Alternative Textbook Grant Program 2021
Eligibility | Application Process | Review Procedure and Criteria
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 through March 31, 2021.
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)
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.” The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the financial and technological barriers to accessing learning materials. To redress the situation, governments and higher education institutions in North America have promoted the use of open educational resources (OER) to ensure students’ access to course 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.
- Full-time UK instructors, including faculty, adjunct faculty, and lecturers
- UK instructors who will be teaching a course from August 2021 through December 2022
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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.
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 2021 through December 2022
- 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 and/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 themself 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 a realistic timeline
- Potential for reuse beyond the initial semester by the applicant or other instructors
Outcomes of the Program will be shared with the UK community via campus media outlets.
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 2021 through December 2022.
** 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:
Director of Digital Scholarship
University of Kentucky Libraries
Mary Beth Thomson
Senior Associate Dean
University of Kentucky Libraries