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Open Educational Resources

About OER

Open Educational Resources (OER) promote the use of textbooks and other materials for free or at a minimal charge. By collaborating to create high-quality shared texts, the academic community can dramatically lower the cost of textbooks and class materials for the students they teach. Learn more at the SPARC website or on our Research Guide at

The UA OER Incentive Program

To encourage faculty to move from high cost textbooks to open educational resources (OER), the University Libraries and the Global Campus offer incentives to faculty of $3000 to adopt OER open access course materials or $7500 to create OER open access course materials.

Adopting OER open access course materials is defined as incorporating previously published open access materials into one's class, thereby eliminating the need for students to purchase textbooks or other course materials.

Creating OER open access course materials is defined as creating at least 75% of the course content as new and original course material, with the remainder being adopted open access materials, thereby eliminating the need for students to purchase textbooks or other course materials. Adopting means reuse; creating means build from scratch.

How to Apply

All applicants must submit an application form to request funding; the request is reviewed by members of the Open Education Resources Committee, which includes teaching faculty, Libraries' faculty and instructional designers. Up to ten awards will be available for the 2016-17 academic year.

Download the application form.

Due Dates and Timelines

OER adoption

  • Application deadline:
    • September 29, 2017 for Spring  2018 adoptions (Award notification by October 23, 2017)
  • Curating textbook materials:
    • October-December 2017 for Spring 2018 Adoptions
  • Teaching the course with the OER: Fall 2017 or Spring 2018
  • Final evaluation due:
    • June 11, 2018 for Spring 2018 courses or

OER creation

  • Application deadline:
    • September 29, 2017 for Fall 2018 adoption (Award notification by October 23, 2017)
  • Creating textbook/course materials:
    • October 2017-July 2018 for Fall 2018 adoptions, with completed open resource published and publicly available by August 1, 2018
  • Teaching the course with the created OER: Spring 2018 or Fall 2018
  • Final summary due:
    • June 11, 2018 for Spring 2018 courses or
    • January 10, 2019 for Fall 2018 courses

Selection Criteria

Selection of award recipients will be based on the overall quality of the application and the feasibility of the completion timeline. Preference will be given to proposals that:

  • Serve more students
  • Focus on a university, college or departmental core course
  • Will be used in multiple sections or classes
  • Replace expensive course materials
  • Can be reused in future courses without restriction (OER creation applicants)
  • Demonstrate viability during pre-award review meeting

See the full scoring rubric.

What Happens Next?

Successful applicants will be required to attend a planning session(s) with a librarian and an instructional designer. Librarians will help faculty search for open access materials and navigate copyright issues. Instructional designers will help faculty organize developed or curated resources, re-mix and adapt chosen textbooks, and assist in creating supplemental learning components/materials if needed. They will also assist in checking materials for accessibility and compliance. Additional meetings with the team as well as with a member of the bookstore team may be recommended.

OER Adoption awards are dispersed in three phases:

  1. $1,000 upon meeting with the team and submitting the textbook and/or course content outline and sources
  2. $1,500 upon teaching the class with the adopted material
  3. $500 upon submitting a short evaluation on OER use after teaching with the material for at least one semester.

OER Creation awards are dispersed in four phases: 

  1. $1000 upon submitting the textbook outline and project completion timeline
  2. $2000 at the mid-point of the completion date if all timeline targets have been met
  3. $3000 upon the delivery and publication of the final project (edited and formatted) and made available on an accessible open platform or format and published with an open creative commons license
  4. $1500 when the resource is adopted and used in one or more courses and a short summary reflecting on the implementation, impact and reception of the resource is submitted.

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