2021 Regents OER Grant Program announces funding for projects

Sep 24, 2021

Libraries at Iowa State University, University of Iowa, and University of Northern Iowa are proud to announce that grants have been awarded to five faculty teams to support the creation of free, openly licensed course materials. This funding opportunity provides intensive training and support for faculty writing open textbooks or other materials to replace those that are expensive and more traditional.

In addition to saving students at ISU, UI, and UNI an estimated $308,000 per year, the new resources created through the 2021 Regents OER Grant Program prioritize equity, further reducing the cost of course materials and removing barriers inside and outside the classroom. The OERs are likely to be adopted at other institutions, expanding the impact and cost savings beyond Iowa Regent universities.

A team of principal investigators (PIs), including Constance Beecher, Iowa State associate professor; Nandita Gurjar, Northern Iowa assistant professor; and Sohyun Meacham, Northern Iowa associate professor; was awarded $23,550 for the proposal Creating Open Resource Textbook for Methods of Teaching Early Literacy.

Upon completion, the project will be a comprehensive resource that replaces 12 books currently used in courses taught by the PIs. The OER will be a multimodal resource that focuses on the literacy development of Pre-K through third-grade elementary students.

“We are excited to create an open-resource textbook that addresses early literacy and language development from diverse perspectives. Current offerings lack depth in language development, content integration, and working with emergent bilingual learners,” Beecher said.

The project will support three courses, one at Iowa State and two at UNI. This OER will support approximately 450 students and save them a combined $52,200 per year.

“Our collaboration will help to align the educational opportunities for future teachers' experience, share knowledge and expertise across institutions, and create course materials that are relevant to the local context,” Beecher continued.

The Regents OER Grant Program was created with support from the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER Fund), established in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in 2020. In June 2021, librarians from each Iowa Regent university came together to develop the program. Abbey Elder, Open Access and scholarly communications librarian, represented Iowa State in the monumental endeavor.

"It was exciting to see so many innovative projects being proposed by faculty from all three Regents institutions," said Elder. "This is the first time we've collaborated in this capacity, and I think it will be a great opportunity for instructors across our institutions to work alongside one another and think more critically about how they can leverage one another's expertise to make the best resources for our students."

For additional information about Open Educational Resources, visit oer.iastate.edu.

The list that follows includes other projects funded this year:

Communication for College, Career, and Civic Life
PIs: Ryan McGeough, Kyle Rudick, Danielle McGeough, and Kathryn Golsan (UNI)
Course supported: COMM 1000
Award amount: $21,400
Estimated student savings: $82,000 per year

Elementary Science Methods I and II: Ancillary Project
PIs: Ted Neal, Jeff Nordine, & LaVerne Logan (UI)
Courses supported: EDTL3165 and EDTL3166
Award amount: $5,550
Estimated student savings: $5,356 per year (in addition to previous savings)

Elementary Spanish: An OER Textbook
PIs: Giovanni Zimotti, Rachel Klevar, Braeden Jones (UI), and Gabriela Olivares-Cuhat (UNI)
Courses supported: SPAN1001
Award amount: $25,560
Estimated student savings: $65,000 per year

Integrated Learning Resources for an Inclusive and Adaptive Undergraduate Music Theory and Musicianship Core Curriculum
PIs: Randall Harlow, Heather Peyton, Jonathan Schwabe, and Daniel Swilley (UNI)
Courses supported: 12 courses in School of Music core (Music Theory I-IV, Aural Training I-IV, and Sight Singing I-IV)
Award amount: $21,400
Estimated student savings: $33,640 per year