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Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI): Current Round (Fall 2018 Couses)

Call for Mini-Grant Applications

We are excited to announce a call for proposals for the WSU Library Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI). We invite you to apply for mini-grants to redesign courses using open educational resources. The deadline for submitting a mini-grant application is April 22nd, at midnight. Twelve $1,000 awards are available for Fall 2018 courses. Ten awards are funded by Reach Out for Schools. Two awards, reserved for Graduate level courses, are funded by the WSU Graduate School.

Please join us at one of our upcoming OERI informational sessions to be held in the Center for Teaching and Learning, located in Sullivan Building Room 117:

  • Friday, March 30th at 12 pm
  • Tuesday, April 3rd at 11 am
  • Monday, April 9 at 2 pm
  • Wednesday, April 18 at 10 am

Application is open now:

For additional inquiries, contact Matt Bejune (, Vicki Gruzynski (, or Shu Qian (

Mini-Grant Application Rubric

The OERI Review Committee, comprised of representatives of the library and other campus faculty and staff interested in supporting open educational resources, will review grant proposals. Please see the rubric below for specific criteria.

OERI Review Committee

  • Rosemary Ahmadi (IT)
  • Matt Bejune (Library)
  • Sue Foo (Education Department)
  • Vicki Gruzynski (Library)
  • Thomas Kelley (Enrollment Management)
  • Shu Qian (Library)
  • Daniel Guarracino (Assessment and Planning)

Frequently Asked Questions

* What are Open Educational Resources?
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use. Generally, this permission is granted by use of an open license (for example, Creative Commons licenses) which allows anyone to freely use, adapt and share the resource—anytime, anywhere. “Open” permissions are typically defined in terms of the “5R’s”: users are free to Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix and Redistribute these educational materials. (Description from
* Why was the WSU Library OERI launched? 
The cost of educational resources, including but not limited to textbooks, is a major expense for many WSU students. Nationally, the average college student spends $1,200 per year on textbooks. A recent report by the U.S. Public Research Interest Group ( documents some of the ways costs affect student learning. According to the report, 65% of students skipped purchasing a textbook due to cost. Nearly all of the students who had foregone purchasing a textbook were concerned that their choice would hurt their grade. Nearly half said the cost of textbooks impacted how many and which classes they took each semester. A substantial majority, 82%, said they would do significantly better in a course if the textbook was available for free online and buying a hard copy was optional. 
The WSU Library OERI, modeled after the UMass Library Open Education Initiative, seeks to improve instructional effectiveness while addressing cost and access barriers to education.

* How will grants be awarded?
Grant proposals will be reviewed by a selection committee comprised of representatives of the library and other campus faculty and staff interested in supporting open educational resources. Please see the rubric on the OERI library guide for specific criteria.
* What does the $1,000 mini-grant cover?
Mini-grant awards enable faculty members to complete their action plans as proposed in their applications. The money is primarily intended to pay faculty for their time in converting a course to one that utilizes open educational resources.
* Are mini-grants limited to the creation of open textbooks?
No, open educational resources include a great variety of educational materials including textbooks, syllabi, content modules, assignments, simulations, learning objects, labs, articles, E-books, art galleries, audio/visual libraries, software, calculators, analytics, etc.
* How much of my course needs to incorporate open educational resources? 
The review committee will consider the level of integration of open educational resources in a given course. Generally speaking, more open educational resources is better; however, the course does not need to be 100% "open" to be funded. For example, some of the funded proposals in the first round of mini-grants included a mix of open educational resources and conventional fee-based resources.
* Who can apply?
Full- or part-time faculty teaching classes at Worcester State University are eligible.
* Can I submit more than one application?
Yes, however due to limited funding, it is doubtful we would be able to fund more than one grant per applicant in a given funding cycle.
* May I submit a joint application?
Yes, however there is a maximum of a $1,000 award per application that would be divided equally among applicants. Example: Two faculty collaborate on one course. If the proposal is funded, each applicant will be awarded $500.
* May I submit a proposal for a course I haven't taught before?
* If my proposal is accepted and funded, how will I be compensated?
Funding is contingent upon the course running during the Fall 2018 semester. We reserve the right to fund a canceled course in a subsequent semester as funding is available. The mini-grant awards will be distributed in two parts. The first half will be awarded near the start of the semester after it is determined that the course will run. The second half will be released upon completion of the applicant's proposed action plan and assessment activities. The award will be taxed.
* If I have previously been awarded a WSU Library OERI mini-grant, can I apply again?
We welcome applications from previous winners; however, we will give preference to applications submitted by faculty who have not already received an OERI mini-grant. 

* If I applied in a previous semester and my grant application was denied, can I resubmit?
Yes, please resubmit! Feel free to make an appointment with Vicki, Shu, or Matt to discuss how your application can be improved.