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Faculty: Apply by Feb. 23 for state grants to switch to open or no-cost course materials

December 14, 2020

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

Applications are due Feb. 23, 2021. Award notification will take place on May 14, 2021.

This program will award grants from $2,000 to $30,000 to assist faculty in adopting, adapting or creating 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 on the Open Course Grants website. A list of past grant recipients can also be found on that page, include seven projects involving VCU faculty.

One such project is a collaboration between VCU, J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College, and the University of Mary Washington led by Associate Professor Kathryn Murphy-Judy, Ph.D., which will create student-driven, open textbooks for 202-level foreign language courses. 

“Our project to co-create student-driven OER e-textbooks for intermediate language courses at VCU, thanks to a VIVA [Open Course] grant, is revitalizing our modalities of language teaching for 21st century learners,” said Murphy-Judy. “The project’s student researcher/developers are gaining critical experiential learning while ensuring that the e-textbooks speak to their peers. We cannot express how much our Affordable Course Content Award, VIVA [Open Course grant], UROP, and undergraduate research FWS support through the Honors College have made this possible. VCU Libraries has been instrumental every step of the way with expertise on copyright, Creative Commons licensing, online research, grant opportunities, as well as financial and moral support.” 

Questions about the program may be submitted to VCU Libraries is eager to assist faculty in applying for grant funds and identifying multi-institutional partners. The libraries can also support projects by serving as project partners. Interested faculty should contact Jessica Kirschner, open educational resources librarian at

“VCU Libraries is excited that Virginia, through the VIVA Open Grants, continues to support the advancement of open and affordable course content across the state,” said Kirschner. “This opportunity is an important part of the textbook affordability efforts at VCU, and we look forward to seeing creative proposals from VCU faculty for these funds. We are happy to help faculty ensure their application is competitive.”

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

VIVA will be hosting three webinars to review the VIVA Open course Grant program and the application process.

Additional questions about the grant 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 ($2,000 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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