Other Comments

Examples from 2019 Survey

The compensation varies to the point where it becomes an irrelevant answer. Some faculty may curate materials by putting together appropriately licensed materials that may takes them less than 10 hours to do, while others may create their own content supported by videos, images and other illustrations that may take many tens of hours to do. I would say there should be a distinction between those who adapt vs those who create. For those who create original content, there should be two categories: 1. Textual materials only 2. Textual + illustrative. To pay, you can either assume an average # of hours, or assume 10 hours for the adaptation, and for the original, either pay by the hour with a max of 30 hours for text, and 60 hours for text + illustration, or survey faculty for the average amount of time it takes to create new original materials. The average hourly rate should be $80-100.

We are looking to create a compensation structure built on tiered projects. We are trying to structure what those tiers are (i.e. a lesson = 5 hours of work= what stipend?…Or, “a guidebook”=50 hrs of work=what stipend?…Or, a curation/collection project=10 hrs of work=what stipend?…etc. etc. We are trying to get a better sense of what those different examples are for faculty to align or propose a project. They could go off these tiers or propose alternatives, but we want the tiers as a starting point. Any information on how to better do this (or revise this method) would be great!

Faculty, especially part-time faculty, must be compensated for the extra work that OER requires. Administrators often hear of “free textbooks” and think the “free” part means that get something for nothing. But someone has to do the labor.

We give release time (Extended Service Units) for faculty promoting OER. Here is a description of a mini-grant we tried last semester that worked well.

I believe appropriate compensation would be aligned to the degree of OER developed: A) Where OER is deemed by faculty member to be complete prior to adoption, a $300 stipend for “adapting” would be reasonable compensation for creating lectures, quizzes, other assignments (similar to adopting any new textbook); B) Where OER is deemed by faculty member to have significant gaps in the material presented, a $1,000 stipend for “revising” the material would be reasonable compensation; C) Where no single OER provides a strong enough basis for adoption; a $2,000 stipend to compile, adapt, and remix from various open sources would be reasonable; D) Where no acceptable OER exits, a $5,000 stipend may be reasonable compensation for the work of authoring much of the material

We have compensated faculty in different ways under two different granting programs: AB 798 and a ZTC Planning Grant. These grants have different parameters, which allowed us to offer different funding opportunities for faculty.

Under AB 798 we did the following:

  • compensated faculty to attend OER workshops on our campus
  • compensated faculty to investigate OER in their discipline
  • compensated faculty to participate in disciplinary cohorts across our four-college district to curate and share discipline-specific OER and identify gaps in coverage for future creation
  • compensated librarians to create LibGuides and facilitate discovery for instructional faculty
  • compensated grant coordinators (through release time) to facilitate our OER program, participate in professional development off campus, and lead our reporting efforts

Under the ZTC grant we did the following:

  • compensated grant coordinators to facilitate this grant (reach out to faculty, facilitate discovery, manage the budget, oversee reporting)
  • provided a course release or large stipend to targeted faculty in the social sciences to curate, adapt, remix and share OER for GE breadth courses with some ZTC materials available (in this case: psychology, anthropology, political science).

While not directly about OER development, I have received compensation from AB 798 and the Department of Education LibreTexts grant. The work I have done in this regard is a combination of cheerleading, data gathering and reporting, and educating faculty. Student worker “Textbook Affordability Assistants” have been working under my direction for the last two years, helping to develop our website and conducting research which they present to the campus community. As part of the DOE grant there is another SCC faculty member who is compensated for efforts similar to mine.

Several faculty were supported by our District Chancellor to investigate approaches to online teaching, which included developing OER (videos with appropriate attribution, for student and public consumption). The entire grant was about $350,000 and lasted about three years. The first year supported about 1/2 schedule release time for three faculty and a project manager and was work heavy – much more hours involved than we were released. The next two years were more wrapping up the videos and research, less work intensive with about 1/4 release time. Some of the money went to a private video production company and some went to Digital Media students and faculty and Research Librarians and tutors (tutors ended up becoming tech support instead of content tutors). I think the total video produced was about 20, anywhere from 5 – 25 minutes.

Paying faculty to curate OER leaves a gap because sometimes there is only partial coverage for course outlines given existing OER. In many cases existing OER could be edited or changed to work for a class, but that doesn’t happen because of limitations on how compensation can be handled (i.e. no compensation for editing, writing new sections, etc).

Accessibility of OER is also an issue. Making OER meet the accessibility requirements (image descriptions, contrast requirements, etc) is time intensive and also needs to be considered in any compensation model.

One concern I have is that our college has not yet adopted a plan for sustainability beyond grant funding. In other words, I have not yet been successful in getting admin to agree to either identify a funding source to continue funding stipends to support OER growth post-grant or agree to providing release time for faculty who are spending time searching, curating, reviewing OERs and then spending time revising their course assignments to align with the new learning resources. Additionally, I was hired as a reference and instructional librarian, and I would say that at last 30% of my library position has become OER librarian, so additional faculty library support will be needed if this is ongoing.

I received one full sabbatical (640 hours) to develop a two-semester course series text for organic chemistry. Full sabbaticals are capped at one semester, so I was only able to finish the first 10 chapters of a text that needs at least 20 chapters. The founder of the OER is offering a $10,000 stipend for me to finish the text this summer. This stipend will provide minimum wage compensation to complete the project.

Another serious limitation to OER adoption by faculty is the lack of supporting resources, such as question banks. Multiple choice questions are an appropriate part of student assessment. In classrooms with limited space, it is essential to produce multiple versions of the same exams. This process can be efficiently completed with the test generation programs supplied by corporate publishers. The OER community needs to find compensation for the development of these resources. Ultimately, the development of these shared question banks can support the assessment of student learning objectives.

The compensation structure is we pay the instructors for the hours they spend on the creation of materials. That being said, the hours have varied significantly depending on the currently available OER in the subject matter. We are focusing on criminal justice for this grant. Existing materials in this subject matter are limited. We located two solid textbooks that we could use to replace our traditional textbooks. For those two courses, it took approximately 10-20 instructional hours to recreate new learning materials. However, for this grant we have also created two new “textbooks.” This took significantly more time, the instructional hours paid are in the 100’s because we had to research sources, obtain releases if necessary, edit, revisions and format the materials. I hope this answers your question. If you have any further questions please let me know.

We compensated faculty for curation of OER, but what was interesting was that for most of them, the money was not a big motivating factor. Several did not even claim their funding, leading us to have extra unspent grant money. We made it extremely simple, only requiring a time and effort document, so I don’t think it was the process. We did have a few that probably wouldn’t have done it without the funding, so I think it’s good to have it available, but maybe not count on it to drive adoptions.

We are currently using Equity funds to supply grant money to faculty for development of OER, but we’ve received resistance from the Equity folks, who wish to reserve the funds strictly for the intended students, not for all students who might benefit from OER.

Additional Examples

Let the OERI know what your college or district is doing.

This page last updated April 30, 2023.