Each semester, the University of Arkansas Libraries and Global Campus offer compensation for faculty to reduce the cost of textbooks for their students by using Open Educational Resources. There are four ways to participate.
“As a university, we need to do everything we can to lower costs for students,” said Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Open Educational Resources are a great way to not only lower the costs of course materials for students, but OER materials can be used and designed in ways to help improve student learning outcomes. I truly appreciate the work that the University of Arkansas Libraries, Global Campus and faculty are doing to facilitate the use and development of OER.”
Faculty can apply to the Course Materials Conversion Program to receive extra compensation. Successful applicants can receive $3,000 for adopting OER, $4,500 for adapting OER or $7,500 for creating their own. Visit the OER website to learn more about the program and the difference between these three options.
A new workshop is being offered for the spring and summer 2020 semesters. Faculty must apply to attend and will receive $1,500 for completing all workshop requirements. The Affordable/OER Course Redesign Workshops provide the opportunity for faculty to convert courses that currently utilize traditionally published textbooks to an open and/or more affordable model. In lieu of creating a full textbook, open and free resources will be collected and embedded into online course materials.
“The Global Campus supports this U of A initiative to reduce the cost of textbooks while ensuring high-quality materials for students,” said Cheryl Murphy, vice provost for distance education. “We believe investing in faculty is key to fostering teaching innovation and student success.”
All potential applicants for the conversion program or the workshops must schedule pre-application consultations prior to Oct. 18, during which they will receive an application form. Submitted project applications are reviewed and scored by the Open Educational Resources team and campus advisory group. After the consultation, potential participants will have until Oct. 22 to complete applications.
“We are once again excited to offer the University of Arkansas faculty support for converting their classes to open course materials,” said Elaine Thornton, open education and distance learning librarian. “Our focus is on helping to make college more affordable for U of A students and assisting faculty in finding ways to use openly licensed resources that help them teach their courses with materials that support their teaching goals and encourage student learning objectives.”
The OER Course Materials Conversion Program began providing funding to faculty in 2017. Since then, over 1,600 students have benefited from the reduced cost of course materials.