, Optics, Modern Physics||Edit and organize existing video content, film and edit new video content, and organize test questions for video content.|
|Brokk Toggerson||Physics: Into. Physics I||Organize existing free resources in a central location to improve navigation for students and use Perusall, a new reading enhancement tool.|
|Daniel Wang||Astronomy/Exploring the Universe||Evaluate existing available open textbooks and modify them. Revise lecture slides, quizzes, homework, reading assignments, and exams.|
|Jonathan Wynn||Sociology/Intro. to Sociology||Identify open textbooks and develop a digital archive where materials can be housed online.|
Fall 2015 Open Education Initiative
Winners of the Fall 2015 grants are below, along with their proposed projects.
|Faculty Name||Department/Class||Proposed Project|
|Philippe Baillargeon||French: Intermediate French I and II||Use public domain and library resources as well as free online newspapers.|
|Melba Jensen||English: American Literature to 1865 & others||Create eBook with public domain literature, use library articles, & have students create knowledge base.|
|Julia Choi||Kinesiology: Motor Control||Compile chapters from multiple textbooks & store on content management system.|
|Kimberly Dion||Nursing: Community Health Nursing IV: Community||Use library journals and state & federal websites.|
|Simos Gerasimidis||Civil & Environmental Engineering: Structural Stability||Use library and free online resources.|
|Sara E. Jackson||German & Scandinavian Studies: Advanced German||Collect free/open reading assignments, grammar exercises & work-sheets to accompany German-language films.|
|D. Joseph Jerry||Veterinary & Animal Science: Cancer Biology ; Carcinogenesis||Collaborate with colleagues in the field to create a downloadable free textbook from lecture materials.|
|Kinuyo Kanamaru||Geosciences: Global Environmental Change||Use recorded lectures, free online videos, scientific articles & open online educational applications.|
|Stefan Caris Love||Music & Dance: Intermediate Analysis||Use online music theory websites, YouTube videos. Create handouts and video/audio lectures. Have students compile all information on a wiki.|
|Bogdan Prokopovych||Management: Foundations of Sustainable Enterprise & others||Identify less technical articles available through library journals, and chapters of selected books. Identify alternative to Harvard Business School Publishing platform.|
|Mila Getmansky Sherman||Management: Financial Modeling||Work with PhD candidates to identify web-based materials and work with students to develop their own materials.|
|Jeffrey Starns||Psychology: Statistics in Psychology||Turn course slides into a stand alone textbook.|