How seriously are leaders at Michigan State University Libraries taking the issue of student success? They’re launching an award program to give instructors up to $4,000 each to create and develop new Open Educational Resources (OER) for primary course material, up to $2,500 to adapt existing OER materials, and up to $1,000 to use existing OER materials in their courses. Dean of Libraries Joseph Salem said the financial awards are designed to serve as incentives for instructors to reduce costs for students, improve access to required texts, and increase student success.
“Data shows that the cost of textbooks affects the academic choices students make,” Salem said. “We’re creating an award program to support the use and creation of open education resources, which are resources that reside in the public domain and permit free use. Part of our vision at the MSU Libraries is to promote equal access to information for all. This award program is designed with that vision in mind, and it reflects many of our values. We want to invest in collaborative relationships, and these awards will honor the contributions our faculty partners make to OER initiatives. We want to advance accessibility, and that is what open resources are all about.”
MSU Open Educational Resources & Student Success Librarian Regina Gong said the awards point to positive and important changes. “If textbooks are prohibitively expensive, students often will make other choices,” Gong said. “They’ll find illegal PDFs online, they’ll buy an outdated edition of the book, or they won’t acquire any course materials at all. Those choices create problems, and we want to help students avoid those problems.”
Anybody who teaches at MSU is invited to submit an application for one or more OER Award categories (Adoption of Existing OER, Adaptation of Multiple OER, or Creation and Development of New OER). Project proposals are due January 31, 2020. Recipients of awards will be notified by March 16, 2020. 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.