Textbook Transformation Grants: Requests for Proposals Rounds Three - Five
Affordable Learning Georgia
Textbook Transformation Grants
Request for Proposals, May 2015
Rounds Three, Four, and Five
The State of Georgia’s FY 2015 and FY 2016 budgets include funding to support a new USG initiative, Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG), 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 is to provide grant-supported opportunities for USG faculty, libraries, and institutions to transform their use of textbooks and other learning materials into lower cost options.
The Affordable Learning Georgia Textbook Transformation Grants are intended to:
1. 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.
2. Provide support to faculty, libraries, and their institutions to implement these approaches.
3. Lower the cost of college for students and contribute to their retention, progression, and graduation.
An RFP for Round One of the ALG Textbook Transformation Grants was released in August 2014. This first call 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, in three categories: No-Cost-to-Students Learning Materials, OpenStax Textbooks, and Course Pack Pilots.
An RFP for Round Two of the ALG Textbook Transformation Grants was released in October 2014. This second call 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, in four categories: No-Cost-to-Students Learning Materials, OpenStax Textbooks, Course Pack Pilots, and Transformations-At-Scale.
For more about Affordable Learning Georgia and the impact that textbook price can have on student success see: http://www.affordablelearninggeorgia.org
Description of Awards
This RFP addresses three cycles of submission and review for which the same criteria apply.
Two levels of funding are available (Single Course: $10,800 or Multiple Sections/Courses/Department-Wide: $30,000) in three categories of projects (No-Cost-to-Students Learning Materials, OpenStax Textbooks, and Specific Top 50 Lower Division Courses). A detailed description follows below.
Proposals can address any course; proposals that address courses in the Top 50 USG Lower-Division Courses are encouraged.
1. No-Cost-to-Students Learning Materials
Proposals in this category will address faculty replacing their existing textbook in a specific course with no-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.
- Any of these in combination.
2. OpenStax Textbooks
The University System is a member of the OpenStax College, which offers students free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses. These are peer-reviewed texts written by professional content developers. 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. OpenStax Textbook adoption grants are designed to support faculty driven work required for adoption of a specific textbook for a specific course. Proposals in this category will address faculty replacing their existing textbook in a specific course with an adoption/ adaptation of an OpenStax College open textbook.
3. Specific Top 50 Lower Division Courses
Proposals in this category will use any approach in categories one and two to address unmet needs for OER adoption in specific courses in the Top 50 Lower Division courses. The below list represents those Top 50 Lower Division Courses that have not had an ALG-funded project in rounds one and two; proposals in this category must address one of these selected courses.
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 (up to $800 is specifically designated for at least two team members to attend the required in-person kickoff meeting). 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:
- Single Course awards can provide up to $5000 for release time/overload/salary/replacement per team member for each of up to two team members for a maximum of $10,000 total plus $800 for overall project expenses, including travel for at least two team members to attend a required grant kick-off meeting.
- Multiple Sections/Courses/Department-Wide awards can provide up to $5000 for release time/overload/salary/replacement per team member for each team member for a maximum of $29,200 total plus $800 for overall project expenses, including travel for at least two team members to attend a required grant kick-off meeting.
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(s) 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
- Participation as needed in ALG-related communications
Required Proposal Elements
Proposals are submitted via Georgia Tech’s online grant management software called CompetitionSpace. 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
- The 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 sustainability.
The Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) will manage the review process independently on behalf of ALG, working with a team of reviewers who will evaluate the projects in a blind process.
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.
All proposals must be submitted via Georgia Tech’s CompetitionSpace at: http://gatech.infoready4.com/CompetitionSpace/#competitionDetail/1743242
Once a user account is established, submissions may be worked on in the system and saved until complete and ready for submission.
Proposal form and narrative for offline drafting and review
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.
Submitters can use the rubric to review their proposals to be sure all required elements are in place.
- May 2015: Release of RFP for Rounds Three, Four, and Five
- May 2015, August 2015, October 2015: Webinar(s) for RFP Review, Q&A
- 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
- Summer Semester 2015 through Fall Semester 2016: Implementation processes by grant recipients as outlined in proposal
- Summer Semester 2015 through Fall Semester 2016: Status reports as required by timeline, one at the end of each semester of implementation
- Fall Semester 2015 through Spring Semester 2017: Production release in USG course offered to students
- Fall Semester 2015 through Spring Semester 2017: Final report as required by timeline, at the end of the first semester offered to students
Webinars for Review
There will be at least one webinar per round for RFP review and Q&A.