VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Affordable Course Content Awards

Overview of the VCU Affordable Course Content Awards

2020 Award Recipients

Four faculty projects were selected to receive awards to author open textbooks or other course content that will replace more costly course materials. The recipients will be working on their projects starting in January 2021, with implementation expected by Fall 2022. 

2020 Affordable Course Content Awards

VCU Libraries, the Office of the Provost, Online@VCU, the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence, Academic Technologies, Barnes and Noble @ VCU, Inclusive Excellence, and the Friends of VCU Libraries sponsored the fourth round of awards to support faculty adoption of zero-cost resources and creation of openly-licensed alternatives to expensive textbooks. 

More about "Current VCU Impact Levels"

Through the VCU Impact Levels, the Affordable Course Content Awards celebrates project achievements with set "milestones" that mark the number of students impacted and cost savings from using free resources.

When a project reaches a new milestone, we will update their "milestone medal" on this guide and share the news with the project's creators to formally support their case for the value and impact of their project. Impact Levels are not meant to be comparable across projects.

For more information and to see the full list of (current) milestones visit: 

Foundations of Business

Project: Update a recently remixed open textbook

Class: Foundations of Business (BUSN201)

Project Team: Manika Avasthi

Key Features

  • Builds on an OER recently created specifically for the VCU Foundations of Business class by remixing three other existing open resources
  • The OER includes standard introduction to business materials as well as a section on professionalism (e.g. email etiquette and interviewing)
  • Working to update content, data, and examples to ensure they are current

Project Updates

  • Original remix used beginning in Summer 2020
  • Gathering student feedback to incorporate during update to ensure maximum impact of resource
  • Professor no longer teaching course and this iteration no longer in use; resource being adapted for new course professor

View the OER:

License: Foundations of Business by Manika Avasthi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Current VCU Impact Level: 250 Students (reached Spring 2021) and $10,000 in student savings (reached Spring 2021)

250 Students Impacted$10,000 in Student Savings

Health Psychology

Project: Author an open textbook

Class: Health Psychology (PSYC412)

Project Team: Natalie Dautovich

Key Features

  • No existing resources exist which cover all of VCU's health psychology course. This resource will fill that gap.
  • Plans to include interactive content
  • Plans to align with examples from the Richmond community and potentially link to community engagement as a part of the class

Project Updates

  • Outlining content and textbook structure
  • Working with graduate students to begin authoring content

Data Science

Project: Author an open textbook

Class: Data Science I and II (HGEN611 and 612)

Project Team: Dana Lapato and Timothy York

Key Features

  • Builds on existing resources teaching R programming
  • Will incorporate content on research/data ethics and reproducibility, which is mostly lacking in the OER space
  • Using the Bookdown platform
  • Includes practical examples which students can use to test functions in R

Project Updates

  • Working on authoring content
  • Awarded a 2021 Affordable Course Content Awards sustain grant to support honorariums for peer review by students and faculty and compensate students for content contributions.
  • Testing in classes beginning in Fall 2021


Project: Customize an open textbook

Class: Nutrition (BIOL217)

Project Team: Jill Reid

Key Features

  • Customize an exisiting OER on Human Nutrition 
  • Adding media and interactive self-assessments
  • Will work with students to add nutritional examples relevant to the VCU community

Project Updates

  • Imported resource into local Pressbooks and working on adapting resource
  • Beginning using in class starting in Fall 2021

Current VCU Impact Level: 100 Students (reached Fall 2021) and $10,000 in student savings (reached Fall 2021)

100 Students Impacted$10,000 in Student Savings