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Open Educational Resources


Please note that this page details the OER Awards Program for 2019-2020 and has not been updated for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

About the Awards

The cost of textbooks has become a significant barrier to student success and learning. The goal of the ETSU Open Educational Resources Awards is to encourage instructor experimentation and innovation in finding new, better, and less costly ways to deliver learning materials to their students through open educational resources (OERs) in ETSU classrooms.

Open in this context means free plus rights to retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute, which is generally accomplished through a Creative Commons license. There are 3 models through which OER may be implemented: adoption of an existing open resource or textbook, adaption of existing resources to local needs, and creation of a new resource to fill a gap in suitable materials. Each model requires an investment in time and effort to identify materials and adjust the course to new material. The third model, creation of new resources, can be quite time consuming. Since cost impact is a primary goal of the award, consideration will also be given to affordable proposals in the adopt category. Affordable in this context means using materials freely available to our students which are not and cannot be licensed as Open, such as articles and resources available through library databases. General information about OERs are available at

  Individuals Departments & Programs
Adopt an existing open textbook (or other OER or Affordable resources) Up to $1,000 Up to $3,000
Adapt existing open educational resources to your instructional needs Up to $2,500 Up to $5,000
Create an open educational resource where none currently exist Up to $5,000 Up to $10,000

NOTE: Amount of award will be dependent upon the Selection Criteria stated below. 

Any instructor of record for a course at ETSU is eligible for funding. Funds cannot be used to cover purchase of commercial electronic versions of textbooks, rentals of textbooks, or for already adopted open texts.

The Charles C. Sherrod Library's Student Advisory Council voted to use funding from the student library fee to pay for the awards. The awards are managed by Sherrod Library and the Center for Teaching Excellence. Please email if you have questions about the ETSU OER Awards.

Selection Criteria

Complete submissions will be evaluated by representatives from Sherrod Library and Center for Teaching Excellence. Awardees will be selected based on the narrative responses to the proposal questions, as well as:

  • Cost Impact: First consideration will be given to those projects that offer the highest potential savings to ETSU students (based on enrollment numbers and current text costs).
  • Student Engagement Potential: Ability to adapt or produce a quality product and actively engage students in the learning process.
  • Open Licensing: For adoption, use of materials under an OER-compatible license (such as Creative Commons licenses); For adaption and creation, willingness to apply an OER-compatible Creative Commons license to the finished product; Note: Adoption of affordable materials (freely available to our students but not licensed as open) will receive secondary consideration.
  • Accessibility and Usability: Accessibility and usability of the resource for all students.
  • Timeline: Timeline to implementation (preference for shorter over longer).
  • Sustainability: Sustainability of the resource beyond initial use.
  • Quality and strength of the application and how well it meets requirements.

How to Apply

Complete the OER Awards Program Application before the appropriate deadline.

Deadlines are based on the semester you intend to implement the open or affordable resources in your course. OER Awards Program has three deadlines during the 2019-2020 academic year: 

August 2 for implementation in Fall 2019 or beyond
November 1 for implementation in Spring 2020 or beyond 

Deadline Extended to May 1 for implementation in Summer 2020 or beyond 

Charles C. Sherrod Library and the Center for Teaching Excellence are available to advise you in the process, including finding, creating, evaluating, and implementing OERs in your courses. Please email if you would like assistance prior to submitting the award proposal.

Conditions of the Award

Awardees are expected to comply with several provisions designed to ensure the openness and availability of the funded project, as well as provide feedback to inform assessment of the awards. Awardees agree to the following conditions:

  • Application of an OER-compatible Creative Commons license to the final product (if adapting or creating).
  • Make the most appropriate version of the work available for deposit into Digital Commons@East Tennessee State University. Sherrod Library's Digital Scholarship Librarian ( will be in contact regarding this condition.
  • Willingness to collect and share assessment data, including a reflection of your experience implementing the open textbook and the outcomes upon use. Assessments will be due approximately a month after the close of the semester of OER use, or an otherwise agreed upon time.
  • Join the OER Faculty Learning Community. Meet three times during a single semester prior or during implementation. Meet at the end of the academic year of implementation to compare experiences, share findings, and make recommendations concerning the program.
  • A Memorandum of Agreement will be required between the awardee and the OER Initiatives Team (Sherrod Library and Center for Teaching Excellence) outlining expectations and obligations of the parties.

Award Disbursement

Generally, half of an award will be distributed at the beginning of the project and the remainder upon completion or implementation of the OER in the classroom. Awardees will be informed via email. 

Applicants will be informed of the decisions via email three weeks after the deadline. Award notifications will include an MOU and additional paperwork needed for the distribution of funds. The first half of the award will be distributed after both parties have signed the paperwork. The second half of the award will be distributed after the submission of deliverables (assessments, submissions to Digital Commons@ETSU) due a month after the close of the semester of OER use. 

Note: ETSU OER Award’s guidelines and application are based on the University of Kansas Libraries' OER Award Initiative.


For questions regarding Open Educational Resources, please email

Impact of the OER Initiatives

Discover how we are saving ETSU students money through our OER Initiatives: