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Durham Tech OER Stipends 2022 - 2023

Learn about open educational resources, adopt them in your classes, and apply for a stipend!

OER stipend details

The OER Task Force has received $40,000 from the College's HEERF money to support instructors using open educational resources at Durham Tech.

Phase 1

The OER Task Force has set aside $15,000 of those funds for stipends up to $1,000 during Fall 2022. To be eligible to receive a stipend, you must be a Durham Tech instructor who is already using OER in your classes this semester (instruction must take place, at least in part, between August 15 and December 13, 2022, inclusive).

The deadline to apply is COB September 30, 2022. The application is here. This is the first of two of stipends to be awarded this academic year.

In phase 1 the task force hopes to promote OER; begin assessing OER uptake at the College; learn how faculty are using OER in their classes; identify faculty mentors who are willing to help other faculty adopt, modify, or create OER; and subjectively learn about instructors’ individual experiences teaching with OER.

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the OER awards ($25,000 total) will apply to new OER activity that begins in Spring 2023. The task force will finalize phase 2 criteria and award amounts after phase 1.

Possible eligibility criteria in phase 2 include

  • Creating a new open educational resource;
  • Modifying an existing open educational resource;
  • Adopting as-is an existing open educational resource;
  • Developing ancillary materials to accompany an open educational resource;
  • Formal peer review of open educational resources (such as at Open Textbook Library);
  • Mentoring Durham Tech instructors with respect to OER; and
  • Providing instructional design or technical support to Durham Tech instructors who are using open educational resources.

Frequently asked questions about the 2022 - 2023 OER stipends

How much money is available for OER stipends?

Phase 1

$15,000 is available. It will be distributed in amounts up to $1,000 per award.

Phase 2

$25,000 is available. Phase 1 will inform how the task force distributes the phase 2 funds.

What is the deadline to apply?

Phase 1

5:00 p.m., September 30, 2022.

Phase 2

To be determined.

Where is the application?

Are instructors who teach non-credit courses eligible to receive the grant?



Frequently asked questions about OER

NOTE: Lots of detailed information about open educational resources is available on the main OER guide.

What are Open Educational Resources?

According to UNESCO, "Open Educational Resources (OER) 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."

So, if I make a blog for my class, is that OER?

Probably not. OER are, by definition, educational resources, not just a platform. Keep in mind too that, in general, students hold copyright to their works. Copyright is incompatible with OER.

Does an OER have to be a textbook then?

Many OER are textbooks, but they can also be learning modules, videos, or other educational materials.

OK, so what is the difference between regular textbooks and open educational resources?

OER are not like commercial textbooks, in which their use is governed by copyright law or restrictive license agreements. Instead, OER use certain Creative Commons licenses that convey these permissions: instructors and students have permission to use, copy, keep, share, and modify OER ... for free!
To be an open educational resource, you must be able to do all of the following with the OER:
•    Retain: keep the materials in any form;
•    Reuse: use the content in its unaltered form;
•    Revise: adapt, adjust, modify, improve or alter the content;
•    Remix: combine original or revised content to create something new; and
•    Redistribute: share copies of reused, revised or remixed content with other people.
These are called “The 5 Rs of OER.”

Why should I consider using OER in my classes?

A short list of OER's benefits:
•    There is no cost--to students or instructors--to use OER.
•    Instructors can use some or all of an OER textbook as-is, revise an OER textbook to suit their own needs, or mix-and-match content from multiple OER textbooks, for use in a course.
•    Instructors and students will have access to the textbook on day one of the class and continue to have access to course materials even after the academic term.

How do OER impact student performance?

Research studies demonstrate the positive effects of OER on student performance. Explore the articles below to learn more:
Chang, I. (2020). Open versus traditional textbooks: a comparison of student engagement and performance. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 32(3), 486–498.
Colvard, N.B., Watson, C.E., and Park, H. (2018). The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, v30 n2 p262-276 2018.
Young, L, Daly, U., and Stone, J. (2017)  OER: The Future of Education Is Open. EDUCAUSE Review, 52.

Where can I find open educational resources?

OER Repositories and OER Search Tools can help you locate open textbooks and materials.  Some of the larger and reputable repositories are linked here and librarians are happy to help with searching too:

Questions about OER from real Durham Tech instructors


Are instructors teaching Adult High School classes eligible for the stipend?

Yes, instructors teaching credit or noncredit courses are eligible to receive a stipend.

Do the lessons I create on [such-and-such website] count as OER?

Use of almost any website is governed by its terms and conditions, which you should read carefully to understand what permissions are granted by that website. If the terms and conditions allow you to "own" what you create there, then that's a good sign! However, if the website provides functionality that can't be transferred into Sakai, or another website, for example, that probably isn't "open."

Public domain

If a text is in the public domain because the copyright expired, is it an OER?

Yes! It doesn’t matter how something came into the public domain, it’s OER based on the rights you have to use it and there aren’t copyright restrictions on public domain materials. It is advisable to cite your source, of course, even if it’s public domain.
The prior-to publication date for public domain status in the U.S. is now 1927, 95 years ago.

So, all public domain is OER because there are no copyright laws to infringe upon?

That is correct! Stanford Libraries has a thorough overview of how to use public domain resources.

OK, what if I want to link to something that was written in the 1700s, but I found it on a commercial website? The date means it’s out of copyright, but the website is copyrighted. Aaargh! What do I do?

Short answer: The commercial website has no more right to copyright the 18th-century work than you do. The work is still in the public domain. However, consider sharing the 18th-century content directly with your students rather than linking to it.

Continued, in long answer form: Free vs. OER is an important distinction. Websites that produce “free” copyrighted content (which is the default) can modify or remove the content and, if they remove it, an instructor may be in the lurch when students need that information.