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Open Education Initiative Faculty Grants Support Innovation, Access, and Learning

Virginia Tech University Libraries welcome submissions for 2017/2018 Open Education Initiative Faculty Grants. This is the second year for the program, which utilizes grant funding and a curated network of project support representatives to encourage faculty use, creation, and adaption of openly-licensed information resources to support student learning.

Four winning projects will receive up to $3,000 each. The grants are awarded with the goal of supporting faculty who are interested in creating or adapting open education resources (OER) and new forms of digital scholarship.

OER are teaching, learning, and research resources that are freely available, most often through the use of Creative Commons licenses. OER are therefore adaptable, sharable, and affordable alternatives to traditional textbooks and homework software access codes. In short, not only do OER save students money, but they provide faculty more freedom to teach.

Virginia Tech has celebrated several OER milestones this past year. The 440-page textbook Fundamentals of Business (2016) by Stephen Skripak, which was adapted for use in the introductory level business course MGT1104 Foundations of Business, recently surpassed 31,000 downloads. Now being used for the third semester, not only has the textbook saved VT students and students at twelve other educational institutions thousands of dollars, but it has provided faculty members freedom to update the book as needed.

In addition, two winning projects from the first year of the program are nearing completion. They include an open textbook on Electromagnetics (to be completed in January 2018), and a series of Veterinary Medicine videos for the course VM8164 Introduction to the Normal Animal. The latter resource will include a visual and interactive 3D canine model, which allow veterinary students to know what happens when they examine dogs.

This year’s Open Education Initiative Faculty Grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis and are due the first day of the month. Awards are anticipated to be announced within two weeks after the monthly review period begins. Anita Walz, Copyright & Scholarly Communications Librarian, states that she is especially excited to work with “people who are creative and have innovative ideas about ways that the university and higher education can better serve students through OER.”

Interested faculty are encouraged to apply online at

For questions, please contact

Written by Maria Atilano, Creative Editor

“Open Textbooks” (c) Giilia Forsythe CC BY NC SA