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Faculty: Apply now for a 2019 Affordable Course Content Award

April 23, 2019

VCU Libraries, the Office of the Provost, the ALT Lab and Online@VCU, and the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence announce that the 2019 round of the Affordable Course Content Awards is open.

The program supports faculty adoption of zero-cost resources and creation of openly-licensed alternatives to expensive textbooks.

Deadlines are May 31 for intent to apply and June 30 for completed applications.

Faculty members are invited to apply for awards in three categories:

  • Adopt: Redesign your course to incorporate open or free educational resources with little to no editorial changes made to the resource.
  • Adapt: Modify an open resource, combine and/or modify multiple open resources, or create ancillaries for an existing resource.
  • Create: Create a substantially new openly licensed resource, where it is possible to demonstrate that quality resources are not currently available to meet learning objectives.

Full guidelines are available on the affordable course content awards web page. Faculty who want to apply must indicate their intent through an online form by May 31, 2019 and participate in a pre-application consultation. Completed application forms are due June 30, 2019. Project timelines may vary but the project must be implemented by Fall 2020 at the latest.

Interested faculty can also reach out to Open Educational Resources Librarian Jessica Kirschner with their questions. “We’re excited to offer a third round of awards for faculty looking to use zero-cost materials in their classes,” said Kirschner. “Textbook prices have been steadily increasing for years, and for many students, these costs negatively impact their academic success. Zero-cost materials not only lower the textbook cost burden for students but also provide other avenues to increase student success, such as customizing a text specifically for VCU.”

A 2018 survey of more than 21,000 college students in Florida found that textbook prices led to 64 percent of students not purchasing a required textbook, 40 percent not registering for a specific course, 36 percent earning a poor grade, and 23 percent dropping a course.

Free course materials remove this financial barrier to access, increasing the possibility that students can succeed in their academic careers. Course materials with open licenses also allow faculty to tailor materials to their specific classes, creating engaging learning experiences for students. The Affordable Course Content Awards support faculty who wish to follow this path to enhance the learning experience for students across VCU.

Visit the affordable course content awards page to learn more and see previous grantees’ projects.

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