Posted: January 31, 2017 -- letizia

WSU faculty members interested in integrating open educational resources (OERs) and/or library-licensed resources into their courses are invited to apply for affordable learning grants of $1,000-$5,000 by Wednesday, Feb. 15.

The grants will be offered this summer through WSU Libraries and WSU Academic Outreach and Innovation. Recipients will receive assistance as needed from instructional designers and librarians to locate, adapt, remix and create OERs for use in 2017-18.

Find application instructions at https://teach.wsu.edu/affordable-learning-grants/.

OERs and WSU’s efforts to reduce costs of course materials

OERs are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research and more. They have emerged as one approach to reducing the cost of course materials for college students around the country. They can be customized to meet the specific needs of a WSU degree.

Last March, with the Associated Students of WSU, Provost Daniel Bernardo created a task force to study the rising costs of course materials and potential solutions, alternatives and challenges. Among the task force’s recommendations, delivered in a final report in May, was supporting increased use of free OERs.

Examples of affordable learning projects

The Office of the Provost and WSU Libraries offer several suggestions for developing affordable learning projects at https://teach.wsu.edu/affordable-learning-grant-examples/ and http://libguides.libraries.wsu.edu/affordablelearning/sampleoers. These include:

  1. Adopting or adapting an open textbook: This is a particularly good option for faculty members who don’t have time to develop their own OERs.
  2. Use library-licensed content: WSU Libraries licenses a wide variety of electronic journals and e-books. Libraries staff can assist faculty in preparing a course pack of readings in lieu of a commercial textbook. Funds may also be available to purchase multiuser e-books.
  3. Creating open content: OERs can be created in many formats and hosted on many platforms. WSU Libraries can help faculty select an open license and publish their material in OER Commons, OpenStax CNX, Research Exchange or Open Textbook Library for use by their students and others worldwide.
  4. Republish a textbook online: Transferring information from a textbook to a website can increase access to course materials for a wider audience, like the Emory University professor who repurposed a textbook into an interactive online resource for learning the basics of epidemiology.
  5. Let students develop course content: To help with the task of creating new content, consider inviting student participation. For example, students at North Carolina State University and Emory University helped faculty develop instructional materials for other students.
  6. Supplement courses with learning objects: These objects can include simulations, exercises, animations, 3D designs, case studies, apps, drills and tutorials.