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

July 1, 2021

VCU faculty are a part of three of eight projects awarded in the Spring 2021 cycle of the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) Open Course 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-led projects were selected out of a strong pool of 31 applications and were the three highest awarded projects, receiving a combined $89,000 out of $155,885 awarded this cycle. VCU was one of 11 Virginia institutions represented in this round of awards. 

A full list of recipients and brief project descriptions from the Spring 2021 cycle can be found on the VIVA website

Introduction to Special Education

This multi-institutional project aims to create the Introduction to Special Education Resource Repository, an open access repository of curated materials to support teacher preparation in special education. The team will identify existing materials, both textual and multimedia, and develop additional core content and supplementary materials where needed across three modules: legal aspects of special education, exceptionalities, and practices.  

Led by Serra De Arment, Ph.D., assistant professor of special education, this collaboration includes team members from George Mason University, Longwood University, Old Dominion University and Virginia State University.

“Aspiring special educators across the state take similar introductory courses aligned to Virginia Department of Education teacher licensure regulations,” De Arment said. “This context creates a ripe opportunity for faculty in special education across institutions to practice what we preach by collaborating to ensure these courses are widely accessible, student-focused, and responsive to the dynamic nature of our field. Our project will develop the Introduction to Special Education Resource Repository to replace traditional textbooks. Beyond the potential for significant savings for students, this project importantly aims to improve representation of diverse voices and perspectives while advancing pedagogical transformation.”

Crisis Resources Management for Nurse Anesthesia and Medical Students

This multi-institutional project aims to create a comprehensive open textbook on Crisis Resource Management (CRM) for nurse anesthesia students, medical students and anesthesiology residents. In addition to the core text, the team hopes to create multimedia and other ancillary materials to enhance the learning experience for this key topic in anesthesia care.

Led by Jiale (Gary) Hu, Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor of nurse anesthesia, this collaboration includes team members from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Nurse Anesthesia and Department of Anesthesiology, Old Dominion University and West Virginia University.

“The practice of anesthesia is complex and dynamic, often involving interconnected components, uncertainties, and unpredictable adverse events,” said Hu. “Crisis resource management (CRM) plays a vital role in delivering safe anesthesia care. In our current CRM OER project, we will synthesize the evidence and develop an open textbook and multiple ancillary materials. We believe our project will provide valuable knowledge and resources to promote the integration of CRM principles in anesthesia practice. We appreciate the support from the VCU Libraries and the VIVA grant to make it happen.”

Teaching Anti-Racism

This project will create resources for the new general education elective course, Race and Racism in America. The OER will include expert interviews, as well as course readings, assessments, figures, and other supplemental content. The project is led by Mignonne C. Guy, Ph.D.

About the Grants

The VIVA Open Course Grants, formerly the VIVA Course Redesign Grants, are designed to empower Virginia faculty with the resources and time they need to to develop their curricula using open, library, or no cost resources. The program awards grants from $2,000 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 fund 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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