Frequently Asked Questions

Open Educational Resources - OER

What are open educational resources (OER)?

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use. (SPARC)

OER can include full courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and any other tools, materials, or techniques used to support access to knowledge.

The power of open educational resources comes from a set of permissions, known as the "5 Rs of OER," which allow authors to:

  • Retain - the right to make, own, and control copies of the content (e.g., download, duplicate, store, and manage)
  • Reuse - the right to use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)
  • Revise - the right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)
  • Remix - the right to combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)
  • Redistribute - the right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

These permissions are usually granted by the copyright holder of a work by licensing it under a Creative Commons license.

OER can also...

  • Increase equity - provides access for all students to the learning materials they need on day 1 (and also in the future)
  • Offer faculty creativity and flexibility in course design / ability to customize relevant and high-quality content
  • Create opportunities to engage students with content creation
  • Support local and global access to teaching and learning as a social justice issue
  • Reduce the cost of education for our students

Do we have to have experience with OER to be considered for the grant?

Nope! Although you do not need to have experience, the willingness to create and publish openly licensed course materials that can be used not only in your course, but by educators around the world at no cost, is a must. All grant recipients will receive the development and support needed to design and implement a successful OER project.

Does the grant output need to be an entirely new textbook?

No! Here are a few examples of projects that aren’t necessarily writing a textbook from scratch:

  • Develop innovative ancillary materials for an existing open textbook
  • Remix / combine two or more existing OER with your new content to fill a gap in the subject area
  • Update or expand upon existing open textbooks to increase diversity, equity, and inclusive representation

Does our proposal need to include a plan to have our OER adopted by classes at all four partner institutions?

No, each proposal should focus on the adoption of OER in the courses/sections over which the project team has direct authority. We will help you get the word out about your new OER after it is published though — at our project institutions and beyond!

Faculty Teams

What is the role of the team lead?

Team leads should be a tenured or tenure-track faculty member. The team lead has responsibility for serving as the primary point of communication and liaison between the team, their department(s), and the OER for Social Justice project team and meeting deadlines for grant deliverables on established timeline.

What if one of our team members is on sabbatical during the grant period?

If one or more of the applicants will be on sabbatical during the grant period, please address how this individual will support the team’s work during that time to meet expectations for deliverables and payment.

May we complete the project in a shorter time-period than the 3-year grant?

The target deliverables, timeline, and payment schedule are based on the grant ending in December 2025. Teams that wish to complete the work sooner may customize this timeline in partnership with the OER librarian and their institutional liaison.

May we submit an application with a team with less than 3 or more than 4 members?

Teams of only one or two faculty are not eligible for this project. However, teams of up to five will be considered, with the understanding that the total award amount will not change.

Can faculty teams have members from institutions other than LMU, SCU, SMC, or USF?

No, all team members receiving grant funds must be from one of the four partner institutions.

Are full-time faculty with a year-to-year (rather than multi-year) contract eligible?

Faculty team eligibility requirements are designed to secure as stable of a team as possible to commit to the three-year duration of the grant. Full-time lecturers, instructors, or clinical faculty who have a history of repeated single-year contracts and experience with the department and/or courses in the proposal may apply, with the support of their department chair. Project narratives and/or letters of support should address how the unique make-up of the team is designed to best meet the goals of the grant.

Will there be a second call for proposals / a second round of funding?

No, we will only issue a second call for proposals if we do not receive enough qualified applicants to fund twelve project teams in Spring 2023.

High Enrollment

What is a high-enrollment course?

High-enrollment courses means courses that are required for a degree-granting program... that either have total student enrollments within the top third of courses: (a) At the lead institution, if applicable, or at one or more of the consortia partner institutions; (b) in the state; or (c) nationally as compared to other academic or career and technical education courses. (Source: Department of Education Open Textbook Pilot grant)

View and download a list of the top 50 courses by enrollment at each institution from Summer 2022. Note that courses with enrollment lower than the top 50 may still be eligible. Please check with your institutional liaison with any questions about course eligibility. 

Applications for courses with typical enrollment that falls into the 1/3 range on these lists, but are not listed on the summer 2022 excel sheet, will receive full consideration.

May a team apply for a high enrollment course where team members do not teach all sections?

You may, but your application will be stronger if you have a team with the ability and the authority to impact student-savings across multiple sections.

May a team apply for this grant for a course that does not fall in the top third of total student enrollments?

Priority consideration will go towards proposals that address courses that meet the definition above. However, there may be circumstances where a proposed OER could be applicable towards courses being taught in two or more disciplines, or at multiple institutions. Together an interdisciplinary or inter-institutional project team could increase the impact of this new OER on the student body.