Libraries Accepting Applications for Open Education Initiative Faculty Grants

The UMass Amherst Libraries are accepting applications for spring 2017 Open Education Initiative (OEI) faculty grants.

Now in its eighth cycle, the OEI is a faculty incentive program that encourages the use of existing, or the creation of new openly licensed, low-cost or free information resources to support UMass Amherst students’ learning. Applications are due by Wednesday, May 3.

Data shows that the cost of textbooks affects the academic choices and success of students. When required to buy prohibitively expensive textbooks, students will often opt for illegal PDFs online, buy outdated textbooks or not acquire textbooks at all.

The OEI aims to encourage the development of alternatives to high-cost textbooks by supporting the adoption, adaptation, or creation of Open Educational Resources (OER). It provides support to faculty to implement these approaches, thereby lowering the cost of college for students, which contributes to their retention, progression, and graduation, as well as encouraging faculty engagement in new pedagogical models for classroom instruction.

To date, the OEI has generated a savings of over $1.6 million for students in classes that utilize open educational resources or free library material and is a model for similar programs across the country.

The grants will be awarded on four levels of funding; Adopt, Adapt, Create and Other, and are available based on the scale of the project proposed.

Amounts range from $500 for incorporating an existing open textbook or open course content (such as OpenStax or TED Talk videos); $1,500-$2,500 for combining existing OER with new or existing openly licensed content to bridge gaps in available resources; or $10,000 for creating a new open educational resource, such as authoring a new openly licensed textbook, when there are no sufficient OER currently available to meet learning objectives.

For details and to apply, visit

Grant winners will be announced in May and will be expected to implement their projects by the fall 2017 or winter/spring/summer 2018 semesters.