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

How will the Fellowship Program benefit instructors and students?

The Fellowship program aims to serve both faculty and students (undergraduate and graduate) at the IUPUI, IUB, and IUPUC campuses by lowering course material costs and providing materials that are customizable to their course’s learning objectives. The program will give instructors of record at these campuses the opportunity to customize their course materials, making their instruction more effective. The Open Educational Resources (OER) that are created as part of the Fellowship will 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.


What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Educational Resources (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). The concept of OER began in the late 1990s/early 2000s and OER awareness continues to grow. 

OER and free resources are not synonymous. If someone shares a lesson plan on their website and doesn't put a Creative Commons license on it, it cannot be revised in the same way that an OER can. The same is true for multi-user eBooks provided through the library that classes might use as textbooks--they save students money but they are missing that license and, thus, are not OER.  


Can non full-time faculty members apply?

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 the campuses the Fellowship Program intends to serve. 


Are all of the workshops mandatory for fellows to attend? 

"Adopt" Fellows are not required to attend workshops. "Create" and "Adapt" Fellows are required to attend three hour-long workshops as part of the fellowship. Workshops will cover various topics including finding and evaluating OER, customizing materials using IU Pressbooks, and ensuring accessibility of content. Fellows will select the workshops that are of most interest to them. 


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

Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Completeness of the application and level of interest in program
  • The instructor's long-term ability and agency to influence and implement affordable course material adoption at IU
  • Sustainability of the resource beyond the initial use and wider community interest in the resource
  • Potential student savings and the cost of existing materials
  • Enrollment in course or if course has multiple sections as transitioning to zero cost textbooks in these courses will serve the greatest number of students
  • Availability of suitable OER and/or affordable or free course material in major repositories
  • Likelihood that the applicant can and will complete the work involved in the timeframe
  • Applications furthers access and opportunities for diverse and underserved student populations 

  • Applicant interest in assessing the efficacy of OER/ affordable course materials


Do I have to use OER and affordable course materials resources after the Fellowship Program ends?

You are only required to use OER and affordable course materials 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 your students to continue to use OER, both because it lowers the total cost of textbooks and the materials are customized to your course. 


How will the Covid-19 Pandemic impact the Fellowship Program?

In 2020, all meetings for the Fellowship Program were held virtually. While the 2021 is still being planned, fellows will be able to participate 100% virtually if they so choose. In other words, any in-person experiences will be optional. 


How will Fellows be supported throughout the program?

Fellows will receive the support of IUB Libraries/ IUPUI Libraries, the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL) at IUB, the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) at IUPUI, and the UITS Digital Education Programs and Initiatives Team. These staff will help with technical, logistical, copyright/ licensing, or pedagogical issues that arise as fellows are finding and creating course materials. As subject experts, fellows are responsible for developing and organizing any course material content used or developed. The Libraries and UITS support the creation of open textbooks using the Pressbooks publishing platform, which is free to use for all IU affiliates.


What is a traditional textbook?

Traditionally, textbooks have been physical books that students buy 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. The Fellowship Program is focused on using OER and other affordable course material options in order to move away from traditional textbooks. 


I’m already using 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 OER. Fellowship awards will be granted to transform course materials, which can include building on existing OER. For example, under the "Adapt" tier 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 much of a time commitment does the program require? 

The time commitment will vary for completion of your project, because each person will have a different skill set and knowledge base prior to the fellowship, as well as a unique project tailored to their class. Please keep in mind that fellows are required to attend three hour long workshops, participate in one consultation, complete two assessments, and share the results of their project. "Create" fellows can expect to spend significantly more time on their project than others. 


How can I become an ambassador for Open Educational Resources? 

You can become an ambassador for Open Educational Resources by sharing information about the skills you have learned with your colleagues, students, and department. As mentioned previously, OER is beneficial for both students and faculty due to cost savings and the ability to remix and revise learning materials as needed; but it is typically not incentivized for instructors in the tenure and promotion process. As you learn more about 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. 


How 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 after completing the assessment in Spring 2021 and the other half of their stipend after implementing their new materials the next academic year.


Can I still attend the workshops even if I’m not a Fellow? 

Thank you for your interest in the workshops, but the Fellowship Program workshops are not available to groups or individuals outside of the Fellowship Program so that we can tailor the workshops to Fellows specific interests and needs. We are still happy to meet with you individually--please e-mail!


What if my course has low enrollment for the Fall of 2021? 

Applicants are asked about projected enrollment based on their previous course as a way to predict future enrollment. If there is substantial change in enrollment, the instructor can still move forward as a fellow. 


Do I need to submit an IRB to share the results of my assessment? 

Yes, you will need to submit an IRB if you wish to publish any assessment of how the change in course materials impacted student learning or engagement. IUB's Database of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and the OER Research Group bibliography may provide helpful inspiration as you're designing and implementing your study. 


What are the licensing requirements and why are they necessary? 

Creative Commons licenses provide the foundation of OER. These licenses are an extension of copyright; they do not replace copyright. Therefore, if you share something under a CC license you still own the copyright but you've told others upfront how you'd like them to use your work. Every CC license requires that the user give attribution to the creator if they use the material.  Fellows are required to license their new materials so that other instructors can build upon them, benefitting both IU and the general teaching community. This increases the reach and impact of the material. 

What if there are no OER in my area? 

The goal of the fellowship is to replace your traditional textbooks so that course materials are free for students. If there are no OER resources available in your area of study you would be required to design new materials without drawing from existing OER. This work would fall under the "Create" tier and will entail the most work. There will be support from the IUB Libraries/ IUPUI Libraries, the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (CITL), and the UITS Digital Education Programs and Initiatives Team for "Create" Fellows. You can double check that there aren't existing OER by consulting the Open Textbook Library and the Pressbooks directory or by e-mailing