This summer, Atla announced the launch of its new OER Grant Program. Under this program, Atla will award grants to project teams from Atla member institutions who seek to greatly reduce or remove student course material costs through (1) compilation of existing open and freely available materials into new and open course materials or (2) through the creation of wholly new open course materials.
For many, creating OER may be a new task. Below are five steps, adapted from the recently published open access book The OER Starter Kit, for OER creation.
Step One – Increase Your Knowledge
At the start of your OER project, you should review the scope and breadth of your knowledge on the subject for which the OER will be created. You should also evaluate your own understanding about OER generally and seek out advice from either those who have engaged in OER creation before or who otherwise have OER expertise. You should familiarize yourself with licensing and copyright as well as the tools that are available to you to assist in the creation of your OER.
Step Two – Curation of Existing Resources
Under the Atla OER Grant Program, there are two grant types. “Innovation” grants fund the creation of OER that will be comprised of freely existing and openly available materials. In this step, a major component of the work is the curation of existing resources that may be applicable to the OER you are creating. New content is not created at this stage. At this point, you should also craft an outline of the full project as well as determine what other resources you may need to manage your time and the tasks to complete this project.
Step Three – Visualizing the Design
This step is the last phase before the creation of the final output begins. For those projects that are primarily reusing existing materials (“Innovation” grants under the Atla OER Grant Program), this will be where you would prepare the new instructional materials to accompany the resources you curated in the previous step. You would also revisit the outline that you created and flesh it out more fully. Finally, if any visual or graphic design work will need to be done for the final output, you would arrange for the completion of those tasks.
Step Four – Development of New Content
The second grant type under the Atla OER Grant Program, “Invention” grants, fund the creation of wholly new content. This step is where the most time is spent on OER projects that require writing or building new materials. For projects (“Innovation” grants) that utilize existing materials, at this time you would complete any adaptations or modifications to fit those materials within the structure of your OER. Final checks for licensing and citation as well as checks for accessibility are also completed in this step.
There are various ways in which content can be created. Typically, OER creators will draft their content in Google Docs or another rich content editor (e.g., Word, OpenOffice). But there are other tools for OER creation, both open and paid, which may be appropriate for your project. Resources for identifying these other tools are included in the “Additional Resources” section below. If applying for an Atla OER grant and if you intend to use one of these other tools, please include these details in your grant application.
Step Five – Publication and Distribution
In the final step of OER creation, you will publish and share the content that you have created. This includes creating export versions, archiving editable files for instructors who might wish to adapt and edit your work, and depositing the final project, including ancillary materials, in an open repository or other openly available sites where potential users can locate and download the project materials. For Atla OER Grant Program recipients, we will publish your final output either through an Atla Open Press site, Atla LibGuides, or through some other prearranged platform. Again, be sure to document your needs in your application form so that we can work with you to achieve the publication and distribution goals of your project.
Apply Now for an Atla OER Grant
Applications for an OER grant must be completed and submitted by 5:00 p.m. CT on September 15, 2020. Before completing an application, interested parties are strongly encouraged to preview the application questions and accompanying explanations of how to respond to the narrative portion of the application. You may also view a recording of the webinar introducing the Atla OER Grant Program.
If you have any questions about applying for an Atla OER grant or if you have other suggestions of how Atla can support OER, please feel free to contact us.
- In The OER Starter Kit, you can learn more about the low, medium, and high tech tools available to assist you in OER creation.
- BC Campus, one of the leaders in North American on creation and adoption of OER, has created a few guides to assist you including a guide on creating/publishing OER as well as a guide to accessibility in OER.
- The Open Education Network has a complete guide to Authoring Open Textbooks.
The SCOOP, Scholarly COmmunication and Open Publishing, is a monthly column published to inform Atla members of recent developments, new resources, or interesting stories from the realm of scholarly communication and open access publishing.
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