UND Open Educational Resources (OERs) Grant FAQs
The Open Educational Resources Working Group requests and reviews proposals for Open Educational Resources Grants to help faculty create or adapt OERs for use in their own classes. Funding is available thanks to Student Government and the Office of the Provost. Check to see if grant proposals are currently being accepted.
Please note that now that UND has an institutional repository, the UND Scholarly Commons, we require that all faculty who receive funding provide a copy of their final OER for deposit in the Commons. Also, attendance at scheduled training is mandatory as a condition of funding; if more than one faculty member is involved in creation of the OER, at least one person per group must attend, or make alternate arrangements.
Who can apply for OER grants?
Any instructional faculty member who is teaching a course at UND may apply for an OER grant.
What is meant by an Open Educational Resource? What is “Open” in this context?
Open access (OA) publications allow everyone free, online, digital access to scholarly works that they can read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or share. The Library maintains a resource guide about OERs with more details. There are also multiple types of Open Access: see the Types of Open Access detailed on the Library’s Open Access guide for full definitions. We also offer a guide on Scholarly Communications.
Do I need a letter of approval?
Yes. You need a letter from your Department Chair, or alternatively, your Dean if your Chair is unavailable. We want to ensure that your Chair is aware of and supportive of this project.
Do I need to attend the workshop series?
Yes. If you are the sole applicant, you must attend the OER Workshop Series. This is a series of 3-4 half-days, during which the OER Working Group and others provide training on Course Redesign, Finding OERs, Instructional Technology, Creative Commons Licensing, Copyright, and many other aspects of locating and adapting and implementing OERs for your courses. If more than one person is applying for the grant, at least one person from the group must attend on behalf of the group. If the dates of the OER Workshop Series are problematic, you may contact the OER Working Group to arrange for individual training sessions on a mutually convenient date, though we strongly suggest attending the OER Workshop Series. To discuss training dates, please contact either Stephanie Walker, Dean of Libraries & Information Resources and Chair of the OER Working Group, or Lori Swinney (Director, Instructional Design & Digital Learning, TTaDA).
Can I use the OER grant to simply purchase materials for my students, and reduce costs that way?
No. The purpose of the OER Grant is not solely to reduce costs for a current group of students, admirable as that goal is. The purpose of the OER Grant is to reduce costs on an ongoing basis, and to make the OER used in a course available to others as well, via the UND Scholarly Commons. We want OERs that will be used year after year, and will save not only this year’s students money, but future students for the foreseeable future.
Can I use the OER to produce hybrid materials (partly open, partly not open) for my students?
It depends. We strongly support using OERs to reduce costs for students. But some faculty also have shown interest in "hybrid" materials, whereby a course pack may include many Open Educational Resources, such as articles in Open/Free journals, OERs from MERLOT, etc., but may also include resources that are not open. "Non-open" resources may include some materials that students still have to purchase, such as a particularly useful article that could not be obtained for free, or they may include resources that are not technically free, but that are still "free to end users" (students). The latter are usually links to articles in licensed library databases. These would require a log-in from off-campus, but there is no additional charge to the students. That being said, these resources are not truly open, in that anyone not affiliated with UND would not be able to obtain these free of charge, and any such resources placed into the UND Scholarly Commons would result in users not affiliated with UND running into a screen that tells them they cannot access this material. Also, if the Library ever loses its subscription to a particular journal, the resource would stop working for UND students as well.
The OER Working Group strongly prefers truly open materials, so that we can place them in the UND Scholarly Commons and share them with NDUS and the world, through Merlot and the Digital Commons Network. However, under some circumstances, if the resulting product still saves UND students substantial funds, and has the potential for good long-term savings for the students, the OER Working Group reserves the right to consider such proposals.
Do you have any preferences for subject matter, format, etc.?
The OER Working Group has no particular preferences for subject matter, courses, format, etc. We do have a strong preference for materials that are high impact (i.e. save students considerable funds), whether that is achieved through replacement of particularly costly textbooks or through large enrolment classes or both. We also strongly support OERs that provide assistance with "barrier courses" (courses with high DFW rates); there is ample evidence that some students withdraw from or drop courses with high textbook costs. Alternatively, we also support OERs that fill a niche or cover areas for which UND is particularly well known. For example, even though Petroleum Engineering is not an especially large enrollment program, it is one for which UND is very well known, and thus, the OER Working Group voted to support creation/usage of some materials in Petroleum Engineering. This allows us to "give back" in areas we cover particularly well.
We encourage anyone interested in using OERs in their courses to apply for an OER Grant, or to contact us if you have any questions. Also, if you need technological assistance with multimedia, video, captioning, etc., please contact Lori Swinney (Director, Instructional Design & Digital Learning, TTaDA).
Do I have to write my own OER? Or can I just adapt an existing one for my course?
Thus far, we have focused largely on supporting adaptations (adopting & implementing), though in some cases, faculty have banded together to write entirely new material (creating & implementing). It should be noted that the normal maximum support we are able to offer is $3000 per project, though we have made exceptions in especially high impact courses where, for example, 3 faculty participated and each was responsible for a distinct segment of work. It is undeniably more work to write an OER from scratch, so we encourage discussion with both your department chair and the OER Working Group in such cases. We also encourage seeking additional potential support for major projects.
Can I use some of the OER funds to hire a graphic designer/graduate teaching assistant/etc. to help me?
Yes. It's your $3000, to use as you need in order to create OERs or adapt OERs for your course.
Can I see some samples of past successful OER grant proposals?
Yes. Please contact Stephanie Walker, Dean of Libraries & Information Resources, and she will share copies of past proposals.
What do I do when I have finished the OER?
All OERs must be submitted, upon completion, to the UND Scholarly Commons. They will be made openly available. To submit your OER, please contact Zeineb Yousif, Digital Initiatives Librarian.
As well, we expect to briefly assess completed OERs. We will contact you at the end of the term in which you teach with your OER, with a brief Qualtrics survey.
Should I license the resulting OER?
If you have created a brand-new OER, we suggest licensing it upon submission to the UND Scholarly Commons, using a Creative Commons license. There are many licenses from which to choose, and there is a License Chooser that helps you to pick the one right for you.
If you have simply adapted an OER for your course, you may wish to consider licensing the resulting OER, depending on whether you have made substantial alterations or not. We suggest consulting UND’s Special Affiliate in the Office of General Counsel, Jason Jenkins regarding such licensing.