Open Educational Resources Grant and Support Program

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The OER Grant and Support Program offers in-kind supports and up to $25,000 in instructor funding to integrate OER into teaching. The program is a partnership between Western Libraries, the Instructional Technology Resource Centre, Centre for Teaching and Learning, and Western Research’s Knowledge Exchange and Impact Team.

OER are educational materials — such as textbooks, videos, and test banks — that are openly licensed and freely available for anyone to use. OER can be tailored to the unique structure and context of a course. They can also reduce student financial barriers by removing the need to buy commercial materials.

$25,000 is available across three categories:

Category Available funds per grant What's required
Create $7,500 Create or develop a new open textbook or other open educational resource.
Adapt $5,000 Identify and customize an existing open textbook or other OER to better align with your course. This includes creating an updated or localized edition of an existing open textbook, or creating supporting materials such as test banks, slide decks, videos, or interactive media.
Adopt $1,000 Identify and use an existing open textbook or other OER for your course.

Grant recipients have access to in-kind supports from Western Libraries, the Instructional Technology Resource Centre, and the Centre for Teaching and Learning. Some in-kind supports require that co-curricular learning opportunities tie to one or more course or degree program milestones.

The 2023-24 application window for this opportunity has closed.


Any instructor of a Western University credit-bearing course or co-curricular learning opportunity can apply, including instructional teams, instructional assistants, and staff in educational roles.

Co-curricular learning includes, but is not limited to, Western-sponsored learning opportunities that fall outside the traditional classroom. For example, learning skills development, library instruction, or experiential learning.

Applicants are encouraged to identify instructor and/or student collaborators in their applications. Each instructor will receive a grant for only one project on which they are the designated lead.

Projects that depend on additional grants to move forward will only be considered if the additional grants have already been confirmed.

Funding Guidelines

Grant funds will be available to successful applicants in May 2023, to be spent by April 30, 2024. Projects must be completed and ready for use during the 2024-25 academic year.

We will fund a maximum of three projects in a single category, with projects from a variety of disciplines. The number of grants depends on the types and quality of applications received.

Eligible expenses include the costs of labour and expertise needed to adopt, adapt, or create an OER, beyond the in-kind support provided by program partners. This includes paying students and research assistants, editors, or copy editors. Funds may also be used to pay for software.

Ineligible expenses are hardware, conference registration, or travel costs. Teaching release is not covered by this funding, nor are faculty and staff salaries.

Unspent funds must be returned to Western Libraries at the end of the fiscal year. 

Evaluation Criteria

A panel will evaluate all program applications using a standardized rubric. Criteria includes:

  • Applicants’ commitment to Open Education with demonstrated knowledge exchange plan to share the project within and beyond Western University.
  • Potential impact and benefit to students (including, and in addition to, cost savings).
  • Evidence of need for OER on identified topic (applies to adaptation and creation categories).
  • Feasible project scope, timelines, and budget.

Special consideration will be given to projects that aim to support or put equity, diversity, inclusion, and decolonization into practice.

Read the full Evaluation Rubric.

Expectations of Grant Recipients

  • Communicate updates, decisions, and required supports to your Western Libraries OER program liaison.
  • Attend cohort calls to share project updates and learnings with other grant recipients (one call in each of the summer 2023, fall 2023, and winter 2024 terms).
  • Release adaptation and creation projects with the appropriate license (e.g., Creative Commons license) to allow others to freely retain, revise, reuse, remix, and/or redistribute content.
  • Deposit in Scholarship@Western and the eCampusOntario Open Library, and in other open repositories as desired/appropriate.
  • Adhere to guidelines and best practices for accessible resources.
  • Submit a final assessment at the end of the funding cycle (in May 2024).

In-Kind Supports

Available for all projects:

  • Choosing, designing, or adapting instructional approaches with the resource (e.g., self-directed learning activities and assessments; organization and sequencing of topics or information).
  • Creating, assessing, or redesigning course or lesson learning outcomes.
  • Locating additional existing, open license resources.
  • Explaining copyright and Creative Commons licensing.

For adaptation and creation projects only:

  • Creating digital media (available from the Instructional Technology Resource Centre for projects connected to courses or achievement of program milestones).
  • Using Pressbooks open publishing platform to migrate or create text content.
  • Metadata, repository deposit, ISBNs, and/or DOIs.

2023 Grant Recipients

Bing Li, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering (Adaptation project): Open Dissemination of Data Science Applications for Geotechnical Engineers

Bing will be creating openly-licensed lecture materials (slide decks and recorded lectures) that leverage existing open materials. Students in Bing’s classes will also be making their own course work open, such that their work will contribute to developments and scholarship in the field. Works produced and made open as part of this grant will discuss application of theory to geotechnical engineering—a gap that exists within current openly-licensed textbooks and teaching materials.

Peter Rogan, Professor Emeritus, Biochemistry and Oncology (Creation project): Adapting a new open radiology textbook for an online course

Peter and his team of collaborators will be developing lecture materials to accompany a newly-published open textbook, Radiobiology Textbook. Among other benefits, making the accompanying lecture materials openly-available will make it easier for others to adopt the open textbook in their own courses as a replacement for commercial textbooks.

Jacob Shelley, Associate Professor, Law (Creation project): Salus Populi: The Health of the People

Jacob and his team will create a variety of open content related to public health and the role of the law. The goal will be to use this content in the classroom instead of a commercial textbook, and to ensure that it is able to be tailored to specific disciplines and levels of training. Complimentary materials will be developed with a public audience in mind.

Obidi Ezezika, Assistant Professor, Health Sciences (Creation project): Immersive Learning Cases in Implementation Science: The SDG Storyline Project

Obidi and his team aim to create three interactive case studies tailored to the topic of implementation science. Their goal is to demonstrate current examples of health interventions that highlight the use of equity, diversity, inclusion, and/or decolonization (EDI-D) efforts, which led to their successful implementation and sustainability. Throughout each case, students will be invited to consider what gaps exist when implementing health interventions into real-life practice and how to address them.

2022 Grant Recipients

Alexis Smith, Clinical Practice Faculty Lead, Nursing (Adoption project): Adopting OER in Nursing to Further Student Learning in Mental Health

Alexis has adopted diverse OER, including case studies, open textbooks, and virtual simulations, to replace the $155 commercial text previously used in her course. One of those resources is Nursing: Mental Health and Community Concepts, an open textbook. Alexis has also developed a number of openly-licensed interactive learning activities to support her course using H5P, which are available in eCampusOntario’s H5P Studio. With approximately 300 students in the course, OER could save students a total of $46,000.

Candace Brunette-Debassige, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education (Creation project): Indigenous Teaching and Learning Series Module: Working with Indigenous Student

As part of a larger Indigenous Teaching and Learning Online Series project, which is aimed at supporting instructors and faculty members in decolonizing and Indigenizing their teaching and learning, Candace and her team are developing a multimedia module and guide, Working with Indigenous Students. The guide will provide an overview of local Indigenous peoples and histories; treaties; land acknowledgements; terminology; the complexities of Indigeneity; and barriers and challenges Indigenous students face in obtaining their education.

Courtney Casserly, Assistant Professor, Clinical Neurological Sciences (Creation project): A STROKE of Genius: Teamwork makes Dreamwork

Courtney and her team of medical practitioners are developing a module to help learners experience the complex dynamics of an interdisciplinary health care team. The resource will be used in an undergraduate medical education course, and will situate the learner in a simulated medical case focused on treating a patient with stroke. It will be a multimedia resource, complete with videos, images, text, and audio. Many of the multimedia items included in the module are also openly available in the Health Education Media Library.

Donna Kotsopoulos, Dean, Faculty of Education, (Creation project): Project Open & Accessible: Instructor tool for evaluating OERs for course inclusion

Donna will create a tool to assist instructors with selecting OER during course development, and will test the tool while selecting OER to use in her own course on Education Finance. The tool will help instructors assess the pedagogical quality of a resource, assess the extent to which a resource is open access, public domain, or publicly available, and assess its accessibility and compatibility with universal design. Her goal is to make sure all the course materials she uses in her teaching are free for students. She hopes her tool will help other faculty members to make the same commitment.

Vera Sarina, Lecturer, Faculty of Education (Creation project): The Living Tree of Mathematics: Word Problems through World History and Cultures. A multi-media book for students at universities and beyond

Vera and her team are developing a multimedia, open access textbook (via Pressbooks) to be used in two courses for the Bachelor of Education program. The project will introduce students to authentic mathematical problems and stories from historical sources and diverse cultures around the world. It is also intended to be used in elementary school math courses, serving as a source of relevant, engaging, and challenging math problems and a path to knowing, appreciating, and celebrating the contributions of different cultures to the development of mathematics.


Email our Research and Scholarly Communication team for assistance.