Open Education Grant Update

The Montana OER program has extended the deadline for its Open Educational Resources Faculty Grants!  The current deadline of February 22nd is extended to March 2nd.  Please share with your faculty and encourage them to apply! 

For questions, please contact Christina Trunnell, the Statewide OER Coordinator.

Announcing New Open Education Grant Call for Proposals

TRAILS and the Montana University System (MUS) is opening the fourth round of grants to support MUS faculty in using Open Educational Resources (OER). Open Educational Resources (OER) are openly licensed textbooks and course materials that are available online and that come at little or no cost to students. This OER grant opportunity is part of the TRAILS MUS OER Initiative that promotes use of open resources across the system and the state. The initiative is aimed at increasing affordability and improving student success by promoting the use of high-quality, free or low-cost course materials and textbooks.  

For this round of grants, the MUS TRAILS OER Initiative seeks to support proposals from MUS faculty (tenure and non-tenure track, instructors, and adjunct faculty) to adopt or revise existing OER materials. Proposals for adoption of OER in high-enrollment and/or frequently taught courses will be prioritized.  

Funding for OER grants is provided by the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education for the Montana University System. 

Applications are welcome from full-time and adjunct instructors from any of Montana’s public colleges.  For team applications, all team members must be employees of the Montana University System. 

Grant Types: 
Faculty or instructors may propose projects for one of two types of grants:  

  1. Adoption Grants– Adopt grants support faculty in adopting an existing open textbook or open course content. Adopt grants are $500 per faculty member. If faculty are working as part of a team, grants are capped at $2,500. 
  2. Maintenance Grants– Update existing OER that requires minor editing for currency or relevance, without major changes to the content or structure ($750 per person, capped at $3,750 per course).  

Finding Open Educational Resources: 
As part of any proposal, faculty must identify the OER textbook(s) or materials to be used in courses. High-quality OER can be found at Open Textbook Library, OER Commons, or through your campus librarian or Christina Trunnell, the TRAILS OER Statewide Coordinator.   

To Apply:

To submit a proposal, faculty must: 

    1. Attend a “Introduction to OER Review workshop” prior to application or indicate anticipated date of attendance. Dates and registration information for workshops can be found at 
    2. Submit an online application form, which can be found at:
    3. Complete grant proposal including:  
      1. identifying the type of grant; 
      2. providing information about the course in which grant-supported OER will be used; 
      3. describing the OER to be used in the course and how the OER will support faculty in achieving course objectives; 
    4. Complete application information regarding support and business services information: 
      1. Describe department support for the proposal and/or project’s connection to department priorities;  
      2. Identify the support available for your project’s needs, such as librarians, accessibility services, technical support for online options, bookstore for print options, copy editors, peer reviewers, illustrators, etc. Strong proposals demonstrate applicant’s success in determining necessary support and identifying resources for that support. 
      3. Identify the unit and point of contact through which grant funds will be disbursed. 

Proposal Deadline and Project Timeline 
Completed applications are due February 22nd.  Applicants will be notified of awards by March 12. Redesigned courses must be taught by fall 2021.  All grant awarded projects must be completed by December 2021. 

Selection Criteria: 
Complete submissions will be evaluated by committee. Awardees will be selected based on the narrative responses to the proposal questions, as well as: 

      • Impact of grant-supported OER: priority will be given to those proposals that have the most impact for students. Typically this means that priority proposals are those that propose to replace a traditionally published textbook with an open textbook in high-enrollment and/or frequently taught courses. Quality considerations such as accessibility of proposed content, support for user experience and curriculum, and appeal for future adoption in other settings. 
      • Feasibility of project as proposed; 
      • Department commitment (for example, is the proposal part of a redesign of all sections of a course or all courses in a sequence); 
      • Cultural relevance/inclusiveness 
      • Equitable distribution of funds statewide 

Expectations for Awardees: 

    • Awardees are recommended to complete a “Course ReDesign Class” as part of the adoption process.  This class is provided through the MUS TRAILS OER program. Registration for this course can be found here: 
    • Awardees are expected to teach at least one section of their course with OER instead of copyright course materials before December 30, 2021  
    • Awardees agree to report OER adoption to their campus bookstore before the deadline. 
    • Share your work with an appropriate open license so that others can easily adopt and reuse (Open Licenses Step by Step) on the Montana state OER database
    • Work with the Statewide OER Coordinator to develop a timeline of deliverables, payment schedule, and expectations for sharing impact data.  
    • Publicize your work by providing TRAILS with updates, presenting in webinars, workshops, and professional meetings, or giving a presentation to your department colleagues; and by posting adoption on the Montana OER Resources page. 

OER in Montana 2020

The Montana University System and the Treasure State Academic Information & Library Services (TRAILS) consortium partnered to create a statewide open education program which officially launched in the spring of 2019.  In just over one year’s time, we have created and launched a dynamic program. After the first year of this program, students and faculty across the state are already seeing its benefits.

We are proud to share details about this work in our Year One Report.  This report records activities and achievements for the first year of this program as well as goals and priorities for the future. 

Open education is the future of higher education.  In a time where digital and remote access is essential for students who are also being faced with new and more dramatic access and financial challenges, open educational resources are the investment that will not only support our students succeeding but benefit our institutions’ enrollment and image.  The Montana University System Office of the Commissioner and Higher Education and TRAILS are excited about these efforts and continued investment in making higher education more affordable for students across our state. We ask that you join with us in celebrating the program’s success on your campus and invite you to continue to support your faculty and students in helping us address affordability and quality education at your institution.

If you are new to the open educational movement or want to know more about how you can become a part of it, we have options.

To find out more about the program, visit us here.  To join one of the weekly OER workshops or learning opportunities, visit us here.  Or reach out to Christina Trunnell, our Statewide OER Coordinator today.

Blazing New Trails: The Evolution of Licensing Big Deals – Webinar

Please join us for an overview on the major issues developing in the world of e-resource acquisitions.

Hannah McKevley (MSU-Bozeman Assistant Professor and Electronic Resources & Discovery Services) will discuss the value of the Big Deal—a traditional subscription model that includes full-text access to all or most of a publisher’s journal holdings. With no right or wrong model in place, multiple libraries have already cancelled their Big Deals; others have flipped their Big Deal agreements to include open access publishing fees for their institutional authors; and some have expanded the value of their Big Deals by adding additional platforms, tools, or resources to their agreement.

This session will provide an overview of how negotiating license agreements for electronic journal subscriptions is changing and what impact these changes might have on existing and future Big Deals in an academic library consortium like TRAILS. The presenter will also share resources that libraries are using to help analyze and understand their own Big Deals such as SPARC and Unpaywall Journals.

Thursday, March 12
Noon – 1:00 p.m. MST

Register here – 

New OER opportunities

The Montana statewide OER program is pleased to announce the following new opportunities for faculty to engage in open education and textbook affordability work.

Faculty OER Grants – the new round of OER grants is now open and accepting applications!  Applications must be submitted by December 6th, 2019. 

ReDesign Your Course class – it’s not to late to join this class.  If you are transitioning to OER in your course, this is a perfect opportunity.  The class will help you build and create your course with open materials, is asynchronous so can be taken at your pace, and runs from November thru February.  Signing up does not commit you to taking the class, but gives you access to the course so you can decide.

Upcoming Workshops Open Pedagogy Virtual Workshop: November 15th, 10 a.m., OER Textbook Review Virtual Workshop: November 20th, 2 p.m.

The statewide OER program will be hosting more professional development and grant opportunities during the spring semester. 

With any questions, please contact Christina Trunnell.

Updated Fall OER Schedule

It is officially fall, or maybe the new Montana hybrid of fall/winter.  During this season that is often full of preparing for family gatherings, work events, and more, TRAILS is busy ramping up the work in open education and textbook affordability.

New workshops have been added to the fall schedule.  New opportunities for professional development are coming up.  New grant opportunities are being prepared to be shared later this month.  Check out our latest schedule with links to sign up for any or all events.  Here’s the highlights.

More Virtual Review workshops have been added by faculty request.  This are a brief introduction to what OER is and how it may benefit you.

The ReDesign Your Course with OER class is running again!  This was a great success with faculty who participated this summer.  This fall, faculty will be joined with colleagues from Montana and other west coast states in this iteration of the class.  This is asynchronous to best fit your schedule and allow for the maximum benefit.  Questions?  Check out the introductory sign-up here.

NEW!!! An Open Pedagogy workshop is now on the schedule!  Yes, you requested it; it has been added.  Interested in learning more about open teaching practices but not sure about switching textbooks, maybe you don’t even use a textbook?  This is the workshop for you.

Looking for more from TRAILS OER?  Let me know what you need.  In the meantime, if you missed the Fall OER starter packet, this is full of lots of links and ideas to get you started.


Upcoming OER Events!

Now that school is underway, are you ready to get involved in more with Open Education and Textbook Affordability initiatives?

The MUS TRAILS OER program is offering the following opportunities to Montana higher education institutions.  All events are free and open Registration.

  • September 13th –  Faculty Virtual Textbook Review Workshop.  Textbook Review Workshops are 1 hour, providing and introduction and overview of OER.  The workshop will answer basic questions as well as provide faculty the opportunity to write a review of a textbook in the Open Textbook Library.   Register here.
  • September 16th thru  November 10th – Open Educational Practices Course.  This course introduces participants to open educational practices. Topics include open educational resources, open content development, accessibility, instructional design, and open pedagogy. Open educational practices are applied throughout the course in a variety of individual and team learning activities. Register here.
  • September 18th –  Community College Webinar on Copyright and Licensing with OER. No matter how long you’ve been an advocate of OER, you may sometimes feel like you need a (fun and nuanced) refresher on the nuts and bolts of “open.”  This webinar will engage a panel of experts in a discussion ranging from the basics of copyright and Creative Commons licensing to the tough questions we inevitably encounter when working with open resources.Register here.
  • September 20th – Open Textbook Network Train OER Leaders Workshop. Details and Registration here.
  • September 26th – Faculty Virtual Textbook Review Workshop. Textbook Review Workshops are 1 hour, providing and introduction and overview of OER.  The workshop will answer basic questions as well as provide faculty the opportunity to write a review of a textbook in the Open Textbook LibraryRegister here.
  • October 15th –       Faculty Virtual Textbook Review Workshop. Textbook Review Workshops are 1 hour, providing and introduction and overview of OER.  The workshop will answer basic questions as well as provide faculty the opportunity to write a review of a textbook in the Open Textbook LibraryRegister here.
  • October 1st –          Open Education Leadership: a global webinar.  Join us for an informative webinar on the ways OEC is meeting the needs of leaders including State or regional leaders; the Open Policy Forum; OpenEd Tech; and including information about leadership sessions at the Open Education Global Conference in Milan.Register here.
  • October 17th –       Community College Webinar on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in OER. The OER movement is deeply rooted in ensuring equitable access to information; but there is more we can do to help increase equity, diversity, and inclusion in our resources. Join us for this webinar to learn about the ways in which colleges can consider issues of equity when designing and delivering OER courses and degree programs.  Register here.
  • November 17th –  Community College Webinar on Measuring OER Impact Research.  When starting an OER initiative at your institution, it is important to consider how you will measure the impact that OER is having on teaching and learning. This webinar will discuss the best studies that are currently out there, key research designs for institutions, lessons learned, and what data institutions should be collecting right now. Register here.

More opportunities to come. Stay tuned!

Fall Open Textbook Workshop Registration is Open

Faculty, deans, library directors, library colleagues, and curricula designers from Montana Higher Education are invited to participate in an Open Textbook Network Training workshop hosted by TRAILS on September 20, 2019 at UM-Missoula. The workshop will run from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in Room 330 of the University Center.

This workshop is a joint effort by TRAILS, the Open Textbook Network (OTN), the Montana University System, and the MT Board of Regents. Experts at OTN will serve to form the foundation for creating a community of practice, centered around building OER (Open Educational Resources) learning content, for affordable learning in Montana.

Space is limited.

Registration is free, but please let us know if you have to cancel so we keep costs to a minimum. In this workshop you can expect an environment of learning and sharing in areas such as:

• Using tools and resources for open textbook programming
• Exploring strategies for addressing common challenges
• Identifying obstacles to open textbook adoptions

• Developing incentives for successful programs on your local campus
• Networking opportunities with other workshop participants

TRAILS is sponsoring lodging for those who are traveling outside of the area.

Register here today!

Questions? Please contact Christina Trunnell, TRAILS OER Coordinator, at

OER Grants are open for applications.

It’s official!  The TRAILS OER program launched its first faculty incentive grant cycle last week.  We are soliciting applications today.  So, if you are teaching a course at a TRAILS  institution, you are encouraged to apply.  If you know someone teaching at a TRAILS institution, share this information with them.  Read the grant descriptions for this grant cycle and apply here.

For faculty working on  a course over the summer an thinking about adopting an open textbook, TRAILS is hosting a ReDesign Your Course with OER class during the summer.  This is a step-by-step class that will walk through changing textbooks and laying out a course with some instructional design methods woven in.  This class is asynchronous and can be taken at any point during the summer.  It will be available the first of June.  Individuals interested, curious about the details, or who want to know more before committing, please sign up here to get that information.

TRAILS - Treasure State Academic and Information Library Services

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Information & Library Services
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