1. What is the Open and Affordable Textbooks (OAT) Initiative?
The NJIT Open and Affordable Textbook (OAT) Initiative encourages NJIT faculty to redesign their courses using open textbooks, free or low-cost materials, library resources, or open educational resources (OER) in place of commercial texts to increase course material affordability for NJIT students.
2. How is the OAT Initiative supported?
The OAT Initiative is managed by the University Libraries and the Office of Digital Learning with support from the Institute for Teaching Excellence and the Office of the Provost.
3. Does the OAT Initiative provide any monetary incentives for those interested in adopting OER in the classroom?
Three types of OAT awards are currently offered for instructors : Individual Instructor ($1000), Course Coordinator ($3000), and a Faculty Open Author Textbook (FOAT) award (for eligible full-time faculty interested in creating an open textbook).
4. What are some important dates to consider when applying for an OAT award?
5. Who is eligible to apply for the OAT Initiative awards?
6. Can I apply for more than one award per application cycle?
At this time applicants can apply for one award per application cycle.
7. Is this a cash award?
Funds will be distributed as additional compensation or in the form of budget transfer to the academic department.
8. If I have already won an OAT award in the past, can I apply in another year?
Yes. Please note that Individual Instructor awardees are limited to one award per year for two consecutive years, and that Course Coordinator awardees are limited to one award every two years.
9. I just applied for the Faculty Open Author Textbook (FOAT) award. Will I also need to submit a separate application for sabbatical leave?
Yes. When applying for the Faculty Open Author Textbook (FOAT) award, applicants must also submit a separate request for sabbatical leave to the University Committee on Sabbaticals.
Note: FOAT applicants must be tenured faculty and meet the eligibility criteria outlined in the NJIT Sabbatical Leave documents.
10. I am not a full-time NJIT faculty member. Can I still apply?
Yes. Prior to applying for an OAT award, please verify with your course coordinator and/or department chair that the required textbook can be substituted for a high-quality open textbook, OER, or available library resource(s).
11. What kind of support can I, as an OAT award recipient, receive?
An OAT award recipient is assigned a support team composed of a liaison librarian and an instructional designer. These resources are available to help you as you develop your course using open educational resources. The team will work with you to find appropriate resources, as well as integrate them into your course to best meet learning objectives.
12. What can I use the award funds for?
The funding may be utilized as you see fit as long as it is in accordance with NJIT policies and procedures. Some examples past recipients at NJIT have used the awards for include: hiring students to help with course redesign (for example, creating and editing new quizzes, videos), attending outside events on best practices in teaching using open educational resources, and even donating the award funds to purchase new books for the library.
13. What are the main reporting requirements?
All awardees will need to submit a narrative in the form of a final report detailing challenges and accomplishments using OER, including impact to teaching, student performance and lessons learned.
14. How will students know my course is an OAT course?
We recommend that you update your course syllabus and specify that the required OER/textbook is an open resource. Also, provide URL links to the open resource for accessibility.
15. How will the recent state legislation (S768) on the adoption of open textbooks impact NJIT's OAT Initiative?
Recent state legislation signed by Governor Murphy (NJ S768) now requires higher education institutions in New Jersey to submit a textbook affordability plan for review to the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education by no later than May 1, 2020.
This legislation, along with findings from the two-year OAT assessment, provide impetus for NJIT to continue exploring ways to help students reduce the burden of increasing educational costs that may impact them negatively. As part of the next steps, OAT Team members intend to discuss the legislation at the next Faculty Senate meeting and ascertain ways for faculty to be more involved in the development of the open textbook plan.
Support will be provided by the NJIT University Libraries and the Office of Digital Learning. The Subject-Specialist Librarians and Instructional Designers will be available to help identify and vet quality OER materials.