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OER Faculty Grant

The Affordable Instructional Resources (AIR) initiative invites faculty to apply for grant funding to develop Open Educational Resources (OER) for undergraduate courses. OER are teaching materials that are free, distributed online, and allow anyone to copy, use, adapt, and remix the materials for free. OER are commonly used as alternatives to expensive textbooks by providing students with high quality course readings at no cost. Funded by the Office of the Provost and the Libraries, these grants are intended to fund the work involved in finding, creating, using, and sharing OER as replacements for required commercial textbooks. No experience with OER is necessary to apply.

Grant benefits

  • $5,000 to develop, use, and publish OER for a Northwestern undergraduate course
  • Grant recipients receive individualized support from librarians on finding, using, and publishing OER
Prior to submitting a proposal, faculty can contact Chris Diaz, Digital Publishing Librarian at to discuss project ideas.



Project proposals will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
  • Potential savings on current textbook costs for Northwestern students
  • Significance of OER to the course’s objectives and subject area
  • Ability to be implemented in a timely manner, with priority given to projects expected to be completed for the 2020-2021 academic year
  • Willingness to provide feedback on using OER to the Northwestern community
  • Willingness to share resulting OER using the Libraries' digital publishing resources

Application materials

We will consider one application per course. Two or more faculty members may submit a combined application for a project that covers multiple courses, in which case each faculty member may be eligible for a $5,000 grant. Applications must be submitted online.  The application requires a brief project narrative (500 word limit), where we ask you to address the following:
  • The number of students typically enrolled in the class, an estimate of the current cost of course materials, and an estimate reduction in course cost by using an OER
  • How you plan to incorporate an OER into your course
  • How you will spend the grant funds to support this work
  • How you will evaluate the success of the OER in your class
Project narratives will be accepted in Word or PDF format via the application form. 


Full-time, benefits-eligible faculty, tenure-line or instructional, with continuing appointment in the 2020-2021 academic year.

Selection process

The 2020/2021 grant application window is now closed. The grant opportunity will become available again in January 2021. To see a list of grant recipients for the 2020/2021 year, visit our grant recipients page.


Grant requirements

Selected grantees will be required to meet with librarians for an OER consultation, submit a work plan, and publish any new or derivative OER using the Libraries' digital publishing services under a Creative Commons license. Completed projects are expected to be implemented in a course offered during the 2020-2021 academic year.