OpenStax, Rice’s educational technology initiative, announced today that applications for its 2021-2022 Institutional Partner Program are now open. U.S. colleges and universities looking to expand open education advocacy and adoption of open educational resources (OER) to support their students can apply for the free program.
The Institutional Partner Program provides higher education institutions with free coaching, training and support as they work to increase the use of OpenStax and other OER among their faculty and students. While the support that each school receives is individualized, admitted institutions will collaborate within a cohort and a larger network of over 50 colleges and universities that have completed the program since 2015.
“OpenStax membership has also helped us stay abreast of new developments in the OER landscape through a partner distribution list and direct connection with one of the leading OER developers in the United States,” said DeeAnn Ivie, the open education coordinator at the University of Texas at San Antonio, which joined the OpenStax Institutional Partner Program in 2015. “OpenStax continues to provide structure, support and grounding for our maturing OER program.”
In August 2020, OpenStax announced changes to its selection process geared toward serving more diverse student populations. In selecting new partner schools, OpenStax will give special consideration to those with high numbers of Pell Grant-eligible students and to minority-serving institutions.
Participating institutions will build a strategic plan to increase OER use. Because they are freely available and they can be modified to meet unique teaching and learning needs, OER are widely considered to have the most equitable licensing for course materials. Schools that join the OpenStax Institutional Partner Program increased the number of students impacted by OER by an average of 150% after the first year of the program.
“We are very excited to recruit the next cohort of Institutional Partner schools,” OpenStax Managing Director Daniel Williamson said. “The work that each institution has done over the past several years has helped save students millions in textbook costs and raised awareness of open education practices in the education community.”
For the first time, OpenStax will offer two $500 stipends per institution to instructors who adopt an OpenStax book and commit to collaborating with the OpenStax research team for fall 2021. This stipend is offered to help offset the labor costs associated with switching to a new textbook, such as adjusting course plans and updating quizzes and assignments.
"Participating in the OpenStax Institutional Partnership has been instrumental in progressing our textbook affordability efforts,” said Gabby Hernandez, the OER librarian at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, a Hispanic-serving institution participating in OpenStax’s program.. “The support and guidance provided by OpenStax have allowed us to create new initiatives which have proven very successful in educating various stakeholders about the importance of adopting open educational practices and all it encompasses. In our focused efforts we have seen an increase in awareness, interest, adoption and creation of OER within our campus community."
The deadline to apply is May 3. Institutions for the 2021-2022 cohort will be selected in July.
Visit openstax.org/institutional-partnership to learn more and access the online application. For questions about the application process or the program, please email Sonya Bennett-Brandt, assistant director of institutional relations for OpenStax, at email@example.com.
OpenStax is committed to improving access to quality learning materials. As an ed tech initiative that is part of Rice University and supported by philanthropic foundations, OpenStax provides free college and Advanced Placement textbooks that are developed and peer-reviewed by educators, as well as low-cost, personalized courseware that helps students learn. For more information, visit http://OpenStax.org.