To celebrate Open Education Week, OhioLINK has awarded more than $17,000 to 29 faculty members from 15 Ohio colleges to help them learn about teaching with no-cost course materials.

“Buying textbooks for college courses impacts the affordability of attending college,” said OhioLINK Executive Director Amy Pawlowski. “Our OhioLINK Course Redesign Grants acknowledge that faculty may need extra support to make use of viable no-cost teaching materials in order to help students save money.”

These grants could save more than 4,000 students as much as $300,000 per year as a result of instructors switching to Open Educational Resources (OER) or library materials to teach their classes. Open Educational Resources are high quality, adaptable course materials that do not cost anything for students to use.  

The OhioLINK Affordable Learning Open Course Redesign Grants program is a pilot program funded by the Ohio Technology Consortium (OH-TECH) and the Midwest Higher Education Compact (MHEC). Its purpose is to help faculty learn more about using no-cost course content while also assisting them with redesigning their syllabi.

“While many faculty are interested in making the switch from traditional textbooks, there is a learning curve associated with understanding no-cost options and then adapting their curriculum with alternative materials,” said OhioLINK Director of Affordable Learning Anna Bendo. “OhioLINK’s program acknowledges that required investment of time and provides additional support.”

The 15 institutions whose faculty will receive funding from the OhioLINK OER Course Redesign Grant are: Baldwin Wallace University, Capital University, Central State University, Clark State Community College, Hiram University, Kent State University, Kettering College, Lorain County Community College, Marion Technical College, Ohio Northern University, Stark State College, University of Cincinnati, University of Mount Union, Wittenberg University, and Youngtown State University. Application was open to any full-time or part-time faculty from OhioLINK member institutions. 

The Affordable Learning OER Course Redesign Grant funds faculty participation in a three-week training course on Open Educational Resources (OER) and provides a personalized review of their course syllabus to identify OER and/or library resources that meet the instructor’s learning objectives. The curriculum for OhioLINK's pilot Course Redesign program was based on Cleveland State University's 2021 Textbook Affordability Symposium.

After completing the OER training course, instructors will be able to use at least one open-licensed or library-licensed resource as early as fall semester 2022. They also could choose to create and use openly licensed ancillary materials, such as quiz questions, PowerPoint slides, etc. for use in the 2023 academic year.