Innovation Fund proposal will accelerate open educational resources

The Mary Idema Pew Library at dusk
Image Credit: Valerie Hendrickson

The most recent proposal to the Innovation Fund will seek to expand University Libraries’ publishing capacity for open educational resources, or OER. 

Open Educational Resources are textbooks and other teaching materials that are freely available to use, share, modify and reuse. The proposal will work to improve accessibility of previously published OER, and establish a model for OER collaboration between Grand Valley and K-12 institutions in Michigan.

The Innovation Fund, one of President Philomena V. Mantella's initiatives to propel Grand Valley forward, will invest specifically in proposals that cover one of the five presidential priorities outlined by Mantella. 

This proposal addresses Mantella's 4th commitment to action, expanding access to new learners. 

Matt Ruen, scholarly communications outreach coordinator for University Libraries, submitted the proposal and said using OER in a course can remove a financial barrier to learning and ensure that all students have access to the materials from day one.

"In the 2019-2020 academic year, GVSU faculty used OER in at least 14 courses, impacting 4,700 students for nearly half a million dollars in estimated student savings," Ruen noted.

Thus far, activities around OER at the university have relied heavily on early adopters, and this project aims to make it easier for more faculty to jump on board. 

"If you imagine OER as a bus line, we’re adding more stops so that people who are interested in getting involved don’t have to walk all the way to the early adopter station," said Ruen.

Initially, the fund will support the hiring of a student editorial assistant and an adjunct OER curator to identify potential OER for high-enrollment courses at Grand Valley.

The two-year program's budget will also allocate funds toward faculty workshops and $200 stipends for faculty who conduct a thorough review of an OER and then publish their review through the Open Textbook Library

Mantella congratulated Ruen on the proposal and said it provides a unique opportunity to support Grand Valley's diverse student body by relieving the financial burden that can sometimes come with purchasing course materials. 

Current OER collections can be found through ScholarWorks@GVSU

An overhead image of a the inside of the Mary Idema Pew Library.
Image Credit: Kendra Stanley-Mills