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Affordable Course Content Awards

Overview of the VCU Affordable Course Content Awards

Seed: Sociology Process-oriented Learning Modules

Project: Create a repository of process-based, scaffolded learning modules 

Class: Another world is possible (SOCY 391), Confronting Climate Crisis (SOCY 250), and some sections of Introduction to Sociology (SOCY101)

Project Team: Jesse GoldsteinFrankie Mastrangelo, Ph.D., and Emily Tomasik, (research assistant and BS SOCY 2021)

Key Features

  • Bringing new pedagogy framework to sociology by building on existing process-based guided inquiry pedagogy popular in STEM fields
  • Modules will be student-center, process-oriented, and scaffolded to facilitate learning
  • Will develop both student-focused modules and educator support materials to ease future adoption and adaption
  • Will test materials in multiple sociology courses and potentially also an arts education seminar

Project Updates

  • Developing modules beginning Summer/Fall 2021
  • Testing modules in SOCY 391 and refining general structure (e.g. how long, how much instruction needed for students, potential development of instructor manuals)
  • Testing modules and adaptations in courses like SOCY101

Current VCU Impact Level: 250 Students (reached Fall 2022) and $10,000 in student savings (reached Spring 2022). In use for 3 semesters.

250 Students Impacted$10,000 in Student Savings3 semesters used

Seed: Personal Finance Planning

Project: Adopt and customize OER

Class: Personal Finance Planning (FIRE301)

Project Team: Carolyn McCrea

Key Features

  • Adopting/customizing sections of exisiting personal finance OER and build supporting materials
  • Developing within Canvas, with a plan to share via the Canvas Commons
  • FIRE301 will soon be a VCU general education offering

Project Updates

  • Identified initial collection of resources
  • Imported into Canvas for current online iteration of FIRE301
  • Testing with students to see which materials work and which don't, and identify gaps in materials

Current VCU Impact Level: 100 Students (reached Spring 2022) and $10,000 in student savings (reached Spring 2022). In use for 2 semesters.

100 Students Impacted$10,000 in Student Savings2 semesters used

Seed: Rheumatology/Dermatology

Project: Author an OER

Class: Movement (Musculoskeletal) and potential others in the medical school curriculum

Project Team: Beth RubinsteinFnu Nutan, Julia Nunley, and medical students Mavra Masood, Sindhuja Koppu, Sarah Shapiro, and Julianna Kang

Key Features

  • Dynamic modules will focus on the identification, diagnosis and workup of different dermatologic manifestations of rheumatic diseases
  • Will present examples in skin of color (SOC), filling a gap in both commercial and OER medical school resources
  • Medical students will play a key role in project management, content creation, and maintaining and updating the project.

Project Updates

  • Two modules completed and working on drafting subsequent modules
  • Tested first module in class in Spring 2022
  • Working on collection method for physicians to submit images for inclusion in the resource
  • Awarded a 2021 Affordable Course Content Awards sustain grant to support the student creation of additional modules

Current VCU Impact Level: 250 Students (reached Spring 2023) and $25,000 in student savings (reached Spring 2023). In use for 3 semesters.

250 Students Impacted$25,000 in Student Savings3 semesters used

Seed: Art History Videos

Project: Create an Open Video Resource

Class: Survey of Art (ARTH104)

Project Team: Rebecca Shields

Key Features

  • Video which will highlight African American art history, a topic absent from most art history textbooks
  • Partnering with local historical sites to highlight their local findings and expertise
  • Exploring the process for partnering with local sites and creating a resource to potentially lay the groundwork for the creation of additional modules.

Project Updates

  • Completed filming at Wilton House, focusing on the architectural design (staircase) by enslaved workers
  • Working with VCU resources on finalizing the video
  • Awarded a 2022 Affordable Course Content Awards spread grant to expand the project by filming similar videos on unrecognized minority creators at additional regional locations

View the OER

Current VCU Impact Level: 100 Students (reached Spring 2024). In use for 2 semesters.

100 students impacted2 semesters used

Spread: Russian

Project: Author an Open Textbook

Class: Elementary Russian 1 and 2 (RUSS101 and 102)

Project Team: Natalia Boykova, with Kathryn Murphy-Judy and students Victoria Crouch and Maria Lavrentyeva

Key Features

  • Comprehensive textbook for introductory Russian, which includes student-curated content
  • Builds on existing VCU foreign language OER models
  • Students will play a key role in the development of the resource

Project Updates

  • Content being generated and refined
  • Began use in RUSS101 in Fall 2021
  • Working on developing multimedia content, such as videos and h5p, with the assistance of student workers

Current VCU Impact Level:  100 Students (reached Spring 2024) and $25,000 in student savings (reached Spring 2024). In use for 5+ semesters.

100 students impacted$25,000 in student savings5+ semesters used

Spread: Natural Resources and Environmental Planning

Project: Author OER

Class: Natural Resources and Environmental Planning (URSP650)

Project Team: Shruti Syal

Key Features

  • Highly scaffolded, applied learning assignments as the core learning component for weekly modules
    • Skill-building exercises teaching the use of open access databases and web tools for analyses
    • Guided exploration and evaluation of free, recently-published case studies
  • Will also replace any existing commercial texts with free resources

Project Updates

  • Exercises developed
  • Beta-testing exercises with students

Current VCU Impact Level: In use for 3 semesters.

3 semesters used

Sustain: 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

View the OER:

Current VCU Impact Level:  100 Students (reached Spring 2024). In use for 5+ semesters.

100 students impacted5+ semesters used

Sustain: Children's Literature

Project: Author an Open Textbook

Class: Children's Literature I (TEDU386)

Project Team: Lisa CipollettiValerie Robnolt, and Elizabeth Morris, Children’s Librarian, Richmond Public Library (Main Branch)

Key Features

  • Provide an overview of children's literature (e.g. history) as well as detailed explorations of literary genres 
  • Will include suggested booklists for each genre
  • Plans to eventually include student contributions, such as book reviews and digital book trailers

Project Updates

  • Began beta-testing written content in Summer 2020.
  • Gathered feedback from students in Summer and Fall 2020 to help ensure the maximum impact of the resource
  • Identified an existing OER which can be reused in part to eliminate duplication of efforts in creating content
  • Currently finishing authoring the text and working on importing into the website which will deliver content
  • Awarded a 2021 Affordable Course Content Awards sustain grant to assist in finalizing importing and formatting content in their online platform.

View the OER: 

Current VCU Impact Level: 100 Students (reached Spring 2023) and $10,000 in student savings (reached Fall 2022). In use for 5+ semesters.

100 Students Impacted$10,000 in Student Savings5+ semesters used