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Michael Schwartz Library

Affordable Learning @ Cleveland State University: Textbook Affordability Grant

The Michael Schwartz Library, in conjunction with various partners, including the Center for Faculty Excellence and the Center for eLearning, has been offering 3-5 Textbook Affordability Grants each semester for faculty since 2015. The goal of the grant is to encourage and support adoption of openly-licensed course materials in order to save students money and encourage student-centered pedagogy. So far, the grant projects have saved students approximately $438,700.

Faculty whose projects are selected will receive a $500 grant to adopt an open resource or a $1,000 grant to revise or remix an existing open textbook. Appropriate support to find, adopt, or adapt an existing open educational textbook or other education resources to replace a traditional, high-cost textbook will be provided by the Michael Schwartz Library, the Center for eLearning, the Center for Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, and the Center for Faculty Excellence. Five awards are available each semester.

Grant Requirements

Faculty awarded a grant will:

  • Complete the project by the due date on the application, or alternative date to be approved by the grant committee.
  • Attend an open textbook workshop offered by the Michael Schwartz Library and/or Center for Faculty Excellence before submitting the completed project.
  • Evaluate the impact on student learning at the end of the course
  • Provide a report to the sponsors at the end of the project
  • Share experience with others through appropriate events or information channels including at the Provost’s Teaching Summit (held each year in April)
  • Choose a license for any materials authored using this award that will enable, at a minimum, CSU students and instructors to use them freely inside and outside of the course


Applications are judged according to the following criteria:

  • Total dollars saved (price of current course material costs X enrollment)
  • Articulated plan to assess impact and quality of student learning
  • Feasibility that others might adopt for other sections
  • Sustainability (how possible it will be to continue to use the new material(s) over a sustained period of time)
  • Priority will be given for projects that support general education courses attracting significant enrollments

Project Types

    Adopt an existing open textbook or other open education resource (OER) and/or create new open content to bridge gaps in available resources. New content may add chapters to existing open textbooks or be used to create ancillaries such as quiz question banks, lecture slides, or lab manuals. Goal—to replace a traditional, high-cost textbook with an open textbook, articles, book excerpts, audio, or video that are open access or licensed through the Library. (Grant of $1,000; half up front/remainder upon completion of project.)

    Revise/Remix/Adapt an existing open textbook or other open educational resource (OER) to replace a commercial textbook or other proprietary course materials currently required for the course. (Grant of $500.)


    This grant is offered by the Michael Schwartz Library in collaboration with the Center for eLearning, Center for Instructional Technology and Distance Learning (CITDL), and the Center for Faculty Excellence.

2017-2018 Faculty Grant Recipients

Lisa Bernd

Lisa Bernd, THE 111

  • Proposal: Lisa Bernd identified an open-access textbook appropriate for the course: Theatrical Worlds. This book was organized by Charlie Mitchell, an established theatre scholar and published online by University Press of Florida. It has been well-received by theatre instructors. Bernd proposed to adapt her material for the new textbook during the summer and have it ready for use in fall, 2017. She said changes to the book would include the order of the units, vocabulary, worksheets, quizzes, and exams.

    Dr. Bernd also worked with Heather Caprette to design assignments for her students to produce OER, as part of a second grant administered by the Open Education Group, called Designing with Open Educational Resources. Students produced H5P knowledge checks and interactive learning content within a Pressbook. The Pressbook is Fall 17 — Introduction to Theater — Learning Resources. Students published analyses of local live performances here too. Her Spring 2018 students produced a similar Pressbook, called Spring 18 — Introduction to Theater — Learning Resources.
  • Result: Introduction to Theater—Learning Resources.
  • Year: 2017
  • College: CLASS
  • Department: Theatre & Dance

Sonya Charles

Sonya Charles, PHL 541

  • Proposal: Sonya Charles proposed to replace the textbook titled Case Studies in Biomedical Ethics, 2nd Edition, by Veatch with articles available through the Michael Schwartz Library resources. The section she teaches in the summer is a dedicated section for the Physician Assistants program. In addition to saving these students money, it would be more beneficial for them to work with primary sources. She would use peer reviewed articles from bioethics journals. This will not only introduce students to timely topics, but help them develop useful research skills they can use later in their careers.
  • Year: 2018
  • College: CLASS
  • Department: Philosophy & Comparative Religion

Kathy Curnow

Kathy Curnow, ART 286

  • Proposal: Kathy Curnow proposed to supplement an online available open source work, Art and Life in Africa by Chris Roy of University of Iowa. While this source is written by specialists and covers African art both thematically and regionally, it lacks tools for students that would help students conduct visual analyses, effectively research, and memorize salient visuals. She would prepare sections to guide students in these efforts. She would also create links within Bright Access for these Art and Life in Africa segments.
  • Result: The Bright Continent: African Art History
  • Year: 2017
  • College: CLASS
  • Department: Art

Melanie Gagich
Emilie Zickel

Melanie Gagich & Emilie Zickel, ENG 101 and ENG 102

  • Proposal: Melanie Gagich's grant application was to pilot an open access text to be used in her four ENG 101 courses in the fall of 2017; however, her ultimate goal was to help the First-Year Writing Program integrate an open access textbook in ENG 100, ENG 101, and ENG 102 with her colleague Emilie Zickel. She planned to replace Stephen Wilhoit's text, A Brief Guide to Writing from Readings 7th Edition with as an Open Access Textbook in her ENG 101 courses beginning in the fall semester of 2017. The materials coincide with the information in the traditional printed text. She noted Emilie Zickel's project proposal for an open access textbook in her ENG 102 courses. She hoped that by sharing their experiences and material, they would eventually be able to integrate their work into CSU's First-Year Writing curriculum.
  • Result: Introduction to Writing in College. Combined text by Melanie Gagich & Emilie Zickel as a result of the individual grants: In Practice: A Guide to Rhetoric, Genre, and Success in First-Year Writing.
  • Year: 2017-2018
  • College: CLASS
  • Department: English

Adrienne Gosselin

Adrienne Gosselin, ENG 347 and ENG 207

  • Proposal: Charles Chesnutt: Citizen of Cleveland is an interactive instruction model for teaching race relations in fiction by Charles Chesnutt set in Northeast Ohio in the 19th-and 20th-centuries. Although there are numerous websites devoted to Charles Chesnutt, few examine the city 's influence in shaping both the author's life, and his literature. This project will offer no cost material to address this gap. It would provide an open access textbook that includes course material, lesson plans, and multimedia to reinforce content. The text would be divided into three main sections: Chesnutt's biography, which includes a history of education policies for African Americans; lesson plans for teaching the Groveland stories, Chesnutt's fictional city based on Cleveland; and a study guide for teaching The Quarry, Chesnutt's final novel, which features Northeast Ohio.
  • Result: Charles Chesnutt in the Classroom
  • Year: 2018
  • College: CLASS
  • Department: English

Shelley Rose

Shelley Rose, HIS 200

  • Proposal: Shelley Rose completely switched to open access in spring 2017 using Open Geography Education and her own Google Earth Virtual Workbook. She proposed to revise and update the platform for the Google Earth Virtual Workbook she created in 2013. Because of the nature of Google Earth and its plugins, the workbook requires at least minor revisions before each course (broken links, revised instructions to accommodate Google changes). In particular, she relies on a Thematic Mapping Engine for a substantial portion of exercises. The engine is a critical component of the workbook, but its developers are no longer maintaining the code. She would commission a developer who can use the open-source code to update the mapping engine and integrate it with the workbook.
  • Result: In progress
  • Year: 2017
  • College: CLASS
  • Department: History