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Open Educational Resources (OER)


For the 5th consecutive year, CUNY will be funded by New York State to envision, establish, and institutionalize new and ongoing OER initiatives and practices across CUNY.

As in years one through four, the CUNY OER scale-up initiative seeks to incentivize and empower CUNY faculty to redesign their course materials and pedagogy through the replacement of proprietary textbooks with open educational resources; develop flexible and interoperable central and campus based technology platforms; as well as, enhance and deliver distributed faculty support models and programming. The short-term goal is to reduce costs for students and accelerate their progress through college. However, an important secondary impact is to change the culture to create systems, structures, and innovative teaching practices that better connect curriculum and pedagogy to updated student learning outcomes. With that secondary goal in mind, the OER initiative encourages collaboration between libraries, CETLS, online learning units, and other campus units focused on improving the teaching and learning process.

The Office of Library Services will continue to provide system-wide coordination, workshops/training, marketing, assessment, accessibility review, and facilitate communities of practice.


June 30: RFP published

July 18: Proposals due

July 26–August 9: Review completed, funded proposals selected


The Office of Academic Affairs seeks proposals whose outcomes include:

  1. Targeted, scalable OER course adoption and conversion. Proposals geared towards OER course production will be preferred, and will be awarded based on the escalating scale detailed below. 
  2. The creation of new Z-degree pathways. Proposal awards determined on a case by case basis.
  3. Innovative professional development, pedagogical support for faculty and future faculty. Proposal awards determined on a case-by-case basis. 
  4. Cross-campus collaboration: joint development of OER materials/practices across disciplines, colleges with articulation agreements, community and senior colleges. Proposal awards determined on a case-by-case basis.
  5. Original OER creation, especially ancillary materials. Proposal awards determined on a case-by- case basis.
  6. Faculty and student quantitative/qualitative assessment studies. Proposal awards determined on a case-by-case basis.
  7. CUNY-hosted OER platform development, enhancement, and optimization. Proposal awards determined on a case-by-case basis.

Like years one through four, of particular interest and priority are proposals that target high enrollment general education classes or “Z” degrees (entire OER Zero Cost Degree pathways). To qualify for preferred eligibility for the CUNY OER Initiative, it is suggested that your institution commit to converting at least five (5) courses to OER with five (5) sections per course. However, our aim is to be as inclusive as possible and all proposals will be considered.

Faculty compensation for OER course conversion:

$2,000 per course. For each course selected it is preferred that it be taught across five (5) sections, with the course developer serving as lead course manager. The role of the lead course manager is to convert the course materials to OER, assist and acclimate section instructors to the OER course structure, and inform advisors and the Registrar about the “Zero Textbook Cost Course” status of the course sections. A mid-year and end-of-year report will be required of each course manager as well. Faculty can share course compensation evenly if they choose to collaborate. Faculty compensation is facilitated via course release, or as summer salary, or summer NTA hours.

Compensation for faculty training:

$500 per course section for section instructors, will receive training by the course developer to teach their courses using OER materials. Faculty compensation is facilitated via course release, or as summer salary, or summer NTA hours.

Any materials adopted, adapted or created as a result of this grant should adhere to university-wide accessibility standards.

Any original OER materials created must be assigned a Creative Commons License. If the materials are in a document format they should be submitted to CUNY’s institutional repository, Academic Works. If the materials are in the form of a website they should be submitted to CUNY Open Ed, CUNY’s OER discovery site. CUNY librarians will assist and advise if needed. Please consult the OER Artifacts Protocol for more information.

Participants will be expected to share best practices and lessons learned, to provide necessary data so the project can be properly assessed, and to participate in the assessment and evaluation process. Requirements will include a summary report detailing outcomes for each course and the designation of Zero Textbook Cost Course attribute in CUNYfirst.

The scope of work must be completed in FY 22 and any redesigned courses must be taught no later than Fall 2022.

Guidelines for Proposal Preparation

  1. A proposal narrative that includes the intended type of OER project (i.e., course conversions, new OER creation, new open software creation, etc.), a description of the project, the course names, number of courses and sections to be converted and taught in AY 2022 and the fall of 2022, and the project lead(s)/course managers, along with a proposed number of additional faculty who will adopt the OER work done by the project leads for their sections of the proposed course. Estimated enrollment data should also be included. The narrative need not be more than 1 page.
  2. A certification that your department chair approves your proposal (this can be in the form of an email showing that the chair approves the proposed course conversion to OER)
  3. Proposal Due Date: July 18, 2021
  4. Proposals should be submitted via email to Christina Boyle, Emerging Technologies Librarian and OER Coordinator: Faculty proposals will be aggregated into a single campus proposal and submitted to CUNY Office of Library Services for approval.
  5. Submit any OER or grant related questions to Christina Boyle at the email listed above in item #4.