VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Affordable Course Content Awards

Overview of the VCU Affordable Course Content Awards

2021 Award Recipients

Eight projects were selected to receive awards to create or customize openly-licensed alternatives to expensive course materials. This year, awards were split into three categories: seed (early or small projects), spread (expansion or large projects), and sustain (updating or maintenance on existing projects).

2021 Affordable Course Content Awards

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

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

  • Awarded an Affordable Course Content Award in Summer 2021

View the OER: Check back in 2023!

Seed: Personal Finance Planning

Project: Adopt and customize OER

Class: Personal Finance Planning (FIRE301)

Project Team: Carolyn McCrea and Joseph Stemmle

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

  • Awarded an Affordable Course Content Award in Summer 2021

View the OER: Check back in 2023!

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

  • Awarded an Affordable Course Content Award in Summer 2021

View the OER: Check back in 2023!

Seed: Art History

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

  • Awarded an Affordable Course Content Award in Summer 2021

View the OER: Check back in 2023!

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

  • Awarded an Affordable Course Content Award in Summer 2021

View the OER: Check back in 2023!

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

  • Awarded an Affordable Course Content Award in Summer 2021
  • Began developing exercises

View the OER: Check back in 2023!

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

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.

View the OER: Check back in 2022!

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 developing 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: Check back in soon!