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Open Educational Resources: Faculty OER Incentive Program

Open Textbook Faculty Incentive Program

Open Textbook Faculty Incentive Program

The high-cost of textbooks is one of the factors that affects student learning outcomes and student success.  Students avoid certain classes, drop a class, or do poorly when they cannot afford the text for a course.  Students at UIC expressed their concern over the costs of textbooks and asked the Faculty Senate to consider a USG (Undergraduate Student Government) resolution to encourage faculty to choose alternative options for course materials.  The UIC Faculty Senate endorsed the use of open education materials, when possible.

The Open Textbook Faculty Incentive Program supports undergraduate students by creating incentives for teaching faculty to use alternative lower-cost educational materials rather than high-cost textbooks.  This may include the adoption or adaption of existing OER materials.  If needed, it will support the creation of new Open Educational Resources (OER) to fill in gaps of your adopted / adapted OER materials.

“Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching, learning, and research resources that are free of cost and access barriers, and which also carry legal permission for open use.  Generally, this permission is granted by use of an open license (for example, Creative Commons licenses) which allows anyone to freely use, adapt and share the resource—anytime, anywhere.” (

Application and Requirements

Interested faculty will be required to submit a proposal.

Sponsored by the Provost's Office and the University Library, up to $40,000 will be available to faculty teaching undergraduates. 

Proposals are due April 5, 2024.   

Awards will be announced by the end of April.  

Importance of Open Educational Resources at UIC

OER Proposal Options

  1. Proposals will be submitted in one of three tiers:
    • Tier 1 (Adopt)
      • Individual faculty members incorporate an existing open textbook into their course ($750.00 award)
      • Multi-section course teams who adopt an existing open textbook(s) for use in multi-section courses (must be three or more sections) ($1,500 award)
  • Tier 2 (Modify)
    • Individual faculty members incorporate portions of multiple existing open textbooks, along with: other freely available educational resources, modifications of existing open education materials/ textbook, and/ or development of some new open education materials.  Materials available through the library’s collections (journals, book chapters) may also be included but use of such material should be minimal.   The library will not purchase new resources for this incentive program nor will they increase licenses for e-books as these are not open education materials. Library material use must also fall within Fair Use.  Any newly created material must be made available under a Creative Commons license to ensure others are also able to reuse the materials.   ($2,500 award)
    • Multi-section course teams of at least two instructors who adopt and modify open educational resources/ textbooks for use in all sections of the course.  ($3,000 award)

OER Awards will be transferred from the Library to a department CFOP


Optional workshops on OER basics will be available for faculty who want to learn more about OER. The workshop will cover the benefits of open education resources, how to find open education textbooks, and how to evaluate them.

Components of Proposal

  • Name of Instructor(s)
  • Position Title/ Rank
  • Department and School/College
  • Contact Information (email, phone)
  • Basic information about the course (including course number and title;
  • Course size and frequency: how often is the course offered? number total course sections for the course? number of total students are typically enrolled in the course/ semester?
  • Current textbook(s) and costs 
    • What is the potential saving to students in this course if you use alternative open material?  (per individual student and for the overall course - how many students enrolled in the course per semester in combination with cost of materials)
  • What OER Tier is your proposal for and the funding amount expected? (Please ensure the justification is clear in your proposal.)
  • Please outline your plan.  (500 -750 words)
    • What is the nature of the course materials to be adopted  (open textbook adoption, use of freely available education resources).  What modifications will be needed for the existing materials (if any) and/or what new material will need be created to fill in missing content / gaps.  Also address any challenges or barriers anticipated in carrying out your plans?  If appropriate, discuss any internal approval required within your department.   
    • What is your timeline for implementation?  Note: It is expected that funded proposals will be in place by Fall 2024 or Spring 2025.
    • How will students access and utilize this open access material?  
    • If you create materials, how will you make these materials openly accessible for others to use?
  • How will you assess the effectiveness of the open access textbook/ materials in your course?
  • Describe your plan to assess or evaluate the use and outcomes of the course materials (see final report requirements). 

The Deliverables and Timelines

Proposal : The deadline for submission of proposals is April 5, 2024. Proposals will be reviewed by a committee of faculty, librarians and administrators. Selected projects will receive half of the awarded money at the point their project is approved. The remainder of the awarded money will be provided upon submission of a final report summarizing and evaluating the OER substitution. Textbook adoption/ modification must be in place for the Fall 2024 semester Spring 2024 semester.  OER Awards will be transferred from the Library to a CFOP.  Email proposals to:

Final Report :

The final report should include:

  • The number of students enrolled in the course and cost savings; summary of usage across sections (if applicable)
  • Evaluation of impact on learning
  • Explanation of how material was accessed; If new material was created for the course, please share what was developed and where the material can be accessed openly?  (Contact the library at if you require information on where new material can be made openly available or about Creative Commons Licenses.)  
  • Summary of usage if possible
  • What are your future plans?   Will you use the open book or other materials again?  Why or why not?
  • How would you characterize how the project went?


If you have questions, please contact Sandy De Groote (, 312-413-9494 or email the library at

Further Information

  • University Library Open Education Resources LibGuide:
  • The Library will offer workshops and consultations to faculty about OER: OER availability, copyright and licensing issues, Creative Commons licenses, accessibility issues, sustainability, creating new content.