A key approach to driving adoptions of open educational resources (OER) is to find ways of providing funding to instructors adopting or adapting open textbooks or resources. An open working group may want to look at distributing internal grants to support instructors in the development of open resources. In addition, the open working group may want to take an inventory of grants available from external organizations, such as BCcampus, Creative Commons, or the Mozilla Foundation. You can also find ways of combining these sources; for example, you can match organizational funds with institutional grants.
In the very early days of OER, a handful of foundations such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation led the way in funding OER projects across the globe. Today, funding for OER remains limited, although more diversified. Individuals and colleges may explore a range of sources to support their OER work, including those listed below:
Some institutions may have already launched an OER-grants program. If this is the case, the open working group may wish to reach out to the grant-program administrators to coordinate messaging and open education-related programming when possible.
If your institution does not have any OER-dedicated grants, you should see if there are existing grants and funds that could be applied to OER work:
- Ask your institution about existing research grants and whether the development of OER may be funded as part of those research grants.
- Check with your institution to see if funds, refreshments, or time off are offered for OER projects and events, such as sprints to create new OER.
Develop an institutional grant program
If there are no existing grants that can be applied to the creation or adaptation of open resources, you may wish to lead the development of institutional grants program for OER.
Including open in existing innovation grants at UBC
The University of British Columbia (UBC) has a Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF) that was created in 1991 to enrich student learning by supporting innovative and effective educational enhancements. Starting in the 2017/2018 cycle, a priority focus on the development or integration of OER was added to the TLEF criteria for new proposals. Furthermore, eligibility requirements were also added that specifically state that funded projects are encouraged to openly license their developed materials under an appropriate Creative Commons licence to allow for broad sharing within and beyond UBC.
Applying for and supporting external grants at JIBC
At the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), staff and faculty are encouraged to apply for external grants for funding for OER, where applicable. JIBC has received a number of grants/funding for OER, including the 2017 Zed Cred grant from BCcampus. The Centre for Teaching, Learning and Innovation (CTLI) offers guidance and support for staff and faculty submitting OER-grant applications and may also offer funding for OER creation or adaptation projects. The CTLI is particularly interested in funding and having students get involved in OER projects.
Setting up internal OER faculty grants at TRU
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) offers yearly Strategic Investments Fund (SIF) grants for special projects. After the TRU Student Union’s (TRUSU) 2016 Open Textbook campaign to push for support for faculty to create OER, a small, informal group put together a joint proposal to create faculty grants. Members from TRUSU, the Faculty of Arts, the Library, Open Learning, and the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning partnered to fund up to eight faculty grants of $5000 each (based on SFU’s similar program) and were successful in their request.
SFU OER grants
Since 2016, the Simon Fraser University (SFU) Open Educational Resources Grants program has provided funding and in-kind support to over fifteen projects that have saved students significant money on textbook costs and supported innovative teaching practices. This program has been jointly administered and supported by the Library and Teaching & Learning Centre (TLC). The new SFU OER working group plans to coordinate with the already established grants program to raise awareness about funding opportunities available to instructors via this program and to organize events highlighting and celebrating achievements of SFU OER grant recipients
- “External grants” and “Institutional grants” from “Identify OER Funding Opportunities” by The Learning Portal College of Libraries Ontario. Adapted by the authors. © CC BY (Attribution)
- “Including open in existing innovation grants at UBC” from “Open UBC Snapshot: Open as a TLEF Priority Focus” by Will Engle. © CC BY (Attribution)