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University of Texas University of Texas Libraries

Open Educational Resources

Open Education Fellows

Open Education Fellows Pilot Program (2021)

Note: Applications for the Open Education Fellows pilot are now closed. The information on this page is preserved for reference.

The UT Libraries (UTL) eagerly invites applications for a new program to support faculty who will adopt and create open educational resources (OER): the Open Education Fellows Program. Through this program, we aim to reduce the cost of required course materials for UT Austin students and empower instructors to adapt or create course materials that meet their pedagogical goals. 

UTL will select up to three (3) Fellows who seek to adopt or adapt existing OER to replace commercial materials in their course(s) and one (1) Fellow who will author and openly license their own course materials. Over the program period, UTL will provide Fellows with professional development opportunities to support their activities in finding, evaluating, and/or creating OER as well as stipends to offset the time and effort that we recognize these activities take. In addition to OER adoption and creation, Fellows will be expected to share their experiences in formats that may include participating in UTL and/or campus events, presenting at conferences, serving as an advisor to future Fellows cohorts, and more. 

In this pilot program, we will be learning together. We expect to identify some process and policy needs as we go, and we hope that pilot Fellows will be understanding and eager to work alongside us.

Review the application questions for the pilot program. 

Program Timeline

October 1 - 31, 2021: Call for applications open

November 1 - 15, 2021: Application review period

November 15 - 21, 2021: Selected Fellows notified

November 22 - December 17, 2021: Initial Fellows consultations with Ashley Morrison, Tocker Open Education Librarian

December 17, 2021: Fellow acceptances due with agreements signed

Spring 2022: Professional development & consultation opportunities provided to Fellows (topics and schedule to be determined)

May 18 - end of Summer 2022: Independent work time with continued consultations available to Fellows

Fall 2022: Expectation that adoption/adaptation Fellows will implement OER or other free course materials (unless course is not being offered until Spring 2023)

Fall 2022: Continued independent work time for author Fellow if needed

December 31, 2022: Expectation that author Fellow’s usable draft is openly licensed, deposited into one or more OER repositories, and ready for Spring 2023 course adoption

UT Libraries Support for Fellows

​​​​​​UTL will provide subject matter expertise and guidance to Fellows in OER and open education practices, copyright and licensing, and UTL collections as needed. This support will take the form of:

  • Professional development opportunities that leverage the cohort model to the extent possible, including workshops, discussions, and coworking sessions
  • Scheduled check-ins throughout the program and ad hoc one-on-one consultations with the Open Education Librarian, the Fellow’s department liaison librarian, and other campus subject matter experts as needed

Stipends will be provided to both categories of Fellows:

  • $2,000 to OER adoption Fellows (up to 3)
  • $5,000 to OER author Fellows (1)

Expectations of Fellows

Fellows will sign an agreement before commencing the program and being paid any stipend. The agreement will include the expectations that follow. Fellows will:

  • Use the OER adopted or created in at least one course as the required course material for at least two semesters (to be verified in the final syllabus for related course[s])
  • Report the OER adoption to the University Co-op each semester it is used in the standard course material adoption process
  • Participate in required professional development opportunities to be scheduled at the convenience of the cohort
  • Consent to being featured on the UTL website and/or other digital or physical campus locations
  • Participate in future UTL and/or campus events or meetings to promote open education and/or the Fellows program
  • License any learning objects produced in the scope of the program, including syllabi, lesson plans, websites, textbooks, and more, with Creative Commons CC BY, CC BY SA, or CC BY NC SA (CC licenses including ND, or No Derivatives, will not be permitted) and deposited into one or more OER repositories
  • Collect anonymous student perception and/or outcomes data, to be defined for each project in consultation between the Fellow and UTL

Frequently Asked Questions

Application & Eligibility Questions

Who should apply for the Open Education Fellows program?

UT Austin instructors who are interested in adopting or authoring open educational resources (OER) and can meet the requirements of the program (outlined above) are encouraged to apply. The strongest applicants will have spent some time searching for OER relevant to the course(s) they teach and ideally identified those they might wish to adopt, adapt, or integrate into their own creations. 

How will you determine who is selected as an Open Education Fellow?

If more applications are received than Fellows positions are available, the following factors will be considered in selecting the pilot cohort:

  • Previous search and identification of OER or other freely available materials for adoption in future courses (for adoption Fellows) or demonstration of need for new, unique OER (for author Fellow)

  • Number of students enrolled in courses taught by the instructor

  • Diversity of applicant disciplines and departments

  • Diversity of instructor levels and positions

Not sure if the resource you’re considering is an OER? Read more about the licenses to look for, or just ask by emailing Ashley Morrison (ashley.morrison@austin.utexas.edu). 

Are teams of two or more instructors eligible to apply? 

Yes, teams or groups of instructors may apply together if they intend to adopt OER for the same courses in different sections, or if they intend to author OER jointly. The stipend will be shared between the members of the team. Only employees of the University of Texas at Austin are eligible to receive a stipend. Only one application per team is required. 

Are instructors who are not full-time employees of UT Austin eligible to apply?

Yes, any UT Austin instructor of record is eligible to apply for the Fellows program. Applicants must have the autonomy to select required materials for a course. 

Please note that instructors who are also graduate students must be paid with scholarship funds instead of a stipend, which may affect financial aid. In applicable situations, if graduate students owe the university any payments, those funds will be debited before the scholarship is distributed. 

I’ve already adopted or created OER or other free required course materials. Am I still eligible to apply?

If all of the courses you teach already require only OER or free materials, you would not be eligible for the Open Education Fellows program at this time. 

However, if you are teaching a new course for which the materials have not yet been assigned and you wish to adopt or create OER for that course, you are eligible to apply. Similarly, if you have adopted or created OER but still require some paid materials for a course and wish to replace those materials with OER, you are eligible to apply. 

I’m interested but not sure when I’ll next teach the class for which I would like to adopt or develop OER. Am I still eligible to apply?

We realize that instructors may receive course assignments or changes to assignments with little notice. You are still welcome to apply for the Fellowship. However, if more applications are received than Fellows positions are available, instructors who regularly teach the course for which they are applying may receive priority. 

I want to make updates to or reformat existing OER. Am I eligible for either type of Fellowship?

Yes. Those who wish to adapt existing content are eligible to apply for the adoption Fellowship. These positions award a stipend of $2,000 (less withholdings) to the Fellow. 

Can I apply for both types of Fellows positions? 

Yes. Each application should represent a different course you teach.

Payment Questions

How and when will selected Fellows be paid the stipend?

Adoption Fellows will be awarded the entirety of their stipend when the identified OER have been formally adopted and listed in the course schedule for Fall 2022 or Spring 2023 (whichever is the earliest semester that the OER can be adopted). The author Fellow will be awarded their stipend in two installments: the first payment will be awarded during Summer 2022 upon demonstrating progress toward the completion of their openly licensed work; the second payment will be awarded when the Fellow’s usable draft is openly licensed, deposited into one or more OER repositories, and ready for Spring 2023 course adoption. Please note that all payments are subject to payroll withholdings in accordance with state and federal laws governing payments of this nature to university employees. 

Special note for graduate student instructors: Graduate student instructors are eligible to apply, but payments must be disbursed using scholarship funds instead of a direct stipend. This may affect your financial aid disbursement. In applicable situations, if graduate students owe the university any payments, those funds will be debited before the scholarship is distributed. 

Program Questions

What will the professional development opportunities be? Are they required?

Professional development opportunities available to Fellows may be some combination of workshops related to open education topics as well as individual consultations or training with UTL or campus staff. Sample topics may include searching for OER, open licensing and copyright, and course materials accessibility. Not all will be required, though some will be (dependent on Fellowship type). 

Do non-open but free course materials count toward the requirements of adoption Fellows?

This program emphasizes the use of open educational resources (OER), which carry licenses that permit their free access, sharing, and modification. As such, applications for adoption Fellows that have already identified some OER suitable for use in their course will be considered first. 

To be eligible, however, Fellows must be willing to commit to the adoption of only no-cost required course materials. It is acceptable to assign other types of materials available at no additional cost to students, including free (but not open) web content and materials licensed by UTL, in addition to OER.

What types or formats of OER are expected for authorship Fellows? Does it have to be a textbook?

Any type or format of teaching object is acceptable for those creating OER. You may also create more than one object that works collectively or separately. Examples may include open textbooks, websites or modules, lesson plans, syllabi, images or video, and other types of media. The requirement is that the object or objects created must replace all paid materials in the course for which you are applying, and we expect that even if existing OER or other materials are integrated, the object or objects include a substantial work of original authorship. Further, all objects must be openly licensed using Creative Commons CC BY, CC BY SA, or CC BY NC SA licenses and deposited into an open repository of the author’s choice. 

I’m interested but can’t commit to the requirements of the program. What other support and/or development opportunities are offered on this topic?

UT Libraries and the OER Working Group offer one-time workshops on similar topics. Additionally, other organizations and institutions host sessions and even full conferences that are open to the public. These opportunities will be shared on the OER events page. Professional development opportunities are also regularly shared through the monthly OER newsletter, which you can sign up for here

Librarians are always happy to offer consultations on topics related to open, free, and affordable course materials. You can learn more about our open education services, submit a request for a free and affordable course materials review, or contact Ashley Morrison (ashley.morrison@austin.utexas.edu) for more information.  

I have questions not answered here.

Please contact Ashley Morrison (ashley.morrison@austin.utexas.edu) if you have any other questions.

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