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Open and Affordable Textbook Initiative @ LMU

This guide is designed to help LMU faculty learn about, discover, adapt, and create open and/or free alternatives to traditional costly course materials.


Supported through the Academic Technology Committee, the Office of the Provost, and the William H. Hannon Library, the LMU Open & Affordable Textbook Initiative (OATI) grant:

  • Encourages LMU faculty to explore relevant, high-quality alternatives to expensive course materials through adoption, adaptation, or creation of open educational resources (OER) and/or low-cost/no-cost resources
  • Encourages a teaching culture that explores new pedagogical models for learning
  • Lowers the cost of an LMU education for our students
  • Increases equitable access to required course materials for all students

The OATI grants are designed to facilitate departmental or program level change in the area of open and affordable course materials and open pedagogy. To meet the requirements of this grant, two or more faculty will commit to collaboratively identifying and creating open educational resources that will significantly reduce or eliminate the cost to students and/or integrate innovative open pedagogy into the course(s). 


The 2023-2024 OATI grant is currently in hiatus due to the OER for Social Justice initiative. 


The OATI Grant is available to full-time, part-time, tenured, or tenure track faculty. Grants are ordinarily made only once for the development of a particular project. Revision of a funded grant is not appropriate for funding under this program. If the Academic Technology Grant is part of a larger project or is connected to a separate grant, the applicant must make this explicit in the application.

Faculty can apply:

  • As an academic department (two or more faculty from the same department submitting two or more courses)
  • As a course group (two or more faculty who teach the same course(s))

Eligible courses include:

  • Existing (or previously taught) courses
  • A newly approved course 
  • A course taught by multiple instructors
  • A series of courses that use the same materials over 2 semesters
  • Courses with existing zero-cost textbook alternatives that the applicant proposes to rework and improve

The following material types are ineligible for grant funding:

  • Commercial e-text versions of an existing print textbook
  • Textbook rentals or access codes (print or digital)


The following criteria will be used in determining awards:

  • Project scope: Priority will go to faculty proposing to adopt open textbooks for the first time or modifying or creating their own open resources. (This grant cycle has less emphasis on using library or other copyrighted resources available for free for students.) 
  • Departmental support: A commitment from multiple faculty and the department chair to reduce the cost of the student experience for their department / program across more than one course, and/or impacting a high number of students. (Inter-departmental applications will also be considered).
  • Projected total cost savings for students: Cost of replaced textbook(s), number of sections, projected student enrollment, and frequency of course(s) taught.
  • Consideration of pedagogical implications (including opportunities and challenges) for converting to free or open course materials.


Grant applicants shall adhere to the following requirements:

  • Commit to replace required traditional text(s) with: adoption, adaptation, or creation of an open textbook or other open educational resource(s).
  • Commit to presenting or reporting on the experience and impact of the grant program on your course(s) through your department and through the Center for Teaching Excellence in the fall or spring of the grant year.
  • Generate a final report and submit it to the Academic Technology Committee at the end of the grant year. This report can be in the form of a documentary, multimedia project, or written report.
  • Commitment to submit final report and any related open resources to OATI Collection in LMU Digital Commons.
  • NOTE: If the Final Report is not turned in by April 1, the faculty member forfeits the second portion of funding. In the case of equipment purchases, if the final report is not turned in by April 1, the faculty member forfeits use of the equipment and it will be returned to ITS.


Grants of $5,000 will be awarded in the form of a stipend and/or applied toward the cost of hardware or software to support the proposed project.

  • If a stipend is chosen, 50% of it will be awarded upon official award acceptance and 50% will be awarded when the grant is complete.
  • Grant monies can be used for hardware or software (identified in the budget portion of the proposal). Only expenses that are directly related to the project will be considered and must be purchased through ITS (not directly by the faculty member).
  • All equipment (hardware or software) is considered LMU property if bought directly with the grant funds, and will be supported and managed as such. (If purchased with stipend, then it will be considered faculty property, and no University support will be given.)
  • If hardware and/or software is chosen, the monies will be available after June 1 for purchases.
  • Monies can be allocated for BOTH stipend and equipment, clearly state the grant request in the proposal.
  • For joint projects, the stipend will be divided evenly between the faculty members. (Note: Final funds for joint projects will only be paid if the grant conditions are met by ALL grantees.)

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Open Educational Resources (OER)
Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions.

Library or other University-licensed Resources
The term "library or other university-licensed resources" refers to any digital content that the William H. Hannon Library or another unit at LMU (for example, ITS or an individual academic department) purchases or subscribes to, such as e-books, LinkedIn Learning, or MATLAB that are freely accessible for current LMU students. All eligible resources must also be licensed and accessible by multiple simultaneous users. Grant applications that propose the use of library or other university licensed resources will save students money by making use of materials in which the university has already invested. While licensed materials are free for the end-user, they are not open. Moreover, because each resource has its own license and terms of access established by the copyright holder, not every licensed resource will be suitable for course adoption. Librarians can help faculty determine what is permissible.

Freely Available Resources
Many materials available on the internet for free (e.g., TedX, YouTube, museum resources, etc.) are not open by definition due to copyright or other restrictions. But so long as they are free and accessible for students, they are eligible alternatives to commercial products for the purposes of this grant. 

Low-Cost Resources
Materials available for students for less than $40 total per course, per semester. Although priority will go to applicants that completely eliminate textbook fees, applications that commit to reducing the textbook cost for students but still have minimal costs incurred for essential materials may still be eligible for funding. (Note: low-cost materials must also be readily accessible. If a book is inexpensive but out-of-print, this can still present a significant barrier to students who are required to read it.)