Call for Proposals: Course Materials Conversion Program

Graphic Design by Ariel Romero

Each semester, the University of Arkansas Libraries and Global Campus offer compensation for faculty to reduce the cost of textbooks for their students by using Open Educational Resources (OER). Faculty can apply to receive $3,000-$7,500 in extra compensation to support the adoption, adaptation or creation of Open Educational Resources. Visit the OER website to learn more about the program.

"The Global Campus supports the U of A's efforts to reduce costs for students," said Donald Judges, vice provost for distance education. "We believe working with U of A faculty is one of the best ways to provide high-quality OER materials for our students."

All potential applicants must schedule pre-application consultations prior to March 1. Submitted project applications are reviewed and scored by the Open Educational Resources team and campus advisory group. After the consultation, potential participants will have until March 8 to complete applications.

"Interest in and use of OER is increasing on campus. It is encouraging that students in some American history, astronomy, agricultural economics, technical writing and physics courses have opportunities to utilize OER," said Elaine Thornton, open education and distance learning librarian. "The Associated Student Government, under the leadership of academics director Jared Pinkerton, recently staged a #TextbookBroke event to gather student stories about their textbook costs. Some indicated spending the equivalent of a couple of months' rent, just on textbooks this semester. This is a problem that, in some cases, can be addressed by the implementation of OER."

Seventeen U of A faculty and staff have received OER Course Conversion assistance since the program began in 2017: Cash Acrey, Daniel Barth, Julio Gea-Banacloche, Patricia Herzog, Justin Hunter, Jim Gigantino, Julia Kennefick, Garry McDonald, Matthew Mihalka, Whitney Payne, Adam Rex Pope, Luis Restrepo, Samantha Robinson, Zhenghui Sha, Michael Thomsen, Susan Tyler and Jingzian Wu.

"Cost isn't the only reason for faculty to consider switching to open textbooks," said Thornton. "Several of our program participants have noted that creating an open textbook helped them innovate in their teaching. Some have been encouraged to try a flipped classroom model using resources they created, while others have found that available OER work just as well expensive, traditionally-published textbooks. OER gives faculty expanded options when considering the reading materials they will assign their students."

Contacts

Elaine Thornton, open education and distance learning librarian
University Libraries
479-575-4856, oer@uark.edu

Kelsey Lovewell Lippard, public relations coordinator
University Libraries
479-575-7311, klovewel@uark.edu

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