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Alternative Textbooks (Open Educational Resources): Alternative Textbook Grant 2020

This guide provides an overview of alternative textbooks (open educational resources) and offers assistance with finding, adopting, and creating them. © 2019 University of Kentucky Libraries. Licensed with CC BY-SA 4.0.

Alternative Textbook Grant Program 2020

Thanks to the Senate Library Committee's evaluation of the submitted proposals, the University of Kentucky Libraries has concluded this year's Alternative Textbook Grant Program.  The 10 grant recipients are as follows:

Grant Recipients (Sorted by Last Name)

Department and College

Grant Category

Molly Blasing

Department of Modern & Classical Languages, Literatures & Cultures, College of Arts and Sciences Creation
Christopher Bradley

J. David Rosenberg College of Law

Creation
Andrew Byrd and Brenna Byrd Department of Linguistics and Department of Modern & Classical Languages, Literatures & Cultures, College of Arts and Sciences Creation
Emily Croteau Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences Adoption
Stephen Davis Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences Adoption
Fatima Espinoza Vasquez School of Information Science, College of Communication and Information Adoption
Brian Frye J. David Rosenberg College of Law Creation
Anita Lee-Post Department of Marketing and Supply Chain, Gatton College of Business and Economics Creation
Stephen Voss Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences Creation
Brandi White

Department of Clinical Leadership and Management, College of Health Sciences

Creation

This video fills you in on what grant recipients and students think about the Alternative Textbook Grant Program.  If you have questions about alternative textbooks or the Grant Program, feel free to contact:

Adrian Ho
Director of Digital Scholarship
University of Kentucky Libraries

Mary Beth Thomson
Senior Associate Dean
University of Kentucky Libraries

Inquiries about the availability of alternative textbooks in particular subject areas can be sent to the academic liaisons of the concerned subject areas or to Adrian Ho.

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The University of Kentucky Libraries invites faculty to apply for a grant in support of replacing traditional commercial textbooks with affordable learning materials.  A total of 10 grants will be awarded to successful applicants who propose to use open textbooks, free course content, and/or UK Libraries’ licensed information resources as alternative textbooks for their courses.  Faculty can find such resources by:

  • Using the tools listed on the Find... pages on this guide (see the tabs above the page title)
  • Consulting your academic liaisons

Ready to apply?  Click here to access the proposal form.  Applications are accepted from February 25, 2020 through March 31, 2020.

Program Objectives:

The goals of the Alternative Textbook Grant Program are:

  • Ensure students’ timely access to required learning materials for academic success;
  • Reduce students’ financial burdens caused by traditional textbooks;
  • Provide support for faculty interested in adopting open textbooks, free course content, and/or UK Libraries’ licensed information resources as alternative textbooks for their courses;
  • Provide support for faculty interested in creating new open course content as alternative textbooks for their courses (with at least 50% of the content being original and newly created by the grant recipient)

Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that prices of college textbooks soared 88% from January 2006 to July 2016. According to the Student PIRGs, “sixty-five percent of students have skipped buying a textbook at some point because of cost, and each year, $3 billion of federal student aid goes to pay for textbooks.”

As a result, federal and state governments as well as higher education institutions across the nation have promoted the use of open educational resources (OER) to enhance students’ access to required learning materials and make higher education more affordable.  An analysis of research published between 2015 and 2018 notes that “students achieve the same or better learning outcomes when using OER while saving significant amounts of money” and that “the majority of faculty and students who have used OER had a positive experience and would do so again.”

To support student success, UK Libraries is committed to working with faculty to identify and provide access to affordable replacements for traditional textbooks.  In addition to financial support, UK Libraries’ academic liaisons are available for consultation on identifying open textbooks, free course content, and UK Libraries’ licensed information resources.  Assistance with the selection of an online platform for content delivery will be available to grant recipients who are going to create new open course content. 

Eligibility:

  • Full-time UK instructors, including faculty, adjunct faculty, and lecturers
  • UK instructors who will be teaching a course from August 2020 through December 2021
  • A traditional textbook is currently assigned to the above-mentioned course (Instructors who will be teaching brand new courses that currently do not have a textbook are also eligible.)

Grant Categories:

  1. Adoption or adaptation of existing open textbooks, free course content, and/or UK Libraries’ licensed information resources: Each successful applicant will receive a grant of $1,500.  
  2. Creation of new open course content (with at least 50% of the content being original and newly created) in a format (PDF file, Web site, multimedia material, etc.) deemed most appropriate for pedagogical purposes: Each successful applicant will receive a grant of $2,500.

Please note that no more than 10 grants in total will be awarded regardless of the fund amount allocated to each grant. 

Deadline:

Proposal Application Process:

Alternative Textbook Grant Program proposals should be submitted using this proposal form.  Applicants will be asked to provide:

  • Course information, including title, number, content, enrollment, and semester(s) in which the course will be offered from August 2020 through December 2021
  • Information about the currently assigned traditional textbook(s), including title, author, publisher, and cost of a new copy
  • Specification of the grant category being applied for
  • Statement of interest in no more than 500 words, addressing:
    • Reason(s) for replacing a traditional textbook with an alternative textbook
    • Plans to assess the impact and effectiveness of teaching with an alternative textbook
    • For Grant Category 1 applicants only:
      • Awareness of a potential alternative textbook for the course or experience with assigning an alternative textbook to a course (if applicable)
    • For Grant Category 2 applicants only:
      • Experience with developing and creating new course content (if applicable)
      • Format of the new course content, e.g., PDF file, Web site, multimedia material, etc.
      • Anticipated need for assistance in the content creation process, e.g., production platform, proofreading, layout-editing, etc. (if applicable)
    • Timeline of the proposed project, i.e., anticipated project duration and the semester for the initial use of the alternative textbook
    • Projected reusability of the alternative textbook beyond the initial semester (by the applicant themselves and/or by other instructors)

Review Procedure and Criteria:

The University Senate Library Committee will review all proposals based on these criteria:

  • Strength of the statement of interest
  • Estimated potential savings per student enrolled in the course taught with the alternative textbook
  • Project feasibility in terms of planning and timeline
  • Potential for reuse beyond the initial semester by applicant or other instructors

Outcomes of the Program will be shared with the UK community through various media outlets. 

Post-Award Requirements:

For the assessment of the Program, grant recipients have to provide the following information using an online form created by UK Libraries:

  • For Grant Category 1 recipients only: A description of the open textbook, free course content, and/or UK Libraries’ licensed information resource selected as the alternative textbook
  • For Grant Category 2 recipients only: A description of the newly created open course content **  
  • Number of students enrolled in the course taught with the alternative textbook
  • Estimated student savings
  • Evaluation of the experience of identifying or creating the alternative textbook
  • Discussion of the impact and effectiveness of teaching with the alternative textbook

To assist UK Libraries with a better understanding of students’ perceptions of alternative textbooks, grant recipients will agree to forward a UK Libraries online evaluation form to students enrolled in the courses taught with the grant-funded alternative textbooks from August 2020 through December 2021. 

** For Grant Category 2 recipients, they will agree to make their new open course content freely available online with a Creative Commons license of their choice via UK’s institutional repository (UKnowledge).  UK Libraries will provide assistance with the use of Creative Commons licenses and the deposit of the open course content in UKnowledge. 

Questions about the Alternative Textbook Grant Program should be directed to:

Adrian Ho
Director of Digital Scholarship
University of Kentucky Libraries

Mary Beth Thomson
Senior Associate Dean
University of Kentucky Libraries