UMass Library Open Education Initiative
Now in its eleventh cycle, the Open Education Initiative has generated a total savings of over $1.8 million for students in classes that utilize open educational resources or free library material. The Library partners with the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), Instructional 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 If textbooks are prohibitively expensive, students will: find illegal PDFs online, not purchase them, buy an outdated edition, or not acquire at all. 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 are 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 types of projects will be funded based on the scale of the project proposed, the number of students impacted, and the project's shareability. Grant amounts range from $500-$2500
- Adopt - Redesign course to incorporate an existing open textbook or open course content. 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. 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. 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.
Proposals will be reviewed by representatives of The Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), Academic Innovation, UMass Libraries and a faculty member. Proposals will be evaluated on the following rubrics:
- Organization, planning, and feasibility.
- Qualitative and quantitative measures.
- Transformative impact on student savings.
- Clarity and alignment.
- Pedagogical innovation.
Projects in the following categories will receive priority. The type of funding for the project is determined by the funding categories criteria above. Note that the below categories only indicate priority, not which applications qualify for a grant.
General Education Classes
The UMass Amherst Libraries aims to have as many OER and no- or low-cost resource implementations in Gen Ed courses as possible, which will impact the greatest number of students
Projects in this category are intended for implementing an OEI team’s previously-completed project to a department-wide, all-sections scale.
Projects in this category are intended to address the gap in available OER and no/low-cost resources in upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses. These projects must result in the implementation of no- or low-cost resources and possibly the creation of OER in upper-level 300 level and up undergraduate and graduate courses.
Following the selection of your project, support will be provided by the UMass Libraries, Center for Teaching and Learning, and Instructional Innovation. 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 now supports the creation of open textbooks using the Pressbooks EDU publishing platform.
2020 OEI Timeline
- March 2-6 2020: Call for proposals announced.
- March-April 2020: Meet with team member (virtually or in person) to discuss draft of proposal before submission.
- May 15, 2020*: Final projects due. *extended due to COVID-19 disruption
- Mid-May 2020: Recipients announced.
- May 2020-Sept 2021: Project work and implementation.
Below is a list of expectations of award recipients. Please read carefully before considering applying.
- Meet with Scholarly Communications BEFORE final submission (virtually or in-person) in order to discuss your proposal.
- 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.
- Agree to share the results of your project with other faculty in your Department and the campus via meetings, workshops, or promotional materials.
- 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, including syllabus, into an appropriate open repository (e.g. Scholarworks, Open Textbook Library, Merlot, etc.)
- Materials developed for a course will be licensed with an appropriate Creative Commons license of the grantee's choice: CC-BY, CC-BY-NC, CC-BY-SA, or CC-BY-NC-SA.
- Agree to potentially participate on the review committee for future applications.
Applications are collected through Google Forms here: https://forms.gle/xNvXabXG1tJKTmb36
Previously Awarded Projects
Spring 2019 Open Education Initiative
Here are the recipients of the spring 2019 OEI grants and summaries of their projects.
|Faculty Name||Department/Class||Proposed Project||Link to Finished Project|
Natural Resources Conservation 585/Intro to GIS
Environmental Conservation 697K / GIS Programming
|Edit, curate, revise, and package existing GIS course content in order to distribute with an open license and share on an accessible, public, repository.|
|Jonathan Hulting-Cohen||Music and Dance / Classical Saxophone Performance & Chamber Music||Create an openly-licensed hybrid textbook/workbook for saxophone technique.|
|Margaret Krone||Psychology 356 / Psychology of Aging||Work with students to adapt existing psychology-related OER to create new openly-licensed human development textbook.|
|Laetitia La Follette||Art History 100, 110, 115||PART 1: Transition interactive, web-based e-text with exercises out of UMass-based Online Web Learning (OWL) system into open platform by: exploring alternative platforms and tools, reviewing and revising existing content for structure and accessibility.|
|Kari Loomis||Biology 283/General Genetics||Replace existing textbook with OER and utilize UMass-based Online Web Learning (OWL) system for homework system.|
Sociology 105 / Self, Society, & Interpersonal Relationships
Sociology 222 / The Family
Sociology 287 / Sexuality and Society
|Create "Sociological Imagination Library", an interactive open repository for sociology-related media and resources for students and instructors.|
|Malcolm Sen||English 365 / The Literature of Ireland||Compile public domain Irish literature texts along with documentaries, films, podcasts, historical contextualization, and exercises into an openly-licensed online e-text.|
French 110 / Elementary French I
French 120 / Elementary French II
French 126 / Intensive Elementary French
|Revise existing french OER textbook and combine with new material, exercises, and additional french linguistic/cultural material.|
|Danielle Thomas||Spanish 311 / Advanced Spanish Grammar||Create new Advanced Spanish Grammar textbook from large volume of teaching materials developed over the past 10 years of teaching the subject.|
|Torrey Trust||Education 593A / Teaching & Learning with Technology||Work with EDU 593A (Teaching & Learning with Technology) students to create an open "Innovating Teaching & Learning with Technology" textbook.||Teaching with Digital Tools and Apps|
Spring 2018 Open Education Initiative
Here are the recipients of the spring 2018 OEI grants and summaries of their projects.
|Faculty Name||Department/Class||Proposed Project||Link to Finished Project|
|Elizabeth Brabec||Landscape Architecture & Regional Planning/Sustainable Communities 543: History of Architecture and Landscape||Create a culturally-focused landscape history textbook focusing on historical minority communities in the United States today (North, South and Central indigenous American tribes as well as African, Indian and Pacific-Rim cultures).|
|Candice Colon-Kwedor/Ashley Woodman||Psychology 581/Applied Behavior Analysis||Create a free, publicly available registered behavior technician (RBT) training course/textbook incorporating video and quizzes.|
|Holly Lawrence||Management 200/Career and Professional Development||Assemble already created content into a cohesive career and professional development textbook.|
|David McLaughlin||Electrical and Computer Engineering 361/Fundamentals of Electrical Engineering||Convert already created lecture notes and lab exercises into a cohesive textbook.|
|Bryan Monesson-Olson||Biochemistry 100, 275, 426/ MyDNA, Molecular Bio, General Bio lab||Create 3D models of STEM content and create an online repository for their storage and accessibility.|
|Alexandra Pope||Astronomy 100/Exploring the Universe||Utilize the OpenStax Astronomy textbook in combination with Perusall.|
|Daniel Sack||English 275H/Interactive Fiction: Performance, Play, and Games||Develop an online learning space with links to readings, contextual writings, and student reflections.|
|Brokk Toggerson||Physics 132/Intro Physics II||Create a localized version of the OpenStax Physics textbook for Intro Physics II.|
Stockbridge School of Agriculture 166/Practical Beekeeping
Collaborate with students to create a hybrid textbook/workbook that can act as an instructional guide, record keeping book and apiary planning & management tool for beginning beekeepers.
|Radicalize the Hive book|
|Michael Wilson||Mechanical Engineering 597EP/ Engineering Information
School of Management 797Q/ Project Management
Create an accessible, multimedia, digital project management textbook exploring project management methods used in current university and industry settings.
Spring 2017 Open Education Initiative
Here are the recipients of the spring 2017 OEI grants and their projects.
|Faculty Name||Department/Class||Proposed Project|
|Jerimiah Bentley||Isenberg School of Management/Acconting 331||Find/develop reading material needed to supplement free eBook and create a large bank of practice problems on Blackboard to replace existing elearning software.|
|Lori Astheimer Best||College of Natural Sciences/Psychology 330||Create detailed lecture slides with original open access visual materials, use excerpts from existing textbooks, and utilize articles from library databases.|
|Katie Kirakosian||College of Social and Behavioral Sciences/Anthropology 269||Create an Introduction to Archaeology in North America open textbook with a facilitation guide with lesson plans.|
|Michael Knapp||College of Natural Sciences/General Chemistry||Use the free OpenStax Chemistry textbook with the Perusall reading comprehension tool.|
|Karen Kurczynski||College of Humanities and Fine Arts/Renaissance to Modern Art||Utilize available sources from art databases such as Google Art, Khan Academy, Architecture Daily, and Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History.|
|Marc Liberatore||College of Information and Computer Science/Using Data Structures||Rewrite course lecture notes and assignments into a short, readable text and set of associated exercises and assignments.|
|Graciela Monteagudo||College of Social and Behavioral Sciences/Introduction to Radical Social Theory||Create original open source Introduction to Radical Social Theory textbook using the Pressbooks web publishing software.|
|Evan Ross||College of Natural Sciences/Junior Year Writing||
Create an original hybrid textbook/workbook for Junior Year Writing classes.
|Betsy Schmidt||College of Social and Behavioral Sciences/PubPolAdm 697, 497, 397, 197||
Create a social enterprise network textbook using the Pressbooks web publishing software and use free online resources such as the BBC and Solutions Journalism Network.
|Shubha Tewari||College of Natural Sciences/The Physics of Music||
Compile and organize a set of supplemental readings, problems with solutions, and additional text or video to accompany portions of lecture slides to use with Peusall and create select videos of demonstrations and lab activities with accompanying instructions, as well as curate videos created by students enrolled in the class.
|Ashley Woodman||College of Natural Sciences/Impact of Disabilities on Families||
Create original open education textbook for an Impact of Disabilities on Families course.
Spring 2016 Open Education Initiative
Here are the recipients of the spring 2016 grants and their projects.
|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
Here are the recipients of the fall 2015 grants and their 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.|
Northeast OER Summit
June 13-14, 2017
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.