VCU Faculty awarded state grant supporting the creation of no-cost course materials

September 14, 2020

VCU faculty are a part of two of 11 projects awarded in the Spring 2020 cycle of the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) Course Redesign Grants. This funding supports faculty in transitioning to course materials available at no cost to students, such as open educational textbooks and/or library resources.

The VCU projects were the two highest awarded projects, receiving a combined $53,827 out of $130,538 awarded this cycle. VCU was one of 16 Virginia institutions represented in this round of awards. Both VCU projects represent multi-institutional partnerships, impacting students across Virginia. 

A full list of recipients and brief project descriptions from the Spring 2020 cycle can be found on the VIVA website

Interactive Family and Community Engagements OER for Teachers

This collaboration between VCU, University of Virginia and James Madison University will create a suite of interactive module-based resources to support teacher preparation focusing on partnerships among educators, families, and communities. These resources will incorporate microlearning performance supports, including the use of simulation and case studies, to address the need for educators to responsively engage with families within birth- grade 12 educational contexts.

The project team members are Adria Hoffman, Ph.D., Anna Lou Schaberg Professor Of Practice (VCU), Christine Spence, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (VCU), Judy Paulick, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (UVA), and Maryam S. Sharifian, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (JMU).

“We developed this proposal in the context of a statewide critical teacher shortage and increasing costs to complete traditional teacher preparation programs,” said Hoffman. “Now, collaboration with families is even more necessary as the majority of Virginia's public school students learn remotely. We're thrilled to receive the funding needed to develop resources to better prepare future educators and strengthen the skills of new teachers as they develop family-school partnerships in ways that look different than anything we've experienced before.”

World Language OER Textbook Collabortory

This collaboration between VCU, J. Sergeant Reynolds Community College, and the University of Mary Washington will create student-driven open textbooks for 202-level courses in Spanish, German, and American Sign Language (ASL), based on the French OER, L’Atelier RÉEL (“OER/Real Workshop" in French) created at VCU. The group will also create instructors’ manuals and workshops for other faculty seeking to adopt and adapt the works for their own institutions. 

The project is led by Kathryn Murphy-Judy, Ph.D., Associate Professor (VCU), Marcel Rotter, Ph.D., Associate Professor (University of Mary Washington), and Ernesto Quintero, Assistant Professor (Reynolds Community College).  Other VCU project team members include Laura Middlebrooks, Ph.D., Assistant Professor (VCU), Thomas Woodward, Associate Director of Innovation, ALT Lab, Jeff Everhart, Full Stack Web Developer, ALT Lab, and Jessica Kirschner, Open Educational Resources Librarian.

“Our OER e-textbook project grows out of a collaboration between VCU language faculty and students in which we co-create relevant, proficiency-based, interactive materials based on authentic media,” Murphy-Judy said. “Scaffolded lessons support the acquisition of communicative skills as students engage in interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational tasked-based and active learning. Project materials promise to increase student language proficiency as well as learner autonomy in a very R.E.A.L. fashion that, through the VIVA Grant, can now be extended other colleges and universities in Virginia."

The creation of L’Atelier RÉEL, as well as the Spanish version, was supported by the VCU Affordable Course Content Awards administered by VCU Libraries.  The project also builds upon synergies of a Mellon Humanities Grant (VCU-Reynolds-JTCC), the SCHEV’s Transfer VA World Languages alignment (all VA HEIs), and digital humanities intercollegiate efforts with the University of Mary Washington.

About the Grant

The VIVA Course Redesign Grants, recently renamed the VIVA Open Course Grants, are designed to 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. The program award 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.

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). 

Visit the VIVA website for additional information about the grant.


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