Faculty Awards for Increasing Affordability for Students

The UConn Open and Affordable Initiative is pleased to announce grant award opportunities to recognize and encourage UConn faculty and instructors who commit to the creation, adaptation, adoption, and review of Open Educational Resources for their courses. This program will also encourage award winners to share how they developed these materials and provide opportunities to distribute them to those teaching in public and private institutions across the state.

Note: These are awards and are not counted toward the 12th-12th Rule.  See:  Policy on Extra Compensation for Full-time Faculty in AAUP

The Davis Educational Foundation provided our initial grant to explore this exciting new area.  Thank you to the Davis Educational Foundation! The UConn Co-op Bookstore gift to this Initiative now supports our awards. Funds have increased and more applications are encouraged. Thank you, UConn Co-op!

Successful proposals will emphasize innovative educational practices and the use of OER or other free or affordable learning materials. Affordable materials, also known by other terms such as No Cost/Low Cost or nolo for short, are generally defined as those costing $40 or less.

  • $1,000 (and up) awards are available for faculty and instructors who transition their courses to include OER/Affordable materials
  • $250 awards are available for faculty and instructors who review an OER textbook relevant to their course

Monetary awards will be deposited into Faculty’s IDC Account at the agreed upon time.

In 2015, the University of Connecticut launched a university-wide initiative to promote the use of open and affordable textbooks.  Recent research has demonstrated that open textbooks – low or no cost alternatives to traditional textbooks – are positively correlated with student success.  Open textbooks, and more broadly, open educational resources (OERs), are scholarly content that is available free online for instructors and students to share, use, reuse and build upon, including formal materials like textbooks.

Course Redesign Incentive or Textbook Creation

We are looking for instructors who wish to transition a course from commercial textbooks to OER or alternative affordable instructional materials such as UConn licensed online materials which maintain high quality education and are more affordable (or free) to students. Specifically the proposals should describe how – in the context of a particular upcoming course or group of related courses – alternative(s) to traditional textbooks will be adopted to reduce student costs and/or enhance pedagogy.

Instructions for Applicants

Award proposals should include information about the course itself, potential student enrollment, citations of textbooks to be replaced, and a brief narrative about the new curricular resource strategy, its intended impact on student learning and on pedagogy, the timeline of the transition, and anticipated challenges of the transition. Recipients may be able to work with CETL in the planning stage and are encouraged to participate in post-transition assessment activities which may include brief reports, comparisons of student performance and retention, and instructor and student surveys and interviews.

Awards:  $1000 and up.   Repeated until all funds are distributed.

Award recipients are encouraged to disseminate their findings to colleagues by sharing their results at open.uconn.edu and at programs organized by the University Library designed to provide an opportunity for more faculty to learn about the OER developed by other faculty.

Proceed to the OER Course Application Form.

For more information, please contact: open@uconn.edu


Textbook Review Incentive – Ongoing

We are looking for subject matter experts who would like to review an open textbook that may be potentially useful for their classes. This incentive will offer $250 to UConn instructors to review an open textbook relevant to their course. Should the textbook meet the instructor’s needs, we are also asking them to consider adopting the textbook for a course.

Instructions for Participants

Peer review of OER textbooks is a critically important activity, crucial in identifying and selecting a textbook for course adoption. Further, other colleagues rely on such reviews to guide them in their own textbook selection. The purpose of an OER textbook review is to examine the nature and scope of the item being considered for use in a particular course. In general, reviews that are submitted should provide a concise summary of the work and, most importantly, offer a critical assessment of the content, addressing these 10 criteria:

  • Comprehensiveness
  • Content Accuracy
  • Relevance/Longevity
  • Clarity
  • Consistency
  • Modularity
  • Organization/Structure/Flow
  • Interface
  • Grammatical Errors
  • Cultural Relevance

To see more description of each item, please see this book review rubric. Typically, reviews should consist of about 500-1,000 words to be granted the $250 award. Samples of open textbooks can be found at UConn Library Guide to Open (and Alternative) Educational Resources and University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library. Samples of textbook reviews can also be found displayed on individual book pages at University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library. Reviews will be publicly available on the University of Connecticut site under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Derivative (CC-BY-ND) 4.0 license. Reviews may also be posted at other applicable sites. Applications will be accepted on an on-going basis or until funds are depleted. Awards will be distributed upon successful completion of the book review.

Proceed to the Book Review Application Form.


For more information, please contact: open@uconn.edu