Wednesday, June 5, 2019

The University of Iowa Libraries has awarded 15 grants for Open Educational Resource (OER) projects for the 2019-2020 academic year. OpenHawks is a campus-wide grant program that funds faculty efforts to replace current textbooks with OERs for enhanced student success.

OpenHawks is one of five innovative, interdisciplinary initiatives funded by the annual Provost Investment Fund (PIF) from the UI Office of the Provost. The PIF will provide OpenHawks projects with funds totaling $87,288 for AY 2020. The funded OER projects, which were selected through a competitive application process, will benefit students in the College of Education, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, and the Tippie College of Business. 

OER (such as textbooks, videos, assessment tools, lab books, research materials or interactive course modules) are free for students and carry legal permission for open use. The open licenses under which these items are released allow users to create, reuse, and redistribute copies of the resources.

Removing cost barriers to course materials opens student access and positively impacts learning. OER provide further benefit when faculty fully integrate free resources into their curricula by “remixing” or tailoring materials to enhance specific learning objectives.

The next call for proposals will be in the spring of 2020. For more information, visit

Mercedes Bern-Klug, faculty in the School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded $7,000. For this project, Bern-Klug will create an OER textbook on global aging. By replacing the textbook with up-to-date readings and resources from different sources, students will learn the material from organizations and authors with a track record of producing high-quality materials germane to global aging.

Stephen Cummings, faculty in the School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded $1,400 for Human Behavior in the Social Environment. Cummings will develop an OER textbook on human behavior in social settings for an online, graduate-level course in social work. Students will benefit from the content of this textbook, reflecting current events and engagement for a more dynamic learning environment. The OER resource is projected to save students money, as it will replace a $55 textbook.

Hannah Givler, lecturer in the School of Art and Art History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded $9,000 for Woodworking: Theory and Practice in Studio Arts. Givler will create an OER textbook that combines theory and practice, illuminating the material behaviors of wood. The resource will include foundational and experimental techniques for bending, joining, and framing. The textbook will be used by students in Givler's wood-bending and wood-joinery courses in the School of Art and Art History. It will provide students with the narratives and experiences of contemporary artists working conceptually with wood materials—a perspective missing from currently available textbook resources.

Julia Kleinschmit, faculty in the School of Social Work in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded $1,300 for her OER project, Computer Lab: Statistics With Less Pain – In Your Wallet. Students taking a required one-semester-hour statistics course will benefit from this resource. Kleinschmit will remix existing OER resources to replace existing textbooks and eliminate expensive software purchases, saving students nearly $150 each. 

Mouna Maalouf, lecturer in chemistry in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded $4,000 for Principles of Chemistry II—Lab Manual in pressbook. The goal of this project is to create an OER lab manual for the freshman chemistry laboratory, replacing lab manuals from publishers that range in cost from $10 to $40. The born-digital lab manual will be easier for students to access and navigate. In addition, the digital resource will be easier for the instructor to update frequently.

Kate Magsamen-Conrad, faculty in communication studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded $10,000 to create no-cost, accessible, tailored resources for UI students. The project, Introduction to Social Scientific Communication Research Methods, will include a textbook, study guides, presentation materials, and class activities developed in collaboration with UI librarians, the UI Human Subjects Office, and other campus partners. Magsamen-Conrad is replacing a $125 textbook with content tailored for UI students.

Emilia Illana Mahiques, faculty in Spanish and Portuguese in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded $1,000 for an OER project titled Aligning Peer Review, Assessments, and Learning Objectives in SPAN:2000 based on the framework resulting from her research study on peer review. Through this project, Mahiques will create a bank of activities instructors can use to train students on effective, efficient peer review processes aimed at improving students’ abilities to write in their second language. She also will create peer review guidelines and corresponding assessment rubrics according to the curricular requirements of the Spanish writing course.

Brandon Myers, lecturer in computer science in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded $2,999 for a project titled Guided Inquiry Activities for Advanced Computer Science. Myers will create OER learning activities using an instruction strategy shown to improve student engagement and learning called Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL). In POGIL, students cooperate in teams to construct and apply concepts in carefully designed activities. Such activities are not readily available to computer science instructors. In this project, Myers aims to create, pilot, revise, and share four to six POGIL activities to support two courses, Database Systems and Programming Languages. The activities will be shared with a Creative Commons license on the CS-POGIL project website (

Ted Neal, professor of teaching and learning in the College of Education, was awarded $10,000 to create an OER titled Earth and Space Science for Elementary Teachers. Neal will develop an OER textbook, in cooperation with students, that will cover broad topic areas as mandated by the State of Iowa’s new science curriculum for which adequate teaching resources do not yet exist. Under Neal’s direction, students will develop this comprehensive resource, providing future elementary science teachers with concise, accurate, and centralized resources for K-12 instruction in earth and space science.

Marc A. Pizzimenti, faculty in anatomy and cell biology in the Carver College of Medicine, was awarded $9,859 for Online Physical Examination Skills Modules with Integrated Basic Science Review. These instructional modules will help students learn basic physical examination (PE) skills by creating efficient, timely, scalable, easily accessible resources that will assist in training, but also will serve as the primary resource for students learning the basics of PE.

Jacob B. Priest, faculty in psychological and quantitative foundations in the College of Education, and Rachel Williams, faculty in gender, women, and sexuality studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, were awarded $8,000 for their project titled Heathy Relationship OER. Priest and Williams will create an OER to replace a $141 textbook on relationships. Their resource will be designed to enhance relationship communication and skills so students can make and maintain healthy relationships. Rather than providing statistics about relationships, this OER will help students learn actual relationship skills and apply them to different relationship situations.

Steven Stong, faculty in economics in the Tippie College of Business, was awarded $1,000 for Test Bank and Clicker Questions for Principles of Microeconomics 2e openstax. This project involves creating a 100-question bank of exam and quiz questions designed to help students develop a better theoretical understanding of economics and also gain the analytical skills they need to apply the theories to solve real-world economic problems. Strong is developing these questions to supplement an OER textbook that he already uses for Microeconomics.

Christine Wingate, faculty in English as a Second Language (ESL) in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, was awarded $7,730 for American English Sounds, an online resource already under development for courses focused on ESL speaking skills. Pronunciation is a vital part of these courses, and students need more time to practice and improve pronunciation than is possible during class. Wingate’s OER will help students practice pronunciation independently as directed by the teacher with tutorials, which will be accessible online through a computer or mobile device. Each tutorial will provide explanation, examples, and practice activities, including activities that could be recorded and submitted for teacher feedback. 

Sang-Seok Yoon and Joung-A Park, faculty in Asian and Slavic Languages in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, have been awarded $5,000 for First Year Korean: First Semester. Yoon and Park will create an OER workbook for students studying Korean language. This workbook will improve on the currently used commercial text by incorporating stronger content in conversations, listening comprehension, and Korean culture. The resource will reduce expenses for students and will include a special focus on preparing students for specific study abroad and work experiences in Korea.

Giovanni Zimotti, lecturer in Spanish and Portuguese, and Fernando Castro Ortiz, lecturer in Spanish and director of the Spanish Speaking, Writing, and Conversation Center in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, have been awarded $9,000 for Intermediate Spanish II: Spanish for Educators, a new UI course designed specifically for educators. Commercially available textbooks for this course are pedagogically outdated, very expensive for students, and lack a well-developed online component. Zimotti and Castro Ortiz will create an OER textbook customized to fulfill the educational needs of UI students taking this new course, integrate content and technology already available at the UI and/or online, create self-assessment materials to supplement the OER textbook and classroom instruction, test and teach a pilot course using the content created in this project, and promote this new OER resource at national conferences and other professional venues.