The following FAQ provides answers to common questions applicants may have about the Course Material Fellowship Program.  

I want to know more about... 


The Fellowship Program’s Application, Expectations, and Compensation 

Can non full-time faculty members apply to the Fellowship Program? 

Yes, non full-time faculty members are encouraged to apply to the fellowship program. Please note that you must be an instructor of record at IU Bloomington. 

How will applications be evaluated? How will applicants be selected for the program?  

Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria: 

  • The clarity and specificity of your plan to transition to affordable course materials. 

  • Your interest in serving as an ambassador of affordable course materials at IU. 

  • The number of students per semester impacted by your transition to affordable course materials. 

  • The strength of your vision for how the project will serve underserved student populations. 

  • The anticipated format for your project—text-based projects will be prioritized, as we have the most capacity for supporting such projects. 

For more details, please see the rubric we will be using to evaluate applications. 

I’m interested in the program but I’m not completely certain if my course will be offered, or if it will have low enrollment, in Fall 2023. Can I still apply? 

To assess your project’s potential impact on students, applicants are asked about projected enrollment, based on previous courses taught, as a way to predict future enrollment. However, we understand that teaching assignments and enrollment can be unpredictable and subject to last-minute changes. Please provide your best estimate for projected enrollment when completing the application. If there is a change in course offerings or enrollment, you can still move forward as a Fellow. 

Will I be required to use affordable course materials or OER after the Fellowship Program ends? 

You are only required to use affordable course materials or OER for one semester. However, the goal of the Fellowship Program is to develop resources that you can use long-term. It is also beneficial to continue using affordable course materials or OER, because it lowers educational costs for students and the materials are customized to your course.  

I’m already using affordable course materials or OER in my course. Am I still eligible for the program? 

Yes, you are still eligible for the program if you are an instructor of record already using affordable course materials or OER. Fellowship awards will be granted to transform course materials, which can include finding and curating affordable course materials (e.g., library-licensed or public domain materials), building on existing OER, or creating your own OER. For example, under Tier 1, you could add a few chapters to the existing OER you're using or create a companion question bank to accompany the resource. Please keep in mind that applications will be considered based on the applicant pool.  

How do you determine the stipend amount for each project? 

Fellows will be given a stipend ranging from $2,000-$5,000 based on the scope of their project. Each proposed project will be categorized as Tier 1 or Tier 2, with compensation at the lower or higher end of the range for each respective tier.  

Tier 1 projects will involve finding and adopting affordable materials and/or OER for your course or creating supplementary materials for already-existing affordable materials. Tier 2 projects involve a more significant time investment, as they require Fellows to create an OER consisting of at least 75% original material. The central goal of Tier 2 projects is to create a Pressbooks text licensed under a Creative Commons license. 

When will I find out if my project is Tier 1 or Tier 2 and the exact stipend amount I’ll be awarded? 

Once your application has been accepted by the Fellowship Program Implementation Group, you will schedule a required consultation with the Open Education Librarian in Fall 2022. In this consultation, you will discuss the scope and objectives of your project and review any relevant affordable course materials or OER solutions that may already exist. Based on this discussion and review, we’ll determine your assigned Tier and an appropriate stipend amount. You’lll have an opportunity to ask questions about the tier and stipend amount and then the assigned Tier, project expectations, and stipend amount will be agreed upon in a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).  

How and when will Fellows receive their stipend?  

Once accepted as a fellow, you will fill out a form for our Library Financial Services department. Payment will be made as “additional payment” through the University, meaning that funds will be deposited in the direct deposit account where you receive your standard paycheck. Fellows will be paid half of their stipend at the start of Summer 2023 after completing the spring meetings and the other half of their stipend after implementing their new materials the next academic year. 

How will I be required to share my final project? 

At the end of the Program, all Fellows will be required to do a short presentation on their project during Open Education Week 2024. Tier 2 Fellows (those creating an original Open Educational Resource using Pressbooks) are required to assign a Creative Commons license to their finished resource and share it publicly in the IUScholarWorks repository so that anyone can find and use it. We encourage Tier 1 Fellows to also make their resources as widely available as possible, but this is not required.  

Do I need to already know specific technology before participating in the program? 

No, you do not need any specific technology skills or expertise prior to your acceptance in the Fellowship Program. The Program will provide support and training for required technologies such as Microsoft Teams and (for Tier 2 fellows) Pressbooks. 


The Fellowship Program’s Goals, Structure, and Content 

How will the Fellowship Program benefit instructors and students? 

The Fellowship program aims to serve both faculty and students (undergraduate and graduate) at Indiana University Bloomington by lowering course material costs and providing materials that are customizable to their course’s learning objectives. The program will give instructors of record the opportunity to customize their course materials, making their instruction more effective. 

The Fellowship Program aims to make course materials more affordable in one of two ways: by helping faculty to find, adopt, and curate zero- or low-cost course materials, or by assisting faculty with the adaptation or creation of Open Educational Resources (OER). If you choose to create OER as part of the Fellowship Program, then we will require that your OER be shared freely in IU’s institutional repository, IUScholarWorks, so that other instructors, both internal and external to the IU system, can use and adapt them. 

Are all the consultations and meetings mandatory for fellows?  

All accepted fellows must participate in an initial consultation with the Open Education Librarian in Fall 2022. Additionally, in Spring 2023, fellows will be required to attend and participate in monthly meetings (January-May) to learn more about affordable course materials in collaboration with other fellows. 

How much of a time commitment does the program require?  

The time commitment for completion of your project will vary, because each Fellow will have a different skill set and knowledge base prior to the fellowship, as well as a unique project tailored to their class.  

However, the basic requirements of the fellowship and the depth of your project can help you to estimate the time commitment required for participation. As a fellow, you should expect to spend approximately 15 hours on fellowship activities—including consultations and workshops—over the course of the 2022-2023 academic year. Beyond this, the time commitment will depend on whether you’re working on a Tier 1 or Tier 2 project. If you are working on a Tier 1 project, you will need to set aside time to find and select materials, consult with librarians and instructional designers, and draft or organize content. Tier 2 fellows will also need time for these kinds of activities and should expect that, since they are creating original materials, the time commitment for the Fellowship will be similar to the time required for designing a new course or working on a major writing project. 

If you are accepted as a Fellow, you will meet with the Open Education Librarian for a required consultation early in your project. This consultation will be used to determine the scope, goals, and estimated time commitment of your project, and you’ll sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that establishes your agreed-upon expectations and timeline. 

How will Fellows be supported throughout the program? 

Fellows will receive support from IU Bloomington Libraries, the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL), and the UITS Digital Education Program and Initiatives Team.  

More specifically, the Fellowship Program will provide individual consultations and collaborative training meetings to assist Fellows with finding and building course materials through the development of their project. This includes an early consultation with the Open Education Librarian about your specific project as well as additional, optional consultations with the Head of the Copyright Program, subject-specific librarian(s), and instructional design and technology experts. Fellows will receive education and training on affordable course materials, OER, and associated technologies (e.g., Pressbooks) through asynchronous resources and monthly meetings with their cohort. 

What if there are no affordable course materials or OER relevant to my instructional content and objectives?  

The goal of the fellowship is to transition to low-cost course materials for students by adopting or creating affordable course materials and/or OER. In your initial consultation with the Open Education Librarian, you will determine together if there are any existing affordable course materials or OER that you may adopt or modify for your course.  

If no relevant affordable course materials or OER exist, then you will need to create your own original resource, most likely as an openly licensed OER, in a Tier 2 project. The Fellowship Program will provide you with the support and training needed to create an OER. You can search for relevant OER by consulting the Open Textbook Library and the Pressbooks directory  

Does the Fellowship require assessment of the project’s effects on student learning outcomes? 

After using your affordable course materials and/or OER in your class, you may conduct an assessment of how the new materials affect student learning outcomes, but this is not a requirement of the Fellowship. Assessment may be beneficial not only for evaluating how affordable course materials and OER impact student learning, but also for your own professional development, as it can provide tangible evidence of your advocacy and pedagogy.  

If you’re interested in assessment, please see this guide on assessment questions for evaluating the impact of OER on students. You may also choose to use your assessment to write and publish a research article about the impact of your project on teaching in your field. The Open Education Group’s Review Project provides an overview of published empirical research on the effects of OER adoption. 


Defining Affordable Course Materials and Open Educational Resources (OER) 

What is the difference between affordable course materials and Open Educational Resources? 

Affordable course materials include any course materials that are zero- or low-cost. Affordable course materials may consist of library-licensed materials, works in the public domain, excerpts of works available for educational purposes under fair use doctrine, instructor-created lectures or handouts, open access journal articles, and so on.  

Open Educational Resources (OER) are also affordable course materials because they are free, but they are different from these other kinds of materials because they are specifically designed and licensed for wide sharing and reuse. OER are learning objects (tutorials, syllabi, worksheets, interactive experiences, lesson plans, blogs, etc.) shared under an intellectual property license (Creative Commons License) that enables others to reuse, revise, remix, retain, and redistribute them (Wiley, 2014). Therefore, OER and free resources are not synonymous. If an instructor shares a lesson plan on their website but does not put a Creative Commons license on it, it cannot be revised in the same way that an OER can.  

What is a “traditional textbook”? 

Traditionally, textbooks have been physical books that students purchase from their local bookstore or order online. Today, many books are now sold online as e-textbooks. Prices for e-textbooks vary as many come with mandatory course codes to access ancillary material; e-textbook publishers also harvest students’ data by requiring them to register and login to access materials. The Fellowship Program aims to increase use of affordable course materials and/or OER that are freely available to IU students with no required logins. 

OER and Your Professional Practice 

How can I become an ambassador for affordable course materials and Open Educational Resources?  

You can become an ambassador for affordable course materials and Open Educational Resources by sharing information about the skills you have learned with your colleagues, students, and department. OER benefits both students and faculty due to cost savings and the ability to remix and revise learning materials as needed. As you learn more about affordable course materials and OER from the Fellowship Program, you can use the knowledge you have gained to help others in your discipline learn more. CMFP staff can provide slide templates, talking points, and consultation as you consider how to discuss course material affordability issues with your colleagues.  

Aside from the pedagogical benefits, how else can OER enhance my career? 

While opportunities for improving equity, accessibility, and pedagogy are typically the chief motivators for faculty’s adoption and creation of OER, participation in OER creation may also be an opportunity for professional development and advancement. Although OER practices are often not considered in promotion and tenure documents, you may be able to include OER adoption as part of your teaching and service work. The Course Material Fellowship Program can assist with documenting and communicating the impact of your affordable course materials or OER efforts by writing recommendations or letters of support about your work. Moreover, creating an original OER or publishing an assessment-based research article on OER adoption/adaptation may be considered research, as such practices are part of the scholarship of teaching and learning. The OER in Tenure and Promotion Matrix provides more specific details on these considerations.