Professional News

Alternative Textbook Grants Facilitate Equitable Access to Learning Materials

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 2, 2021) — University of Kentucky faculty who would like to replace a traditional textbook with alternative course content in the academic year 2021-22 are welcome to submit a proposal to UK LibrariesAlternative Textbook Grant Program. The grants will support adoption or adaptation of existing open textbooks and creation of new course content.

UK Libraries has held five rounds of the Alternative Textbook Grant Program from 2016 to 2020. Thirty-three of the funded courses had been taught by August 2020 with a total enrollment exceeding 10,000 students and cumulative estimated savings over $1.27 million for the enrolled students. In other words, each student saved about $125 on average thanks to the use of alternative course content in place of traditional textbooks.

The Alternative Textbook Grant Program offers two tracks for applicants to consider. A successful proposal for adopting or adapting existing open textbooks, free online content, and/or UK Libraries’ licensed information resources will be awarded a grant of $1,500. For the creation of new open course content (with at least 50% of the content being original and newly created), a $2,500 grant will be awarded to an accepted proposal.

Grant recipients have been appreciative of the program because it enables timely and equitable access to learning materials while reducing the costs of education. Watch a video to hear two grantees’ comments and recommendations for the program here:

Asked about the Alternative Textbook Grant Program, Mary Beth Thomson, senior associate dean of UK Libraries, said, “The program outcomes and grant recipients’ feedback are very encouraging. It is evident that using alternative textbooks are beneficial to students academically and financially while instructors can better customize their course materials.” 

In support of the program, Adrian Ho, director of Digital Scholarship at UK Libraries, will hold an information session about open textbooks on March 4, 2021. Registration information is available here

Proposals for the Alternative Textbook Grant Program must be submitted via this online form by March 31, 2021. All applicants will be notified of the results in early summer of 2021. After teaching the specified course with an alternative textbook, each grant recipient is required to submit a description of the outcomes and an evaluation of their experience with the program.   

More details about the Alternative Textbook Grant Program are available online. Interested faculty can also contact Adrian Ho, UK Libraries director of Digital Scholarship, and Mary Beth Thomson, UK Libraries senior associate dean, for more information. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.