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VIVA: VIVA Open Course Grants

Virginia's Academic Library Consortium

This guide has variable layouts and houses the majority of the "sub" pages for VIVA's website.

VIVA Open Course Grants

The goal of the VIVA Open Course Grants (formerly Course Redesign Grants) is to make textbook and course materials free to students by empowering faculty with the resources and time they need to develop their curricula using open, library, or no cost resources.

Important Dates

The 2020 Recipients of VIVA Open Course Grants were announced on May 15, 2020. A summary of awarded projects can be found here. 

The next round of VIVA Open Course Grants will be open in early December 2020, with a late February 2021 deadline and notification in May 2021.

When the application and RFP are released, a schedule of informational webinars will be also be announced. A recording of a previously held informational webinar is available here: http://files.viva.reclaimhosting.com/GrantWebinar191216.mp4

Questions about all VIVA Open grants can be sent to vivaopen@gmu.edu.

Grant Purpose

The VIVA Open Grants Program reduces the costs of higher education for Virginia students by eliminating the costs of textbooks and other course materials. These costs can be a significant barrier to student success, shaping everything from what majors are chosen to whether or not degrees are completed. The high cost of textbooks, technology and course materials, currently estimated by The College Board to be around $1,300 per student per year, means that students often do not purchase course materials, and their academic performance suffers as a result. Barriers to curricular resources have been further exacerbated by COVID-19.

Although the need is clear, faculty who wish to develop courses using open or no-cost materials have little resources and time made available to them for these efforts. The VIVA Open Course Grant addresses this by providing support to empower Virginia educators to contribute to the field of open educational materials.

Grants are intended to:

  • Support a variety of approaches for course development using resources that are free to the student, such as Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or available online library resources, including adoption, adaptation, and creation of OER and/or identification and adoption of materials already available to VIVA institutions through their libraries.
  • Provide support to faculty, libraries, and their institutions to implement these approaches.
  • Lower the cost of higher education for Virginia students and contribute to their retention, progression, and completion.
  • Preserve academic freedom and provide both incentives and support to this critical work.

Grant Guidelines

Full or part-time faculty may apply for a grant to support the adoption of OER, including textbooks, software, and library resources that replace a traditional textbook, or a combination of OER and library resources. Grants will be awarded from $2,000-$30,000 and are designed to support faculty members in transitioning to course materials available at no cost to students. Successful applications will receive 75% of the funding at the outset of the project and the remaining 25% upon completion of a final report.

Proposals may involve one person or teams of any of the following: teaching faculty, librarians, instructional designers, subject matter experts, editors, graphic designers, or others as needed. While individuals can be involved in more than one applying team, they may not be listed as the Primary Investigator (PI) in more than one proposal, nor may they be the PI on more than one grant simultaneously, including grants awarded in previous years.

Applications will be reviewed by members of VIVA’s Open and Affordable Course Content Committee, VIVA administrators, and peer-reviewers.  Grants will be awarded based on:

  • Potential for student savings, including class enrollment and cost of existing course materials
  • The use of OER (freely available and free to be modified)
  • Frequency of course offering, with a preference for high-enrollment, required courses
  • Impact of the project on open education, such as the development of high quality resources in areas for which minimal open content is currently available
  • Preference for multi-institutional efforts with broad statewide impact
  • Commitment to pilot course materials in a course scheduled for no later than the date specified in the appropriate RFP, usually by spring semester three years after the grant is awarded
  • Commitment to continue offering the course materials to students at no cost for future semesters/years
  • Agreement to the terms of the grant and required activities

Support and Expectations

Each awarded grant will receive a project orientation at a kickoff meeting and ongoing support from VIVA staff, including Creative Commons license support.  Adapt and Create grants will also receive support in modifying existing OER, access to Pressbooks, ISKME’s Open Author Tool, copyright consultations, and DOIs and ISBNs, where needed. All created or modified material resulting from these grants must be in a format that can be hosted on VIVA's shared repository, VIVA Open. Copyright remains with the creator but VIVA requires permission to host the content in perpetuity. In addition, grant recipients will be expected to participate in the following required activities:

  • Institutional sign-off on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) provided by the VIVA Central Office, using the project proposal as a statement of work
  • Attendance by at least one team member at a required kickoff meeting
  • Project Managers and PIs must meet virtually once at the outset of the project with the VIVA Open and Sustainable Learning Coordinator
  • Completion of a project status report for every semester of the implementation
  • Completion of all textbook and resource creation/adaptation and course redesign as described in the statement of work
  • Completion of a final project report, including a course syllabus with resource links and provision of data on impact on student success, including overall changes in Drop/Fail/Withdraw (DFW) rates and student performance
  • New works must be created under a Creative Commons License and be made accessible to the public through the VIVA shared repository platform
  • Provided course syllabi will be made available to the public through the VIVA Open Syllabus Bank. Identifying information may be redacted. 
  • All works must be subjected to an accessibility check and labeled appropriately as outlined in the MOU and at the grant kickoff meeting
  • A spreadsheet or record of the copyright status of all incorporated material, including text, images, video and music/sound files
  • Content created is owned by the creator, but VIVA requires permission to host the content in perpetuity
  • Participation as needed in VIVA-related communications, including post-project surveys
  • Successful applications may be made available to the public