USM Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation Awards Mini-Grants to Increase Use of Open Educational Resources at 12 Maryland Public Higher Education Institutions
Mini-Grants Offer Potential to Save More Than 8,000 Students $1.3 Million in Textbook Costs During Fall 2017
(March 30, 2017) -- The University System of Maryland's (USM) William E.
Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation today announced
21 grantees who will receive support to adopt, adapt and scale the use of open
educational resources (OER) through the Maryland Open Source Textbook (MOST)
initiative High-impact OER Mini-Grant Program.
The grants will be provided to faculty who are adopting, adapting or
scaling the use of OER in Fall 2017 through high-enrollment courses where
quality OER exists. Grants will be
spread across 7 Maryland community colleges and 5 Maryland public four-year
institutions, with the potential to save over 8,000 students $1.3 million in
textbook costs over the Fall 2017 semester.
of traditional textbooks with OER has the potential to make higher education in
the State of Maryland more affordable and accessible for students," said Kirwan
Center director MJ Bishop. "Through the
High-impact OER Mini-Grant Program, our goal is to strategically scale up
effective implementation of OER across the state and significantly increase the
number of students who are impacted through textbook cost savings."
In the U.S., the
cost of textbooks in higher education has risen exponentially. Since 1978, the cost of textbooks has risen
812%, outpacing even the cost of medical services and new housing. Nationally,
students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks. Within Maryland alone, 2-year and 4-year
students spend over $223 million in textbooks.
The Kirwan Center
announced the MOST initiative High-impact OER Mini-Grant Program in February
2017 with a call for proposals across Maryland public higher education
institutions. Grantees will receive
faculty release time to prepare OER courses, participate in workshops, and collect
data. In addition to receiving a mini-grant, the winners will also
receive support from Lumen Learning,
including training on effective OER design and scaling strategies, personalized
support for OER adoption and delivery, access to a collection of curated OER
courses, and a platform to build, edit and deliver their course.
college students are among the most vulnerable to the rising costs associated
with higher education," said Community College of Baltimore County President
Sandra Kurtinitis. "Although our faculty view textbooks as essential, some of
our students see them as a luxury they cannot afford. Having access to open
educational resources will provide some financial relief for our students as
well as contribute to their academic success."
"BCCC is grateful to the USM William E. Kirwan
Center for Academic Innovation for the opportunity and support for open educational
resources through the High-impact OER Mini-Grant Program," said Gordon F. May,
president of Baltimore City Community College (BCCC). "Through this grant, our faculty and staff
will engage students in innovative teaching and learning practices to increase
access and affordability."
initiative began in August 2013 as a collaboration between the USM Student
Council and the Kirwan Center to provide a state-wide opportunity for faculty
to explore the promise of OERs to reduce students' cost of attendance while
maintaining, or perhaps even improving, learning outcomes. Since its beginning just three years ago, the
MOST initiative has supported the replacement of traditional textbooks with OER
in over 60 different courses at 14 public higher education institutions across
the state resulting in over $1 million in cumulative cost savings for over
In addition to saving students money, faculty have gained the
ability to adapt and customize their instructional materials to ensure they are
aligned with their pedagogical methods to best meet their students' needs. In
follow up surveys with students participating in the MOST initiative, 93%
reported that the OER content they used was the same or better quality than
"The stress or
unease students feel when they arrive to class, ready to work hard and learn,
only to discover the cost of textbooks for a course are beyond their means is a
reality for far too many students," said Fasika Delessa, vice president of
Academic Affairs at the University of Maryland Student Government
Association. "OER provides an affordable
alternative that can make all the difference for students overwhelmed by rising
costs in all aspects of higher education."
of the High-impact OER Mini-Grant awardees coincides with Open Education Week
2017, an annual celebration of the global Open Education Movement to raise
awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning
worldwide. Through targeted and
strategic OER implementation, the High-impact OER Mini-Grant program will build
on the success of the MOST initiative to develop a robust and sustainable
network of people, technology, and processes at Maryland public 2- and 4-year
institutions. See the full list of grantees.
Contact: Mike Lurie