Open Educational Resources    

M.O.S.T. Initiative Awards 29 Mini-Grants to 18 Maryland Public Higher Education Institutions

Maryland Open Source Textbook Initiative Logo

The University System of Maryland’s (USM) William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation announced the award of 29 mini-grants to faculty at 18 public higher education institutions in Maryland to support the adoption, adaptation and scaling of open educational resources (OER).  Funded by the Maryland Open Source Textbook (M.O.S.T.) initiative’s High-impact OER Mini-Grant Program, the grants represent a mix of high-enrollment courses in mathematics, the sciences, the arts, and the humanities at 2- and 4-year institutions, with a potential to save approximately 6,500 students over $1.2 million in Fall 2018 alone.

“With OER, faculty engage directly and collaboratively in the development of learning materials that can save students money and also have the potential to improve the student learning experience and outcomes,” said Senior Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs Joann Boughman.  “The M.O.S.T. initiative is one example of the strong history of collaboration between 2- and 4-year institutions in Maryland to increase student outcomes and transfer pathways.”

The M.O.S.T. initiative High-impact OER Mini-Grant Program was launched in February 2017 to support the work of the Kirwan Center to enhance OER efforts by targeting high-enrollment courses with existing quality OER at 2- and 4-year public higher education institutions across the state.  The first round of mini-grants supported 21 projects at 12 institutions to adopt and scale OER during fall 2017.  In partnership with Lumen Learning, grantees receive professional development, support to adapt and develop OER, technical support to deliver OER to their students, and scaling and sustainability planning services in addition to their grant funds.

“Through the use of OER, my students were able to access affordable high-quality learning materials from the very first day of class,” said Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) biology professor Malathi Radhakrishnan.  “The M.O.S.T. initiative High-impact OER Mini-Grant Program not only supports the piloting of my OER work, but also helps sustain OER implementation across all sections of my biology course at BCCC.”

The M.O.S.T. initiative began in August 2013 as a collaboration between the USM Student Council and the Kirwan Center to provide a statewide 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 four years ago, the M.O.S.T. initiative has supported the replacement of traditional textbooks with OER in 89 different courses at 19 public higher education institutions across the state, resulting in over $3.4 million in cumulative 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 a year in textbooks.

“When I register for classes, I have to figure out if I can afford the textbooks I need, or if I will fall behind in my assignments because I won’t have the materials for the start of the class,” said Montgomery College student Jackeline Claros.  “With OER, I don’t need to worry about the cost of the textbook. The first time I took a course that used OER, I was able to jump right into the course with the materials I needed on day one.”

“OER changed my perception of how I approached my classes,” said USM Student Regent and University of Baltimore student William Shorter.  “I was really engaged and I took control of my learning.”

In spring 2017, the Maryland General Assembly unanimously passed Senate Bill 424, The Textbook Cost Savings Act, which includes $100,000 as a grant to the Kirwan Center to support a statewide OER summit and an additional round of mini-grant funding for fall 2018.  The OER summit, held at the College Park Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in December 2017, convened over 500 faculty, instructional designers, library staff, and administrators to discuss accessibility and quality issues, learn the research on OER’s impact on student cost-savings, access and success, and participate in interactive workshops.

“We started the M.O.S.T. initiative in spring 2014 and were able to tap into those early adopters who were excited about the potential of OER - not just to save students money, but also to help faculty create learning materials to best fit their courses and their students,” said Assistant Vice Chancellor and Director of the USM Kirwan Center MJ Bishop.  “Now, in the fourth year of the initiative, faculty, staff and administrator interest in OER has broadened dramatically in Maryland.”

The announcement of the 2018 High-impact OER Mini-Grant awardees coincides with Open Education Week 2018, an annual celebration of the global Open Education Movement to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.  In addition to supporting faculty adoption of OER, the High-impact OER Mini-Grant Program will support faculty and institutions in developing and implementing plans to sustain and scale OER across Maryland public 2- and 4-year institutions.  See the full list of 2018 grantees below.

2018 High-impact OER Mini-Grant Grantees


 Grantee and OER Course Adoption

Anne Arundel Community College

  • Phil Terry-Smith, Associate Professor & Department Chair, Introduction to Sociology

Baltimore City Community College

  • Shawn Lane, Coordinator of Business Programs, MGMT 222 Principles of Business Management
  • Paul Long, Associate Professor, ENG 101 College Composition
  • Malathi Radhakrishnan, Professor, BIO 102 Principles of Biology
  • Nataliya Reznichenko, Assistant Professor, Precalculus I: College Algebra; Precalculus II: Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry

Bowie State University

  • Karen Cook-Bell, Associate Professor, History 202 U.S. History Since 1865

Carroll Community College

  • Joyce Davis, Assistant Professor, BIOL 215 Microbiology

Community College of Baltimore County

  • C. Eric Cotton, Assistant Professor, General Chemistry I and General Chemistry II
  • Jignasa Rami, Assistant Professor, Applied Algebra and Trigonometry
  • Patricia Rhea, Associate Professor, HLTH 101 Health and Wellness

Coppin State University

  • Katherine Cameron, Associate Professor, PSYC 210 Applied Psychology

Frederick Community Collge

  • Debra Morlier, Assistant Professor, General Psychology
  • Jessica Young, Assistant Director of Distributed Learning and Adjunct Faculty, Human Growth and Development

Frostburg State University

  • Deborah Devlin, Lecturer, Math 119 College Algebra

Garrett College

  • Christa Bowser, Associate Professor, Biology 101 General Biology I

Hagerstown Community College

  • Joan Bontempo, Associate Professor, ART 101 Introduction to the Visual Arts
  • Michael Harsh, Professor, ENG 102 Composition and Literature

Harford Community College

  • Jessica Adams, Professor, Trigonometry; Pre-Statistics; and Statistics

Prince George's Community College

  • Michael Smith, Department Chair and Associate Professor, INT 1010 Introduction to Information Technology

Salisbury University

  • Zachary Townsend, Lecturer, Health & Sport Sciences, FTWL 106: Lifelong Fitness and Wellness

Towson University

  • Nathan McNew, Assistant Professor, Calculus I

University of Baltimore

  • Kristin Conlin, Reference & Instruction Librarian, INFO 110 Introduction to Information Literacy
  • Stanley Kemp, Associate Professor, ENVS 201 Human Ecology
  • Jennifer Keohane, Assistant Professor and Director, Oral Communication, CMAT 201 Communicating Effectively
  • Carey Miller, Student Success and Transitions Coordinator, IDIS 101 First-Year Seminar
  • Terese Thonus, Professor and Writing Program Director, WRIT 301 Writing and Research in the Arts and Sciences; WRIT 302 Writing and Research in the Social Sciences; WRIT 303 Writing and Research in Business

University of Maryland Eastern Shore

  • Gabriela Vlahovici-Jones, Lecturer, ENGL 203 Fundamentals of Contemporary Speech

University of Maryland, College Park

  • Sara Lombardi, Lecturer, BSCI 201 Human Anatomy and Physiology I and BSCI 202 Human Anatomy and Physiology II

Wor-Wic Community College

  • Susan Davis, Instructor, BIO 101 Fundamentals of Biology