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Department of Ed Releases App Process for Open Textbook Pilot Grants

A federal higher education open textbook pilot program is kicking off after a public-comment period that ended in April. The U.S. Department of Education recently published details about how to apply for funding in the Federal Register. Consortia of colleges and universities are being invited to develop programs to produce open educational resources under grants that will range in size from $500,000 to $2 million. The agency reported that it expects to issue between three and 12 awards.

The grant program has three priorities in its funding:

  • To select projects involving at least three schools as well as instructors and subject-matter experts, workforce stakeholders and, possibly, trade or professional associations;
  • To address gaps in the open textbook market; and
  • To promote student success, by promoting pickup of the new OER materials and monitor the impact of the open textbooks "on instruction, learning outcomes, course outcomes and educational costs."

Extra points in the evaluation process will be given to projects that use technology-based approaches, such as personalized learning, and are being run by a minority-serving institution or community college.

Each consortium team must include an educational technology or digital curriculum design expert and an advisory group of at least three people from industry and must have demonstrated experience in the creation and distribution of OER.

Details on the grant program are openly available on the Federal Register. Applications are due by Nov. 16, 2020.

The project is also seeking peer reviewers for the pilot program.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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