An open textbook is very similar to a commercial textbook, but with the key benefit of being publicly available online and free of charge. Another important feature of open textbooks is that they have an open license that allows others to reuse, download and revise, and redistribute them.
Not only can students save a lot of money and have access to high-quality open textbooks, but they can benefit from receiving customized course material that faculty consider more relevant for their courses.
Faculty can always start with adopting an existing open textbook, and consider customizing it at a later date by adding local content, more inclusive perspectives or even removing material that is not as meaningful to a specific course.
Open textbooks also contribute to greater equity among students in higher education as they provide free access to the entire open textbook, which students can download, keep forever, share and print.
A new model for OER grants
What’s also new about Concordia’s OER program is the way that OER grants are being awarded. The new model now provides funding for adopting and customizing open textbooks on a rolling basis, meaning that there are no longer any deadlines to submit grant application forms.
Faculty can be awarded up to $1,000 with the Adopt Grant if they wish to identify and adopt an existing open textbook.
If faculty wish to customize an existing open textbook — for example, by adding, removing or remixing content — they can apply for up to $5,000 with the Customize Grant.
Hiring a student with the grant funds can help faculty with the work associated with revising their course syllabi and implementing the changes they need to make when adopting or customizing an open textbook. The Concordia Library can provide support and training, where needed.
Faculty can take advantage of these OER grants now and use open textbooks for their fall courses, bringing value in a variety of ways to the teaching and learning experience for their students.
Browse through the OER by Discipline Resource Guide: Concordia University and consult the OER Grants webpage for more details.