Course Material Fellowship Program Now Accepting Applications through September 12 

IU Libraries’ Course Material Fellowship Program (CMFP) is accepting applications for the 2022-2023 cohort! Now in its third year, the CMFP assists Indiana University faculty with improving the affordability and quality of their course materials. Fellows in the Program will be awarded a stipend between $2,000 and $5,000 and gain the support of IU librarians, Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) instructional experts, and UITS technologists. Program Fellows will work with these experts and their cohort to find, adapt, and create low-cost course materials, including Open Educational Resources (OER). The ultimate goal for Fellows is to transform their course materials to be as low cost as possible and tailored to their particular course. Open Education Librarian Sarah Hare explains

“While it’s important that OER are free to students, they are also attractive to instructors interested in making course materials more effective for their specific course.”

Low-cost course materials and OER not only enable instructors to expand accessibility by making higher education more affordable for students, but also to enhance student learning by customizing course materials to suit their unique pedagogical goals. 

The CMFP began in fall 2020, supported by the Women’s Philanthropy Leadership Council (WPLC), with the goal of supporting faculty’s adoption and creation of OER. OER are freely available course materials that also have specific licenses that legally permit others to adopt, revise, or remix these materials for their own teaching. The CMFP has since evolved in response to lessons learned from the first two years’ implementation. The Program thus far has resulted in over a dozen fellows’ successful adoption and creation of OER, which saved money and improved learning for over five thousand students at IU Bloomington and IUPUI. About half of the projects so far have reached students in 100- and 200-level courses and about half have reached advanced undergraduate students.  

However, like any new program (especially one launched in the midst of a global pandemic!), the initial years of the CMFP also involved unexpected complications. In order to best serve faculty and students, the Open Education Librarian and CMFP Implementation Group have continually refined the Program. The CMFP has used feedback from past Fellows, along with careful consideration of the Program’s goals, to modify the Program’s structure for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

The 2022-2023 CMFP focuses on assisting faculty with finding, adopting, and creating affordable course materials, with the overarching goal of making their courses as low-cost as possible. Low-cost or free materials may include OER, but they also encompass materials such as IU Libraries’ resources, works in the public domain, or open access academic articles.  

The Implementation Group has pivoted to this focus on low-cost course materials—beyond, but including, OER—due to the wide variety of possible projects. A project’s scope depends on existing resources, the specificities of a given course, and the instructor’s own objectives and capabilities. To accommodate our goals for low-cost materials and the different forms that Program participation may take, the CMFP will assign each accepted fellow’s project as either Tier 1 or Tier 2: 

  • Tier 1 projects require selecting, curating, and adapting affordable materials to move from a textbook to a low- or zero-cost course for students. The final project can take a variety of formats (Canvas course, book, etc.) and will not have to be shared publicly.  
  • Tier 2 projects require an original creation of at least 75% of the course content. The remainder can be adopted from existing open educational resources. The final product must be created in the book-publishing tool Pressbooks and submitted as a complete textbook that can be used to fully teach a course. The final text will be shared under a Creative Commons license. Participation in this Tier requires a significant time commitment, and fewer stipends will be available for this Tier. 

Accepted Fellows will meet with the Open Education Librarian to discuss their projects and agree upon the appropriate Tier, and associated stipend amount, for their affordable course material goals.  

All instructors of record at IU Bloomington are eligible to apply to the 2022-2023 CMFP; interested instructors should submit the Qualtrics application here (the application is also viewable as a PDF). Applications will be considered on a competitive basis and applicants are encouraged to consult the rubric the Implementation Group will use to evaluate applications. Applications are due September 12, 2022. 

We are excited by the new opportunities for teaching and learning that our focus on affordable course materials will bring. The CMFP will benefit students not only by mitigating the cost of higher education, but also by enhancing their learning through customized course materials. Similarly, participating instructors will both make their courses as affordable and accessible as possible and gain professional development through the CMFP’s library and pedagogical support. 

More information about the CMFP application and program can be found at our call for proposals and FAQ page. Any instructor interested in the CMFP or affordable course materials is welcome to email Open Education Librarian Sarah Hare at scrissin@iu.edu