Apply by Feb. 28 for state grants to switch to open or no-cost course materials

January 21, 2020
An open birdcage with books flying out of it in front of a soft yellow background.
Jeff Bland

VCU Libraries, in support of open and affordable course materials across the VCU community, announces that a new round of VIVA Course Redesign Grants is open for applications. These grants empower Virginia faculty with the resources and time they need to redesign courses by swapping textbooks and other expensive course materials for open, no cost, or library options. 

Applications are due February 28, 2020. Award notification will take place May 15, 2020.

This program awards grants from $1,000 to $30,000 to assist faculty in transitioning to course materials available at no cost to students, such as open educational textbooks and/or library resources. Applications that include multi-institutional partnerships are encouraged. 

More information, including the full Request for Proposals, application details, and the evaluation rubric are available online. 

Previous VCU projects received grants in earlier cycles. One project was by Victor Chen, Ph.D., assistant professor, Gabriela León-Pérez, Ph.D., assistant professor, Julie A. Honnold, Ph.D., associate professor, and Volkan Aytar, Ph.D., instructor. The team aimed to create a research methods textbook for sociology. 

“We're excited to put together a high-quality methods textbook that makes sociological knowledge freely accessible to students,” Chen said. “We know the statewide competition for grant funding can be intense, but VCU is well ahead of other universities when it comes to supporting the growing field of open educational resource development. The advice, resources, contacts and other backing we received from VCU Libraries were a tremendous help in crafting a winning proposal for the VIVA grant.”

VCU Libraries is eager to assist faculty in applying for grant funds and identifying multi-institutional partners. The libraries will also support projects by serving as project partners. Interested faculty should contact Jessica Kirschner, Open Educational Resources Librarian at

“VCU Libraries is excited about this opportunity to support faculty in their increased use of open and affordable course content across the VCU community,” said Kirschner. “We look forward to seeing creative proposals from VCU faculty for these funds, and are happy to help faculty ensure their application is competitive.”

Additional information on open and affordable course content can be found at

Questions about the VIVA program may be submitted to

Full or part-time faculty may apply. Proposals may involve one person or teams that include: teaching faculty, librarians, instructional designers, subject matter experts, editors, graphic designers or others as needed. 

Proposals fall into three grant classifications: 

  • Adopt: Those who "adopt" a resource will be using existing resource(s) or with minimal editorial changes.
  • Adapt: Those who "adapt" will be modifying resource(s), combining several existing resources with changes, or creating ancillaries for an existing resource. This includes resources created through the curation of currently available materials. 
  • Create: Those who "create" an OER resource will be creating the content all or largely from scratch.

Awards will be evaluated by scale: Standard scale ($1,000 to $10,000) for smaller impact projects; or large scale ($10,001-$30,000) for projects with broad impact through high-enrollment, broad change or content creation. 

The Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) administers the grant program. VIVA is a consortium of academic libraries that collaborates on public policy priorities and shares costs and negotiates joint use of resources to strengthen stewardship of state dollars. The Virginia General Assembly and member libraries funds VIVA, which is also sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV). 


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