Atla OER Grant Program
The goal of the Atla OER Grant Program is to encourage experimentation and innovation in finding new and potentially better and less costly ways to deliver learning materials to theological and religious studies students through open educational resources (OER). “Open” in this context means cost-free for students plus reuse rights for others to reuse and adapt those materials for their courses. “Educational Resources” may include textbooks, videos, assessment tools, research materials, or interactive course modules. Further, the Program supports Atla’s mission to grow librarian and information provider competencies in diversity, inclusion, equity, and antiracism through development of OERs that provide opportunities for thoughtful education and reflection in these areas.
Under this program, Atla will award grants, as detailed below, to project teams from Atla member institutions who seek to greatly reduce or remove student course material costs through replacement of commercially available textbooks and ancillary materials through (1) compilation of existing open and freely available materials into new course materials or (2) through creation of wholly new course materials. Project teams should also plan to implement the resources created preferably during the 2022-2023 academic year in the course listed on the application form. Implementations during the 2023-2024 course year may also be eligible upon request and explanation.
Team Composition and Eligibility
- Project teams must consist of at least one librarian and one teaching faculty/instructor.
- Project team members must be currently employed at an Atla Institutional Member or Atla Affiliate Candidate Member.
- Cross-institutional collaboration is permissible so long as all project team members are currently employed at an Atla Institutional Member or Atla Affiliate Candidate Member.
- Grants will only be awarded to teams who seek to create OER for courses in undergraduate or graduate degree granting programs in theology or religious studies.
- If the course listed in the proposal offers a denominational, theological, or religious perspective, applicants should include in their proposals their ideas on how the resources could be broadly adapted to diverse learning environments.
- Proposals are especially encouraged that support opportunities for thoughtful education and reflection on diversity, inclusion, equity, and antiracism.
- This grant is intended for teams who seek to replace commercial course materials through reuse, remixing, and compilation of existing freely and openly available materials alongside some newly created content.
- Example: Creation of a new open textbook in a course on “Women and the Bible” by incorporating freely and openly available works and resources with newly authored content, such as a syllabus or ancillary materials, to synergize and synthesize the existing resources into a cohesive work.
- Example: Creation of learning modules for a course on “Sacred Texts in Traditions of Religions of the World” by incorporating existing openly and freely available audio/visual and textual materials alongside newly created content such as a syllabus or accompanying assignments and quizzes.
- Range: $1500 – $2500
- This grant is intended for teams who will create wholly new OER without reusing any existing content and where there is currently no sufficient OER available to meet the learning objectives of a course.
- Example: Creation of a new open textbook supplemented with primary source readings and community-created content exploring theological questions of different religions traditions.
- Range: $2500 – $3500
Note About Resources
Licensed or subscription resources (e.g., article databases, ebooks), web sites, and any other non-openly licensed materials are not considered OER. Proposals that incorporate or rely upon usage of such content will not be eligible for either grant. All grant proposals should reflect a new project and not involve creating e-book versions of existing textbooks, implementation of existing textbook alternatives, or textbook rentals.
- Completed resources will be hosted by Atla through one of its open platforms (e.g., Books@Atla Open Press, LibGuides). If resources will be created that need to be hosted in some other platform, this must be detailed, along with required costs, in the grant application form.
- Project teams are strongly encouraged to deposit completed works in their own open access institutional repository or other openly accessible platform. The assigned Creative Commons license must be noted. Reference to the Atla OER Grant Initiative should also be included as follows “Creation of this resource was made possible through funding received from Atla.”
Copyright and Licensing
- Copyright in the final project output will remain with the project team as creators subject to any open licenses for those projects incorporating existing works.
- All course materials created under successfully completed projects will be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial (CC-BY-NC 4.0) license. As such, existing materials selected for inclusion in resources created for an Innovation grant must allow for reuse under this license.
Disbursement of Grant Funds
Grant funds will be disbursed as follows:
- Funds will be disbursed to the project team members’ employing institution(s) by check or ACH (electronic) payment. Institution must supply Atla with a completed W-9 form or W-8 form if a non-US institution before disbursement can be made.
- Funds will be disbursed in two payments.
- The first half of funds will be disbursed on or around September 15, 2021.
- The second half of funds will be disbursed upon delivery of completed project to Atla for publishing and/or hosting.
How to Apply
- Application questions can be previewed at https://bit.ly/38PDD9F. Applicants are strongly encouraged to review this document prior to completing the application form.
- Complete the application form and attach required supporting materials. Only one application form per team should be submitted.
- Applications must be submitted by 5:00 CST on July 30, 2021.
- All applicants will be notified of their status by August 25, 2021.
- Any questions about the program or completing the application should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Last year’s awardees have granted permission for their applications to be made available as examples.
- The Atla Scholarly Communication Committee hosted a webinar about the program in May 2021. View it here.
Review of Applications
Applications will be reviewed by the Atla Scholarly Communication Committee for their overall quality and strength and how well the proposed project meets the requirements for the grant for which the project team applied. The committee will evaluate applications using the following review criteria:
- Statement of objectives – Are they well defined and articulated? Is reflection on what is needed to successfully implement OER evident?
- Impact and cost savings – Will students be actively engaged in the learning process through use of the materials? Is there potential for realization of cost savings not only at the project team’s home institution but at other institutions offering a similar course who choose to adopt or adapt the proposed OER?
- Feasibility and reasonableness of the project – Is there a compelling rationale for the type of grant applied for and the amount requested in relation to the OER proposed? Is the resource sustainable beyond initial implementation?
- Diversity and representation – Are a diversity of voices represented in the OER? Are global perspectives, non-western religions, or authors from underrepresented populations in the field of study reflected in the content?
- Accessibility and usability of resources by students – Has there been any considerations of accessibility of content by students with disabilities?
- Institutional support – Does the leadership of the project team’s institution indicate strong
Expectations of Awardees
- Attend a general training session on OER creation to be held in early September 2021.
- Preparation of content as detailed in accepted proposal and delivery to Atla for hosting by July 1, 2022.
- Provide a brief written report to Atla and Scholarly Communication Committee about experience and student outcomes after implementing the OER in the intended course during the 2022-2023 academic year.
- Optional – Present in person or virtually at Atla Annual 2022 on experiences participating in the program, including lessons learned, as well as review of the project outcomes. In person presentation will be supported through a travel grant and complimentary conference registration. Commitment to present in person must be received by February 1, 2022. Alternatively, grantees may be asked to participate in some other form of public presentation of their experience participating in this program. (e.g., Atla webinar, transcribed interview with Scholarly Communication Committee).
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