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Open Educational Resources (OER) & Textbook Equity

OER Librarian

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Anne Marie Gruber

Regents OER Grant Program: Funded Projects

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The Regents university libraries are proud to announce the awarding of grants to 5 faculty teams to support creation of free, openly-licensed course materials. This funding opportunity provides intensive training and support for faculty writing open textbooks or other materials to replace expensive, traditional textbooks. In addition to saving UNI, UI, and ISU students an estimated $308,000 per year ($200,00 per year at UNI alone), new Open Educational Resources created through the program prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. They are also likely to be adopted at other institutions, expanding the impact and cost savings beyond the Regents.

Funded projects across the Regents are listed below. All are forthcoming in 2023.

Program Return on Investment (ROI) = 153%

Funding for this grant program is provided by CARES Act Governor's Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund in collaboration with University of Iowa & Iowa State University. 
UNI contact: Anne Marie Gruber at or (319) 273-3711.

Semillas: Elementary Spanish

Elementary Spanish: An OER Textbook

Completed textbook: Semillas

 Semillas book cover
Authors: Giovanni Zimotti, Rachel Klevar, Eden Jones (UI), and Gabriela Olivares-Cuhat (UNI)
Courses supported: SPAN1001
Award amount: $25,560
Estimated student savings: $65,000 per year
Description: UI and UNI are joining efforts to redesign the core sequence of the elementary Spanish language track. The work of this team will result in the creation of an OER textbook and ancillary materials for Elementary Spanish that address the diverse needs of undergraduate non-native Spanish Speakers. Self-assessment exercises created using H5P will be included. A conference presentation about this text is included below.

Music Core Curriculum

Integrated Learning Resources for an Inclusive and Adaptive Undergraduate Music Theory and Musicianship Core Curriculum

Completed textbook: Comprehensive Musicianship: A Practical Resource
Completed workbook: Workbook for Comprehensive Musicianship: A Practical Resource
Completed supplement: Aural Training and Sight Singing Supplement for Comprehensive Musicianship

Comprehensive Musicianship cover

Authors: Randall Harlow, Heather Peyton, Jonathan Schwabe, and Daniel Swilley (UNI)
Courses supported: 12 courses in School of Music core (Music Theory I-IV, Aural Training I-IV, and Sight Singing I-IV)
Award amount: $21,400
Estimated student savings: $33,640 per year
Description: This project will replace three standard textbooks with new learning resources that will be free and open to all students, accessible to a more diverse population, and tailored to UNI’s evolving core music curriculum. One key goal is to create an accessible resource for students with a diversity of backgrounds, learning styles, and socioeconomic realities.

Oral Communication

Communication for College, Career, and Civic Life

Completed textbook: Fundamentals of Oral Communication

Communication book cover
Authors: Ryan McGeough, Kyle Rudick, Danielle McGeough, and Kathryn Golsan (UNI)
Course supported: COMM 1000
Award amount: $21,400
Estimated student savings: $82,000 per year
Description: The project brings together several faculty members, all of whom have authored textbooks in the past, to create an OER textbook focused on developing communication skills. It will accomplish multiple objectives. In addition to providing substantial cost savings, it will fill gaps in existing texts related to communication and diversity, information literacy, and communication and digital technology. It will also support the oral communication outcome of the new general education curriculum (UNIFI).

Early Literacy

Creating Open Resource Textbook for Methods of Teaching Early Literacy

Completed textbook: Methods of Teaching Early Literacy

Early Literacy cover
Authors: Nandita Gurjar (formerly at UNI), Sohyun Meacham (UNI), and Constance Beecher (ISU)
Courses supported: LitEd3115 (UNI), LitEd3119 (UNI), and EDUC377 (ISU)
Award amount: $23,550
Estimated student savings: $52,200 per year
Description: This project will create a comprehensive resource to replace twelve books currently used in the PI’s three courses. The OER will be a multimodal resource, focusing on literacy development of PreK-3rd grade elementary students while addressing the needs of diverse students.

Elementary Science Methods

Elementary Science Methods I and II: Ancillary Project

Completed textbook: Biology, Physical, Earth, and Space Science Methods for Elementary Teachers

Science teaching cover

Authors: Ted Neal & Jeff Nordine (UI)
Courses supported: EDTL3165 and EDTL3166
Award amount: $5,550
Estimated student savings: $5,356 per year (in addition to previous savings)
Description: This project will merge two existing open texts the lead author previously created, update content with presentation slides, improve/update the test banks, and improve ancillary materials. It will address Next Generation Science Standards, better align with a new course sequence, and add resources students have been requesting.