The high cost of textbooks is one of the many factors that affect student learning outcomes and student success. Students avoid certain classes, drop a class, or do poorly when they cannot afford the text for a course.
Students at Paul Smith's College have approved a sustainability grant to support a program to help reduce the barrier of high-cost materials so that they can access the quality course materials they need to be academically successful. When faculty use open and affordable materials, we aren't just saving students money on textbooks: we are directly impacting that their ability to enroll in, persist through, and successfully complete a course.
The Open and Affordable Textbook Program supports students by offering incentives for teaching faculty to use alternative lower-cost and no-cost educational materials rather than high-cost textbooks. This includes the adoption or adaption of existing OER materials. If needed, it can support the creation of new Open Educational Resources (OER) to fill in gaps of your adopted/adapted OER materials.
Sponsored by the Paul Smith's Sustainability Committee, a fund of $6,000 will be available to faculty. Interested faculty are required to submit a proposal.
Eligibility and criteria
All PSC instructors are eligible to apply for the Open and Affordable Textbook Program. Awards are $500 per redesigned course section. A single faculty member can be granted multiple awards. Award recipients must implement an open or alternative textbook in their course(s) in Spring 2021.
Applicants must be an instructor of record for a spring 2021 course.
Projects not eligible for funding:
- Existing textbook alternatives already in use by faculty; the proposal must be a new project
- Commercial e-text versions of an existing print textbook
- Textbook rentals
The following criteria will be used in determining awards:
- Projected student savings
- Type of project
- Feasibility of successful implementation
Expectations and support provided
Expectations of award recipients:
- Adopt open resource alternatives to paid materials that reduce the cost to students by more than 50% AND bring the total course cost to students to below $50.
- Agree to attend a minimum of two one-on-one OER consultations with library staff
- Agree to distribute a survey to students in the course(s) in which the alternative materials are implemented.
- Submit a syllabus and final report upon completion of the course (Please see final report requirements).
- Report the open or alternative textbook adoption to the PSC Bookstore.
- Distribute the incentive award of $500. The award can be used for any purpose. For Fall 2020 course redesigns, 80% will be distributed the third week of the fall semester. 20% will be distributed upon submission of the final report due December 20th, 2020. For Spring 2021 course redesigns, 80% will be distributed the third week of the spring semester. 20% will be distributed upon submission of the final report due May 10, 2021.
- Orientation/training session and individual consultations to support the project.
- Assistance searching for open educational resources and library materials, including a resource bank made available to faculty
- Support for making materials available in Canvas
- Copyright and Creative Commons licensing guidance
Apply for the Open and Affordable Textbook Program
Application deadline: October 18, 11:59 PM Eastern
Applicants will be notified of acceptance by October 23, 2020.
For those who are interested in the program but would like to discuss their alternative textbook project before applying, please contact Erin Cass at email@example.com
For questions or help, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Some FOIP materials modified from the University of Houston Alternative Textbook Incentive Program materials.
What are Open Educational Resources?
- OASIS – Searchable OER resources across repositories, developed by SUNY Geneseo librarians
- MIT OpenCourseWare*
- Open NYS – NY government-funded OER initiative with SUNY & CUNY
- The Orange Grove – FL's OER repository*
- BC Campus Open Search – search open resources through British Colombia repository
- Open Library – Ontario's OER repository
- Teaching Commons – OER repository*
- OpenLearn – Free content from the Open University (UK)
- MERLOT OER Community*
- Audio Lecture Series – UC Berkley (Podcasts on a variety of topics)*
- Rice University Connexions Project (OpenStax)*
- Creative Commons (all content with CC license)
- AgEcon Search (UMN) - Agricultural Focus
- OER Commons – Public digital library of OER resources
- Commonwealth of Learning Open Access Repository
- Project Gutenberg (library of over 60,000 free eBooks)
- OER Africa
- Jisc Open Education Apps and Resources
- WikiEducator – Free eLearning content
- SPARC – List of North American OER Policies and Projects