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WVU Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons award Open Educational Resources grants

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
May 13th, 2019

West Virginia University Libraries and the Teaching and Learning Commons (TLC) have selected three faculty members to receive inaugural Open Educational Resources (OER) grants: Corey Colyer, an associate professor of sociology, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences; Caleb Holloway, an assistant professor of mathematics, Leonard C. Nelson College of Engineering & Sciences, WVU Institute of Technology; and Chris McClain, assistant professor of mathematics, Nelson College, WVU Tech.

“We’re so excited that our inaugural OER grant program is off to a great start with the potential of saving WVU students nearly $50,000,” said Martha Yancey, chair of the grants committee. “This first cohort of grant recipients will provide good models for other faculty to learn from and consider during next year’s grant process. We hope to continue building momentum toward even bigger savings in the future.”

The aim of the grants is to encourage development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks, lower the cost of college attendance for students, and support faculty who wish to implement new pedagogical models for classroom instruction. Awardees agree to use their open textbooks in courses to be taught in fall 2019 or spring 2020, and then submit a course review/report.

“Textbook affordability is a very real issue for many students, and we’re excited to see WVU supporting instructors in offering low-cost, or no cost, options for our students.  There is a wide variety of high-quality, free resources available for faculty to consider and we look forward to partnering on these projects from a teaching and learning perspective.” Dr. Keith Bailey, assistant provost for Teaching and Learning and dean of WVU Online.

Colyer received a $2,000 grant for his Sociology 234: The Criminal Justice System course. He intends to replace the textbook he has used with an open textbook, “Criminal Justice: An Overview of the System” by Adam J. McKee. This resource has text, video links, term banks and outbound links to supplemental resources. He also intends to look for additional resources to augment the text by using WVU resources and materials with a CC license, and to develop supplemental modules, quiz banks and diagrams. The book being replaced costs $105. With an expected enrollment nearing 100 students, the anticipated cost saving is more than $10,000.

Holloway received a $2,500 grant to implement changes for his course, Math 128: Plane Trigonometry. In addition to selecting an open textbook, he will create supplementary and interactive materials, online homework problems, interactive graphs and in-class worksheets. He also plans to direct students to MyOpenMath and Desmos, a free graphing calculator. The cost savings will be around $7,000.

McClain received a $2,000 grant for his differential and integral calculus course, which has multiple sections and a total enrollment between 100 and 140 students. His approach includes repackaging course content into a more accessible format and increasing active learning through videos and creation of supplemental materials, through new homework approaches and other types of assessment. The existing textbook costs $300. If 100 students replace the textbook, the savings would be more than $30,000.

As part of the grant, awardees will also:

  • Write a final grant report summarizing the accomplishments and challenges of their experience using the materials as well as the impact on their teaching and student performance. 
  • Participate in at least one faculty interview or focus group.
  • Participate in assessment of the grant program, including surveying students.
  • Deposit any openly licensed materials they create, including syllabus, into an appropriate open repository (e.g. the Research Repository @ WVU).
  • License developed materials with an appropriate Creative Commons license of the grantee’s choice. 
  • Present posters of their experience during Open Education Week, March 2020 and deposit posters in the Research Repository @ WVU.  

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