Open educational resources (OER) program

Open educational resources (OER) are classroom materials without copyright restrictions, are available in the public domain, licensed through the Creative Commons (or similar intellectual property licenses) or library-licensed, and accessible to student at little or no cost. With the rising prices of textbooks and the resulting financial burden for students, OER can help mitigate such expenses for students and provide instructors with pedagogical advantages. To encourage faculty to integrate OER materials in their courses, the OER Faculty Incentive Program, with support from the Office of the Provost, will award grants of $1000 to instructors selected by the campus OER Committee. Faculty who are awarded OER incentive grants will integrate OER into the upcoming academic year's course(s). Ineligible are previous awardees who wish to use OER for courses that already were supported with an OER grant. Priority will be given to first-time applicants. Faculty who are teaching in the 2020-2021 academic year (fall and spring semesters) are invited to apply for the 2nd annual Open Educational Resources (OER) Incentive Grant Program to support College of Charleston faculty in creating high-quality instructional resources at little or no expense to our students.  This program was previously described to the Faculty Senate and to other key College of Charleston constituencies. 

Submit an Online Application for the Open Education Resources (OER) Incentive Grants ProgramThe deadline for this program has passed. Please check back later for updates.

Background: OER are classroom resources with no copyright restrictions. They are in the public domain, licensed through the Creative Commons (or similar intellectual property licenses) or library-licensed, so students can access them at little or no cost. Textbook prices are rising rapidly, putting enormous financial strain on students. OER can help mitigate textbook expenses for students and also provide instructors with pedagogical advantages, since they are more adaptable than traditional textbooks. In recent years, several states and universities have invested heavily in the creation of OER, and those resources are readily available to us. The College of Charleston Libraries provide many resources for faculty with interest in utilizing OER.  See Affordable Learning (https://libguides.library.cofc.edu/affordablelearning). The OER Incentive Program is intended to expand the use of these resources on campus, with the intent of improving the quality of instructional materials and providing financial relief for students.  The College of Charleston does recognize that traditional print and/or online textbooks remain excellent choices for many courses, but the OER Incentive Program encourages faculty to use OER in those cases where they offer both pedagogical and financial advantages. Programs that encourage OER use are in place at several other universities.  The College of Charleston Student Government Association has previously requested that the College take steps to expand OER use.

Grant Purpose, Deadlines and Awards: To encourage faculty to integrate OER materials in their courses, the OER Faculty Incentive Program will award grants of up to $1000 to instructors selected by the campus OER Committee. Faculty who are awarded OER incentive grants will integrate OER into at least one course offered two separate semesters. Awards are subject to a set of stipulations, including the following:

(1) Successful completion of the Open Educational Resources Training and Development OAKS course administered by the College of Charleston Libraries and TLT.

(2) Submission of the final course syllabus, including a full list of required course materials and an OER syllabus statement (provided), to the OER committee.

(3) Subsequent to teaching the OER Incentive Grant-supported course the first time, submission of a report to the OER Incentive Grant Committee assessing their experience using OER in the classroom and reporting the cost savings to students in their grant-supported classes.  Furthermore, grant recipients are expected to teach the OER Incentive Grant-supported class again in a subsequent semester.

The deadline for submission of OER Applications (click here for the online application) was November 1, 2019. Proposals will be reviewed by the campus OER Committee, comprised of faculty, librarians and instructional technologists. Preference will be given to proposals for course sections offered on a recurring basis intended for first-, second-, and third-year students (i.e., not special topics courses, or senior seminars). In addition, courses that currently utilize OER or have little or no materials costs to students will not be considered unless they are substantially revised during the award period. Awards were announced December 1, 2019. Selected instructors will receive their financial award after completion of the first OER Incentive Grant-supported course and the submission of their final report.

Timeline: 

October 15: Call for applications and OER Application form made available online (date may vary)
November 1: Deadline for applications
December 1: Awards announced (date may vary)
December 15: Opening of faculty training course for awardees.

Post-Award: Each awardee will be required to submit a final report within one month following the grant-supported implementation of the OER materials. Each report will include:

  • Estimated cost savings
  • Summary of experience with implementing OER materials
  • Implementation’s impact on course and students
  • Means of evaluating the impact of OER adoption on course delivery
  • Future plans for implementation of OER materials

Academic Affairs support: Mark Del Mastro, Associate Provost

Contact: Jason Coy (coyj@cofc.edu), Professor of History and Faculty Administrative Fellow in the Office of the Provost, who facilitated the initiation of this program and currently chairs the OER Committee