Michigan State University

MSU Libraries Open Submissions for New Round of OER Awards

Cindy Hunter Morgan

After awarding nearly $27,000 in March to nine MSU faculty members to fund the creation and adaptation of Open Educational Resources (OER) course material, MSU Libraries are welcoming applications for a second round of OER Program Awards. Dean of Libraries Joseph A. Salem, Jr. said this round of awards is designed to provide financial incentives and support for instructors interested in adopting, adapting, or creating OER as an alternative to traditional textbooks; and it’s designed to support OER sustainability and large-scale implementation of OER. The goals of the program are to reduce costs for students, improve access to required texts, and increase student success. The deadline for the next round of applications is January 18, 2021. 


“This is a fantastic and important program to continue to support and expand,” Salem said. “In the 2019-20 academic year, the OER program created more than $1.4 million in cost savings and impacted more than 14,000 students enrolled in courses using OER. This new cycle of funding will support two new categories, and we’re thrilled about this expansion. The awards program has grown to support increased interest and participation in OER, and this growth of support will, hopefully, lead to even more robust OER participation. That’s the kind of continuous loop we’re glad to foster. We’re committed to promoting equal access to information, and OER is a big part of this commitment.”


MSU Open Educational Resources & Student Success Librarian Regina Gong said the awards program helps to advance OER and advance equity. “We’re taking action to build structural equity and inclusion,” Gong said. “More faculty are implementing OER in their projects and course materials, and this has a positive snowball effect for students. OER empowers educators to improve their teaching practices, creating opportunities for more engagement.”


Anybody who teaches at MSU is invited to submit an application for one or more OER Award categories (Adoption of Existing OER, for which $1,000 will be awarded for each accepted proposal; Adaptation of Multiple OER, for which $2,500 will be awarded for each accepted proposal; Creation and Development of New OER, for which $4,000 will be awarded for each accepted proposal; Continuous Improvement Grants, for which $3,000 will be awarded for each accepted proposal; and Scaling Up OER Grants, for which $5,000 will be awarded for each accepted proposal). Up to $50,000 will be awarded in total. Recipients of awards will be notified by February 15, 2021. To be eligible for an award, projects must replace traditional textbooks with OER to reduce students’ costs. Total course material costs after OER implementation cannot exceed $40. Instructors must plan to implement the OER for an entire academic year. The OER Award Committee will give preference to those applicants who teach a high-enrollment course. Application forms for each award category are available on the MSU Libraries website through this link: http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/oer/award


The MSU Libraries are at the center of academic life at Michigan State University, providing expertise, collections, and infrastructure for discovery and creation. The Libraries facilitate connections that support research, teaching, and learning in local and global communities. Faculty and staff at the Libraries are committed to providing equal access to Library collections, services, and facilities for all library users. Earlier this year, the Libraries hired an Open Educational Resources (OER) and Student Success Librarian and joined the Open Textbook Network, a diverse community of higher education institutions that promote access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks. 



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