VCU project awarded state grant supporting the creation of free course materials

August 18, 2022

VCU faculty are a part of one of only six projects awarded in the Spring 2022 cycle of the VIVA Open Course Grants. This funding, managed by The Virtual Library of Virginia,  supports faculty in transitioning to course materials available free to students, such as open educational textbooks and/or library resources.

The VCU-led project was selected out of a strong pool of applications and received a combined $8,000 out of $127,145 awarded this cycle. VCU was one of nine Virginia institutions represented in this round of awards. 

A full list of recipients and brief project descriptions from the Spring 2022 cycle can be found on the VIVA website

Introduction to Anthropology

This VCU-focused project will create an Open Educational Resource (OER) for ANTH103: Introduction to Anthropology, a general education course. While other OER exist for introductory anthropology courses, none covers all subfields of anthropology: archaeology, biological anthropology, cultural anthropology and linguistic anthropology. This project aims to fill that gap by creating a comprehensive textbook through the adaptation of existing OER, with an eye toward diverse examples and authors to reflect VCU’s diverse student population and an increasingly diverse feed.

The project team is led by Matthew Pawlowicz, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology, and includes Amy Rector, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology, Christopher Brooks, Ph.D., professor of anthropology, and Nancy Phaup, Ph.D., adjunct instructor of anthropology, with assistance from Jessica Kirschner, OER librarian.

"We're excited to use this grant to reduce costs for VCU students while also offering a course resource that is a better introduction to anthropology as it is practiced today," said Pawlowicz.

The project should impact almost 1,000 students per year and save students almost $375,000 over five years. 

About the grant

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 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.

VIVA, Virginia’s Academic Library Consortium, 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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