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Open Educational Resources

About The Grants

The Center for Excellence in Learning & Teaching, Extended Learning, Campus Technology Services, and Penfield Library will fund a number of grants to implement course conversion to Open Educational Resources. This funding's purpose is to develop, enhance and institutionalize new and ongoing OER initiatives across SUNY. Our goal is the establishment of SUNY, especially SUNY Oswego, as a national leader in OER.

What is included in the grant:

  • $500 minimum stipend (to be determined by the OER steering group; based on approach used - see below
  • Support from the above parties with regard to creating, finding and adapting materials; course redesign; assessment; and accessibility review. 
    • We'll begin with a kick-off meeting with an instructional designer and a librarian. 

Grant recipients will be expected to:

  • Become contributing members of a community of practice surrounding the use of OERs at Oswego.
  • Submit a summary at the end of the semester, sharing lessons learned and assessment data (about 500 - 1000 words). 

Applying For A Grant

To apply for the grant, please submit the following as a Google doc:

  1. Information about the courses you plan to convert:

    • Course names and numbers
    • Number of sections for each course included
    • Estimated enrollment data for each section included
    • Semester(s) course will be taught (Spring 2018, Summer 2018, or Fall 2018 only) 
  2. Description of how the project will be structured and organized, including a brief timeline. We recommend including:

    • A brief outline of course objectives
    • Potential approaches (see below) and materials (see the OERs by Subject section of this page) to be used to meet these objectives 
    • Elements of your course that will require redesign  
    • Reflection on how you will assess your project’s success

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Applications are due no later than Friday, November 17, 2017

Approaches for Using OER

Here are a few potential approaches to explore: 

Approaches Oswego Faculty & Staff Using This Approach

(1) Use / repurpose a pre-packaged course from an OER platform such as Lumen or Saylor Academy. OER platforms can provide all the necessary low/no cost course materials, and many integrate directly with Blackboard.

(We don't know of anyone at Oswego doing this, yet)

(2) Replace your textbook with an open one. The Open Textbook Library is a great place to start - it has books from a number of open publishers (such as OpenStax and Open SUNY Textbooks) along with reviews from teaching faculty. 

Mya Brown
Using Theatrical Worlds in THT 110

(3) Use a variety of open educational resources to meet your course objectives. Some examples would include chapters from OER textbooks, open lab software, Creative Commons or public domain multimedia, and more.

(If you feel your course requires some proprietary material, we strongly suggest you work with Penfield Library to lower or eliminate costs for students. Penfield has books, ebooks, articles, and multimedia databases (e.g. Kanopy, Naxos Music Library), which are freely available to students, faculty, and staff. Please consult with your librarian so that the library can ensure uninterrupted access whenever possible.) 

Lisa Seppi
Using only OERs in many of her art history courses

Brian Moritz
Using a mix of OERs and library resources in JLM 319

(4) If there aren't any OERs in the area you're teaching, create some...

Craig DeLancey
Wrote A Concise Introduction to Logic

Joanne O'Toole, Maria Murray, & Michelle Duffy
Contributed chapters to Steps to Success: Crossing the Bridge Between Literacy Research and Practice

Kristen Munger
Contributed chapter and edited Steps to Success: Crossing the Bridge Between Literacy Research and Practice

We offer these approaches as a starting point - you're welcome to take your own approach, and we'd love to hear about it!


This RFP was copied and modified from a similar document created by Baruch College.

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This guide is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

Why OERs?

The average cost of college textbooks is $1,200 per year. For many students, this is prohibitively expensive. These students may choose not to register for courses that require expensive textbooks, or they may end up withdrawing from (or worse, failing) courses because they cannot afford the textbooks. These patterns can lead to an increase in the number of years students spend in college, thereby reducing the likelihood of degree completion.

Since we want our students to succeed at Oswego and beyond, we are investigating ways to reduce these costs.

One approach is to reduce textbook costs is by offering courses that use free and online Open Educational Resources (OERs). These instructional materials can be used, reused, and often remixed and customized under an intellectual property license that permits their free use while ensuring authors retain copyright to their work. 

Early data suggests that adoption of OERs leads to improved outcomes in the classroom (see the What & Why section of this site for data).

SUNY was awarded $4,000,000 from New York State to establish, sustain, and enhance new and ongoing OER initiatives throughout SUNY. The expected result will be large-scale course conversions throughout the university system. This initiative seeks to engage faculty in the redesign of courses through the replacement of proprietary textbooks with open educational resources. The short term goal is to reduce costs for students and accelerate their progress through college, but an important secondary impact is to change the culture to create systems and structures that better connect curricula and pedagogy to updated student learning outcomes. Of particular interest are proposals that target high enrollment general education or gateway classes, or "Z" degrees (entire OER Zero Cost Degree pathways).

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