Regents OER Grant Recipients Announced

The Regents university libraries are proud to announce the awarding of grants to 5 faculty teams to support creation of free, openly-licensed course materials. This funding opportunity provides intensive training and support for faculty writing open textbooks or other materials to replace expensive, traditional textbooks. In addition to saving UNI, UI, and ISU students an estimated $308,000 per year, new Open Educational Resources created through the program prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. They are also likely to be adopted at other institutions, expanding the impact and cost savings beyond the Regents.

For more about Open Educational Resources, see

Funded projects include: 

Communication for College, Career, and Civic Life
PIs: Ryan McGeough, Kyle Rudick, Danielle McGeough, and Kathryn Golsan (UNI)
Course supported: COMM 1000
Award amount: $21,400
Estimated student savings: $82,000 per year
Description: The project brings together several faculty members, all of whom have authored textbooks in the past, to create an OER textbook focused on developing communication skills. It will accomplish multiple objectives. In addition to providing substantial cost savings, it will fill gaps in existing texts related to communication and diversity, information literacy, and communication and digital technology. It will also support the oral communication outcome of the new general education curriculum (UNIFI).

Creating Open Resource Textbook for Methods of Teaching Early Literacy
PIs: Nandita Gurjar (UNI), Sohyun Meacham (UNI), and Constance Beecher (ISU)
Courses supported: LitEd3115 (UNI), LitEd3119 (UNI), and EDUC377 (ISU)
Award amount: $23,550
Estimated student savings: $52,200 per year
Description: This project will create a comprehensive resource to replace twelve books currently used in the PI’s three courses. The OER will be a multimodal resource, focusing on literacy development of PreK-3rd grade elementary students while addressing the needs of diverse students.

Elementary Science Methods I and II: Ancillary Project
PIs: Ted Neal, Jeff Nordine, & LaVerne Logan (UI)
Courses supported: EDTL3165 and EDTL3166
Award amount: $5,550
Estimated student savings: $5,356 per year (in addition to previous savings)
Description: This project will merge two existing open texts the lead author previously created, update content with presentation slides, improve/update the test banks, and improve ancillary materials. It will address Next Generation Science Standards, better align with a new course sequence, and add resources students have been requesting.

Elementary Spanish: An OER Textbook
PIs: Giovanni Zimotti, Rachel Klevar, Braeden Jones (UI), and Gabriela Olivares-Cuhat (UNI)
Courses supported: SPAN1001
Award amount: $25,560
Estimated student savings: $65,000 per year
Description: UI and UNI are joining efforts to redesign the core sequence of the elementary Spanish language track. The work of this team will result in the creation of an OER textbook and ancillary materials for Elementary Spanish that address the diverse needs of undergraduate non-native Spanish Speakers. Self-assessment exercises created using H5P will be included.

Integrated Learning Resources for an Inclusive and Adaptive Undergraduate Music Theory and Musicianship Core Curriculum
PIs: Randall Harlow, Heather Peyton, Jonathan Schwabe, and Daniel Swilley (UNI)
Courses supported: 12 courses in School of Music core (Music Theory I-IV, Aural Training I-IV, and Sight Singing I-IV)
Award amount: $21,400
Estimated student savings: $33,640 per year
Description: This project will replace three standard textbooks with new learning resources that will be free and open to all students, accessible to a more diverse population, and tailored to UNI’s evolving core music curriculum. One key goal is to create an accessible resource for students with a diversity of backgrounds, learning styles, and socioeconomic realities.

University of Iowa Libraries becomes institutional member of Open Access publisher Cogitatio

Today hefty paywalls prevent research published in most scholarly journals from being read online by audiences that many academics often most want to reach—policy makers and elected officials, industry leaders, non-profits, educators, the general public, and even faculty from smaller teaching colleges and community colleges. The University of Iowa Libraries has signed an institutional agreement with Cogitatio Press to support Open Access publishing by faculty, students and staff in their journals. According to SPARC, “Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of research articles coupled with the rights to use these articles fully in the digital environment.” Instead of paywalls, Open Access is often supported by article processing fees (APC), that are often the responsibilities of the authors (or their institutions). The agreement with Cogitatio means the APCs are paid for as part of a 3-year membership by the university. This means that the scholarly research produced by University of Iowa faculty and students can be viewed in full text online and shared widely.  

Cogitatio’s peer reviewed journals include

    1. Media and Communication
    2. Politics and Governance
    3. Social Inclusion
    4. Urban Planning

In Political Science, Professor Caroline Tolbert and graduate students Scott LaCombe and Courtney Juelich each have had articles accepted for publication in a special issue of Politics and Governance dedicated to understanding state ballot measures (initiatives and referenda) after completing a rigorous peer-review process. Professor Tolbert is excited about the prospect of having coauthored work published in an Open Access journal that is rigorously peer-reviewed. “There are not yet many options for Open Access in Political Science, and this model of publication is one model for the future for scholarly writing. We need to expand our readers beyond just other academics and engage in conversations with policymakers and the general public. I also found Cogitation’s peer-review process very thorough. Politics and Governance is a high quality journal. Some scholars worry that Open Access is not as prestigious, but I encourage my colleagues to take a look.”

The Libraries’ Scholarly Publishing guides for “What Faculty Can Do” and “Open Access Models” provide additional information on Open Access at the University of Iowa.