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Affordable Course Materials Initiative


2016 Grants

Overview of the Initiative

The high cost of textbooks is a well-publicized problem for students in higher education. Initial data indicates that one-third of high financial need students at Boston College do not buy any course materials. Actual costs for course materials may be over $1000 per semester, double the maximum allotment from financial aid. In order to address the escalating cost of academic resources the University Libraries and the Center for Teaching Excellence are offering a small grant program to support faculty who revise their curriculum to include high quality affordable materials to support student learning at minimal cost.

The new curriculum resources may be newly-created teaching materials, publicly accessible materials and subscribed resources (from the Boston College Libraries) or any combination of the three.

For a second year the Provost has pledged financial support for this initiative and we invite you to help address this issue by engaging in a competitive grant process that will award $2000 each to support faculty members who adopt a new curricular resource strategy.

Grant Process

Please note that the application period for 2016 has closed. 

The application process for support will be competitive. A limited number of grants will be available in the amount of $2000 each.

Applications will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Savings per student over the previous course materials and projected number enrolled
  • Preference for courses to be implemented by Fall semester, 2017, at the latest
  • Creation of new publicly accessible materials strengthens the application. Newly created materials must be made publicly accessible in eScholarship@BC and must be offered to the public under a Creative Commons license that allows reuse and creation of derivative works.
  • Strength of the following descriptions in the submitted application form:
    • expected outcomes from the new curriculum,
    • expected challenges of creating/assembling low cost materials,
    • sustainability of the resulting curriculum,
    • planned method of assessing the success of the resulting curricular materials [see two suggested questions below].

Award decisions will be made by a committee with representatives from Boston College faculty, the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) and the University Libraries. Award letters will be issued by the Provost and University Librarian.

Application Form (Due by April 15, 2016)

Assessment Questions

All successful applicants will be expected to include questions on their student evaluation forms soliciting student input on the quality of the course materials. The suggested questions are:

1. This course intentionally used resources that are not published by traditional textbook publishers and were provided to you at low or no cost. The course materials adequately supported the course.

[ ] Strongly agree
[ ] Agree
[ ] Uncertain
[ ] Disagree
[ ] Strongly Disagree

2. Please provide comments on the quality of the course materials for this course. [open response]

Workshop and Timeline

If you are interested in applying for a grant, please attend one of the Affordable Course Materials Initiative information sessions to be held on Thursday, March 17 at 10 am and on Monday, March 21 at 2:30 pm. Both sessions will be held in the Center for Teaching Excellence. Please click on a link above to RSVP and reserve your place in a workshop session.

Librarians and CTE consultants will be available to discuss

  • an overview of the initiative and support available for faculty
  • locating open educational resources
  • copyright and licensing issues
  • accessibility concerns
  • creating a sustainable curriculum
  • managing resources in Canvas
  • assistance with creation of new content

The deadline for grant proposal submission is April 15, 2016.

Awards will be made by May 2, 2016.

Preference is given to faculty who plan to implement the new curriculum no later than Fall semester, 2017.

Support for all grantees will be available from subject specialist librarians and from Center for Teaching Excellence staff.


For initial questions about the initiative or the grant application process, please contact Margaret Cohen or Jane Morris.



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