About

Textbook Transformation Grants: Request for Proposals Round Nine

Affordable Learning Georgia

Textbook Transformation Grants

Request for Proposals, Issued February 2017

Round Nine


Overview

The State of Georgia’s Fiscal Year 2017 budget includes funding to support Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG), a USG initiative which focuses on reducing the costs of textbooks and the enhancement of GALILEO, Georgia’s Virtual Library and ALG’s parent initiative. A key strategy of ALG is to provide grant-supported opportunities for USG faculty, libraries, and institutions to transform the use of expensive textbooks and learning materials into the use of open, free, and affordable learning materials.

The Affordable Learning Georgia Textbook Transformation Grants are intended to:

  • Pilot different approaches in USG courses for textbook transformation including adoption, adaptation, and creation of Open Educational Resources (OER) and/or identification and adoption of materials already available in GALILEO and USG libraries, and/or identification and adoption of other no-cost digital materials.
  • Provide support to faculty, libraries, and their institutions to implement these approaches.
  • Lower the cost of college for students and contribute to their retention, progression, and graduation.

Four Requests for Proposals were released previously:

  • Round One, issued August 2014, which received 48 proposals, resulting in thirty grant awards to 19 USG institutions to support adoption and use of no-or low-cost learning materials in USG courses in Spring semester 2015 in amounts of $10,800 each.
  • Round Two, issued October 2014, which received 78 proposals, resulting in 27 grant awards to 16 USG institutions to support adoption and use of no-or low-cost learning materials in USG courses in Summer and Fall semesters of 2015 and Spring Semester of 2016 in amounts ranging from $10,800 to $30,000 each.
  • Rounds Three, Four, and Five, issued May 2015, in USG courses from Summer Semester 2015 to Spring Semester 2017 in amounts ranging from $10,800 to $30,000 each.
  • Rounds Six, Seven, and Eight, issued June 2016, in USG courses from Fall Semester 2016 to Fall Semester 2017 in amounts ranging from $10,800 to $30,000 each.

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Description of Awards

This RFP addresses three cycles of submission and review for which the same criteria apply.

Levels of Funding

Two levels of funding are available based on the scale of the project proposed:

  • Standard-Scale Transformation: Textbook transformation projects within one or more courses or sections with under 500 students enrolled on average per academic year total.
    • $10,800 maximum award
    • $5,000 maximum per team member
    • $800 for travel and overall project expenses
  • Large-Scale Transformation: Textbook transformation projects within one or more courses or sections with 500 or more students enrolled on average per academic year total, or department-wide adoptions at a similarly large scale.
    • $30,000 maximum award
    • $5,000 maximum per team member
    • $800 for travel and overall project expenses

Proposals can address any course; proposals that address courses in the Top 100 USG Undergraduate Courses are encouraged.

Grant Categories

No-or-Low-Cost-to-Students Learning Materials

This is the most general category. Grants in this category address faculty replacing their existing textbook in a specific course with no-or-low-cost-to-students learning materials. No-Cost-to-Students Learning Materials can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Adoption, adaptation, and/or creation of Open Textbooks, Open Courseware, and/or other Open Educational Resources. Sources include MERLOT, Cool4Ed, OpenStax CNX, Open Textbook Library, Saylor Academy, and Lumen Learning.
  • Adoption of materials already available in GALILEO and USG libraries.
  • Low-cost homework platforms to accompany affordable learning materials, such as WebAssign and Sapling Learning.
  • Any of these in combination.
  • Costs to students such as online homework or courseware should not exceed $35.00 total per course.

OpenStax Textbooks

The USG has a partnership with Rice University’s OpenStax, which offers students free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses. These are peer-reviewed texts written by professional content developers.

With proposals in this category, faculty can adopt a book for a turnkey classroom solution or modify it to suit their individual teaching approach. Free online and low-cost in print, OpenStax College books are built for today’s student budgets. Projects implementing OpenStax College textbooks will receive additional technical assistance from OpenStax staff. OpenStax partners with a number of no-or-low-cost online homework system providers as well as offering print-on-demand versions of their textbooks.

Interactive Course-Authoring Tools and Software

Proposals in this category have a dual focus, in which no-or-low-cost materials are implemented/created through the use of interactive course-authoring tools. Such tools help faculty to create engaging learning experiences (multimedia, adaptive learning, quizzes, etc) for access through the Learning Management System (D2L Brightspace.) Many of these tools offer integration with the LMS gradebook and student performance analytics. Costs to students should not exceed $35.00 total.

Specific Top 100 Undergraduate Courses

Courses in the following Top 100 Undergraduate Courses list have not had an ALG-funded implementation of affordable materials previously. Project proposals within these specific courses will receive preference in administrative reviews:

Abnormal Psychology; American Literature I; Art Appreciation; Business Information Systems; Business Statistics; Comparative Culture; Computing for Engineers; Critical Thinking; Economics in a Global Society; Engineering Statics; Environmental Biology; Financial Management; Genetics; Global Economics; Global Issues; History of Film; Human Communication; Intermediate Spanish I; Interpersonal Communication; Introduction to Anthropology; Introduction to Business; Introduction to Economics; Introduction to Film; Introduction to Financial Accounting; Introduction to Mathematical Modeling; Introduction to Philosophy; Operations Management; Physical Geology; Principles of Accounting I; Principles of Accounting II; Principles of Management; Principles of Marketing; Science, Society,and the Environment; Scientific Foundation of Health; Social Psychology; Survey of Calculus (1-semester); Weight and Strength Training; World Literature II; World History II; World Religions.

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Funding

Funding is not a direct stipend to the team members, but rather goes to the institution to cover the team member’s time (salary/release time/overload/replacement coverage), project expenses including related department needs, and travel expenses.

$800 must be specifically designated in the budget for at least two team members to attend the required in-person kickoff meeting, and the remaining amount in this $800 can be used on overall project expenses such as supplies, other travel, or technology.

Beyond the disbursements to the institution, funding procedures largely rely on your institution, so long as spending meets state guidelines. The proposing team must coordinate as necessary with their departments and institutional sponsors to determine how to handle the distribution, including amounts, release time/overload/salary/replacement as well as semester(s). This provides the maximum flexibility to the institution and the team in terms of how many people and what types of skills are needed, amount of compensation vs. replacement of teaching load, and timing in terms of semesters of preparatory work vs. semesters of adoption.

Funding will be released to the sponsoring institutional office in two parts: 50% on return of the USG-drafted Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the original or modified proposal serving as the statement of work, and 50% on submission of the final report.

Proposals must involve teams of at least teams of 2 or more of any of the following: faculty, faculty librarians, instructional designers, subject matter experts, editors, graphic designers, or others as needed.

Two levels of funding are available:

  • Standard-Scale Transformation: Textbook transformation projects within one or more courses or sections with under 500 students enrolled on average per academic year total.
    • $10,800 maximum award
    • $5,000 maximum per team member
    • $800 for travel and overall project expenses
  • Large-Scale Transformation: Textbook transformation projects within one or more courses or sections or department-wide adoptions with 500 or more students enrolled on average per academic year total.
    • $30,000 maximum award
    • $5,000 maximum per team member
    • $800 for travel and overall project expenses

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Required Activities

Expected activities in all categories include training in the chosen project resources, open licensing as necessary, any textbook creation or adaptation required, and course redesign as necessary for the transformation.

Other required activities:

  • Institutional sign-off on Service Level Agreement (SLA) provided by the University System Office, using the project proposal as a statement of work
  • Institutional invoice to USG along with the signed SLA in order for funds to be disbursed
  • Attendance by at least two team members at a required kick-off training/implementation meeting
  • Completion of project status report for every semester of the implementation
  • Completion of a final project report, including provision of data on impact on student success and a course schedule with resource links
  • New works must be created under a Creative Commons License and will be made accessible to the public through the GALILEO Open Learning Materials repository. This requirement does not include proprietary features of authoring platforms.
  • Participation as needed in ALG-related communications.

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Required Proposal Elements

Proposals are submitted via the Georgia Institute of Technology’s online grant management software, InfoReady Review: https://gatech.infoready4.com/#competitionDetail/1757803

Once a user account is established, submissions may be worked on in the system and saved until complete and ready for submission. The submission process includes the following required elements:

  • Completed Proposal Submission Form
  • Completed Proposal Narrative
  • Letter of support
    • This letter must be provided from the sponsoring area (unit, office, department, school, library, campus office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs etc.) that will be responsible for receipt and distribution of funding.
    • For multi-institutional teams, letters of support must come from each institution’s sponsoring area.
    • Letters must reference the sustainability of the project.

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Process

The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) assists with the review process, working with a team of reviewers selected by ALG who will evaluate the projects in a peer-review process using this rubric. The peer-review process is followed by a final administrative review by ALG.

Proposals will be evaluated on the feasibility and reasonableness of the action plan and adherence to the proposal guidelines, as weighted in the rubric. Follow-up questions or interviews may be requested of applicants. Please note that awardees’ applications will be made available to all USG institutions.

Team members will participate in facilitated project initiation processes, including a required in-person meeting (see Timeline) to kick-off project implementation and review processes, timelines, and training on content as needed for grant category. Teams will complete semester status report forms online and a final written report, to include requested measures of impact on student success and experience as well as any other elements provided in final report template.

Teams will be expected to be available for information sharing about their experience in future ALG information sessions, in the ALG newsletter and other publications, on the ALG website, and in related presentations and materials.

Institutional sponsors will be responsible for fund disbursement, including expense and travel reimbursement. Budgets will be supported by State funds and therefore institutions spending project money must ensure compliance with State, BOR and institutional policies and procedures.

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Proposal Submission

All proposals must be submitted via Georgia Tech’s CompetitionSpace at: https://gatech.infoready4.com/
Once a user account is established, submissions may be worked on in the system and saved until complete and ready for submission.

Documents for Proposal Submission

Proposal Submission Instructions (.pdf)
Proposal Submission Form (.docx)
Submitters must copy and paste their final draft into the online form for submission. Note: The only way to submit the proposal is through the online form.
Evaluation Rubric
Submitters can use the rubric to review their proposals to be sure all required elements are in place.

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Timeline

  • February 2017: Release of RFP for Round Nine
  • February-April 2017: Webinar(s) for RFP Review, Q&A
  • April 30, 2017: Deadline for applications
  • May 22, 2017: Notification Date
  • June 5, 2017: Kickoff Meeting

Per Round:

  • First disbursement, on receipt of a simple contractual timeline tied to deliverables with the original or modified proposal serving as the statement of work
  • Required kick-off training/implementation meeting for at least two team members
  • May 2017: Begin implementation processes by grant recipients as outlined in proposal
  • Summer Semester 2017 through Fall Semester 2017: Status reports as required by timeline, one at the end of each semester of implementation
  • Fall Semester 2017 through Spring Semester 2018: Production release in USG course offered to students
  • Fall Semester 2017 through Spring Semester 2018: Final report as required by timeline, at the end of the first semester offered to students

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Webinars for Review

There will be at least one webinar per round for RFP review and Q&A.

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