Textbook Portal for Faculty Launched

The Virtual Library of Virginia program (VIVA) has an Open and Affordable Initiative to provide no-cost and barrier-free access to curriculum resources for students and researchers. As part of this initiative, VIVA has recently developed a new Faculty Textbook Portal. This catalog, designed for Virginia public college and university faculty seeking open and affordable textbooks for their courses, contains over 200,000 titles from VIVA’s shared library collections, open access textbooks, and ebooks available for VIVA to purchase on behalf of public colleges and universities throughout the state.

For more information about the new portal and how to request full access (available to all Mason faculty as a VIVA member institution), see the VIVA announcement and the FAQ page.

Grant opportunities for course redesign

We are excited to announce that the Request for Proposals for the first round of VIVA Course Redesign Grants officially opened this month. These grants are designed to empower faculty at Virginia higher education institutions with the resources and time they need to redesign courses by swapping out expensive textbooks for open, no cost, or library options. These materials may be adopted as is, adapted, or created from scratch.

This new program will award grants from $1,000-$30,000 to assist faculty members at any VIVA institution in transitioning to course materials available at no cost to students, such as open educational textbooks and/or library resources. Full or part-time faculty may apply. Proposals may involve one person or teams that include: teaching faculty, librarians, instructional designers, subject matter experts, editors, graphic designers, or others as needed. Applications that include multi-institutional partnerships are encouraged.

More information, including the full Request for Proposals, application details, and the evaluation rubric are available at http://vivalib.org/courseredesign.

Applications are due January 31, 2019, and award notification will take place on March 1, 2019.

Webinars will be held at the following times, and will include a general introduction to the grants, the application process, and a Q&A:

Successful applications will be selected on the basis of:

  • Potential for student savings, including class enrollment and existing resource costs
  • Use of Open Educational Resources (freely available and free to be modified)
  • Frequency of course offering, with a preference for high-enrollment, required courses, and/or courses that are part of the SCHEV Passport Program
  • Impact of the project on open education, such as the development of high quality resources in areas for which no other open content is currently available
  • Preference for statewide reach through multi-institutional efforts
  • Commitment to continue offering the course for future years
  • Agreement to the terms of the grant and required activities

*VIVA is funded by the Virginia General Assembly and VIVA member institutions, and is sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV). 

Questions about the program may be submitted to viva@gmu.edu.

RFP for Course Redesign Using Open Ed Resources

How can you, as an educator, have increased control over your teaching materials, be more creative in the classroom, AND lower student costs? Use existing open educational resources (OER) or create your own materials!

Mason 4-VA, a state-funded initiative to support innovative and forward-thinking education, invites Mason faculty to submit a proposal for course redesign that integrates digital and freely accessible materials. The effort encourages the reduction or elimination of expensive textbooks either with individual or team produced digital works, or with existing digital content that is in the public domain, licensed Creative Commons, or available in databases to which the University Libraries subscribes.

Courses of particular interest are those that:

  • have high enrollment,
  • are required for majors,
  • count in the Mason Core, or
  • carry high textbook costs.

Applicants must be Mason full-time faculty that teach high-demand, highly-populated courses. Adjunct faculty may apply as part of a team. For example, a group proposal may contain an adjunct instructor and full-time faculty from a department. Teams representing multiple sections of a course are encouraged to apply.

Competitive grants will be awarded ranging from $1000-$5000, depending on the nature of the work and the level of team collaboration. Greater amounts will be considered for projects that develop original materials and have larger teams.

Deadlines:

Proposal deadline: October 15, 2018
Award notification: December 15, 2018
Funds distribution: January 15, 2019
Project completion:  June 30, 2019

The library is ready to support your use of OER content or answer your questions related to copyright and the Creative Commons licensing of your own materials. Contact your subject librarian or Aaron S. McCollough, Interim Director, George Mason University Press and Mason Publishing.

For more information and the link to the RFP visit: https://4va.gmu.edu/course_redesign/