October Office Hours: Money, Money, Money

Office Hours

Watch the video recording of this Office Hours session, or keep reading for a full transcript. The chat transcript is also available, for those interested in reading the conversation that took place amongst participants and seeing resources shared.

Note: If anyone would prefer to not be associated with their comments in either of these transcripts, please contact Apurva as soon as possible and we will remove any names or other identifying information.

Audio Transcript


  • Karen Pikula 
  • Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen
  • Amanda Hurford
  • Karen Lauritsen
  • Zoe Wake Hyde
  • Sunny Pai
  • Dan Allosso
  • Amy Hofer
  • Apurva Ashok

Zoe: Hello everyone, wonderful to see you all here today. My name is Zoe, and I am the product manager here at Rebus Community. And we are very pleased to be welcoming you all again to this month’s Office Hours, where we have a very juicy theme that we’re excited to dig into. And that is building on a lot of the conversations we’ve been having this year, with some great guests contributing. 

So, to start I’ll hand over to Karen, my lovely co-host from OTN to introduce our guests for the day. Thank you, Karen.

Karen L: Thank you, Zoe. As always, we are delighted to partner with the Rebus Community on these Office Hours. And as she mentioned, we are excited to talk today about a provocative topic, perhaps, and that is money, paying OER contributors. So, we anticipate this could be both a practical and a philosophical conversation. And we have three guests who are going to represent the state, campus and consortial perspectives. 

So, we’re fortunate to have those three different viewpoints. If you are new to Office Hours, our guests will talk for about five minutes, introduce themselves and their contexts. And then, after that we will turn things over to all of you to drive the conversation. So, please be thinking about your questions and comments as you’re listening to our three guests. So, I am excited to welcome Karen Pikula, who is Minnesota State OER faculty development coordinator. 

Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen, the director of the Portland-Metro campus library. And Amanda Hurford, who is the scholarly communications director for PALNI. And PALNI is the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana. So, we’ll hear first from Karen, then we’ll turn over to Dawn, and turn things over to Amanda after that. And then, we’ll hear from all of you. So, take it away please, Karen. You’re muted. 

Karen P: Okay. Had to unmute there. Yes, my name is Karen Pikula, I teach psychology at Central Lakes College in Brainerd, Minnesota. And I am, as Karen said, also the OER faculty development coordinator for Minnesota State, which is a system of 30 colleges and seven universities. First of all, I’d like to thank you for joining this conversation today and also inviting me to be able to talk a little bit about the work that we’re doing at Minnesota State. 

We know that oftentimes faculty struggle in finding resources when they first get started with OER. And to find resources that actually meet their teaching style, their learners’ needs, and their course objectives is often quite a challenge for them. And they also find that often those resources don’t have ancillary resources with them, often they do. But also, we find that same thing with our commercial publishers. 

Sometimes those ancillary resources are with them, and sometimes they aren’t. But we do know that commercial publishers make it very convenient for our faculty to go to a one-stop shop to get all the things that they need for teaching their courses, even if oftentimes those resources don’t necessarily meet their teaching styles or course objectives, or their learners’ needs. 

So, today I’m just going to talk to you a little bit about my experience both at an institutional and at a system level about how we have worked to show faculty appreciation for the hard work they do when they first start to review, adopt, and create open educational resources. So, what happened at Minnesota State is they originally offered grants, system-wide to institutions to apply to do work in the open educational resource arena. 

And that’s what happened at our college, we applied for one of those grants. Part of that grant was a learning circle process that I had written to guide faculty through review, adoption, and creation of open educational resources, although there are also options like fast loans for bad credit if you need it for study. As a result of that grant, we were able to run the learning circles. I ran them with a librarian, we always ran our learning circles with a librarian at the institutional level. 

At the system level, I tried to work with faculty, working with their librarians at their institutions. And the reason I say that is because I think it’s so important to understand what a key factor librarians are in those initiatives. So, because of that grant we were able to pay faculty stipends for attending those learning circles. And a typical stipend at Central Lakes was like $500 to do a review of a textbook. And those folks typically were done with a review in five weeks. 

Our learning circles for course redesign and authoring of materials typically run 10 weeks. Now, faculty in those pathways would get around $1,500 stipend for doing that. That being said, we totally, 100% recognize that we cannot compensate faculty in terms of the time invested for the hard work that they do. But we approach it, both at the institutional system level from the perspective of showing them appreciation for the hard work that they are doing. 

And I think research shows, and certainly the research that I have done on working with novice teachers, shows that two of the big factors or barriers to faculty in course redesign, whether it’s OER or other work, is time and also support and appreciation. So, Minnesota State saw that this was really quite effective at the institutional level, and so they hired me to scale that up to a system-wide learning circle approach. 

And that’s the model that we currently use at the system as well. It has been very effective. The learning circles run for 10 weeks, and faculty redesign courses and author and create ancillary materials and also textbooks. A typical stipend that we pay them is also around well, for the first learning circles we were able to pay them about one release credit equivalency, which can, depending on job description, institution, tenure, can run usually somewhere between $3,000 or $4,000 a credit. 

This last learning circle we’ve had to cut that down to a half a credit, just because of funding from the legislation, but that’s typically what we pay. And we do do those as interagency agreements or release credits. I have to say that that in Minnesota is a very complicated process, because we deal with several unions. And at first, it was very challenging to do, but this is our fourth session of running those learning circles, and I have to say that we’ve really refined that process down. 

It’s become quite effective and quite efficient. And that being said, the downside is that it’s challenging, but the upside of it is it’s well invested work, because we are truly being able to save our students money and help them with their credit needs through SoFi. We are being able to offer our faculty professional development opportunities, where we really see them take ownership back for their own expertise as being experts in their field. If you want to know more about business banking or credit needs, you can find more info here.

And recognizing and really kind of flourishing under that new-found confidence in their field of expertise. And I think I’m just about out of time. I just wanted to mention that Jenny Parks was also supposed to be here, she has done a faculty study that she has gathered some data that I think Karen can share, or I could share some later if anyone’s interested. That she will also be posting to the list serve, soon. So, thank you. 

Karen L: Thanks, Karen and thanks for that reminder. I’ll find the link that Jenny wanted to share. Now, I would like to turn things over to Dawn. 

Dawn: Hi. I am Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen, I am the Portland-Metro campus librarian for Oregon Institute of Technology. The main campus is down in Klamath Falls, which is the southern end of Oregon, Portland is the northern end of Oregon. And I see thankfully Amy Hofer who is our statewide open education coordinator is on the line, so she can maybe correct me when I go astray with some of the coordination that we’ve done with this state. 

From 2017 to earlier this year, I was the in-term director of libraries for all of Oregon Tech. The role gave me access to the resources and people I needed to create an open education program at the university. And while I’m not in that role anymore, I have a very supportive university librarian, John Schoppert, who is very much willing to continue what we’ve been doing. So, in 2017, I attended a presentation at ACRL Washington, which is a regional ACRL conference. 

And was so inspired by a presentation to create an internal Oregon Tech program to support open educational resources in the sciences and engineering. So, upper division, a lot of things that weren’t being covered elsewhere, or at least that was the aim. In the meantime, we found additional ways to support the movement, including funds from open Oregon educational resources. 

There were review workshops, or one review workshop in the first year. And a couple of other options, we had some people that applied for and received funding directly from open educational resources. And some that received funding through Oregon Tech from open educational resources. There’s a lot of different ways that we have figured out to get money to help support faculty in this way. 

So, when it came time to pay people from the internal grants in 2018, we had brought in three different programs that all had to go through different processes to fund people. So, I created a flowchart, and I’m not sure if you have the option to share that flowchart, or if you want me to post the link?

Apurva: You should be able to share your screen, there’s a big green button right in the center, if you wanted to do that. Or you could always drop in a link in the chat. 

Dawn: Okay. 

Apurva: Yeah, we can see it. 

Dawn: So, this is the flowchart that I created at the time, so this was 2018 the first year of the program. The first flowchart on here is the internal grant process and I was the library budget authority. There were multiple different budgets that I was dealing with. So, I pulled $10,000 out of one budget to pay people. And then, a committee was formed, we received 14 applications, we reviewed and decided to fund all of them, because we were so excited that people wanted to do this. 

They had to sign and return contracts. And then, some sort of magic happened in the provost office, that is not on this flowchart, but payroll paid them on June 30th of that year. So, the last day of the fiscal year. And then, a committee was formed again in the Fall to do this again the following year. There were OER review stipends, so these are $200 stipends through open educational resources to encourage people to review things. 

And Amy Hofer will come to one of the Oregon universities and provide a workshop, she’s also taught us how to provide our own workshops. So, you go to a workshop, you review, we had eight people attend that first year and only four of them completed reviews. And then, there was some sort of magic that happened, again, I’m not sure if it was the business office or the provost’s office. 

Somewhere around there, and we paid the people directly and then invoiced Amy Hofer’s university for refunding or reimbursement. And then, there is the open educational grants from the state, which are external, even though they’re still from open educational resources they are open Oregon educational resources. They are external to the internal processes, and they don’t have to be reimbursed. 

They are just paid directly through our grants office. So, I had to create all three of these different flowcharts, and then, as we added programs in the following year, by the end of 2019, there were five different ways that people could be paid. And through leadership changes, business office changes, monetary changes, in addition to the new ways that people could be paid, there are even more changes coming for the next time. 

So, I guess John Shoper, our university librarian, is very supportive of the program, and he wants to continue it. He has dedicated another $10,000 this year, we paid another $10,000 last year. So, we will find a way, but it’s a little exciting. 

Karen L: Thank you, Dawn, it’s always nice when magic works in your favor, which it sounds like it did in these cases. Magic happened and what needed to happen happened. Okay, now, we are going to turn things over to Amanda. 

Amanda: Great. Hello everyone, my name is Amanda Hurford, and I am the scholarly communications director for the PALNI consortium, as was mentioned. And along with my colleague Erin Milanese who’s the affordable learning coordinator at PALNI, we manage our consortial program we call PAL Save. That’s the branded name of our program across the consortium. 

So, a little bit of a background about PALNI. So, PALNI is a 501C3, that is owned by the 24 supported institutions that we work with. So, as a private entity, we are likely facing less regulations than other environments might be facing. But I’m happy to give you a practical overview on how we process payments from this central consortial level. 

So, when we joined the Open Textbook Network, back in 2018, we started paying faculty incentives to review open textbooks as part of the workshops that we offered as OTN system leaders across the 24 institutions that we support. So, those funds were paid out centrally, at the consortial level. And we quickly spent down our first budgeted $5,000 on those payments. 

And we went back to the board and asked for another $5,000 that we could use to fund those payments and thankfully, we were given that extra $5,000. But we quickly spent all of that as well. So, we had spent about $10,000 paying for faculty to review books in the Open Textbook Library. And we just continued to have really wide interest in this program. So, thankfully we applied for and received a grant from the Lilly Endowment in 2019 to continue paying reviewers at the same rate that we had been. 

And also, to provide future stipends for adoption, adaptation and creation of OER for the next five years of our program. So, we’re very lucky that we have that funding. So, so far, we’ve delivered 16 workshops to our supported institutions and processed or are in the process of processing payments for 73 reviews. So, a little bit more about our workflow for paying those. 

Our workflow includes Erin and it used to be me who did all this, but now Erin has come on and is doing a lot of these things. So, she consults the Open Textbook Network data dashboard in order to determine when a review has been completed and she looks at the review and makes sure that it’s complete and looks good and everything like that. Of course, not making any changes, but checking off for ourselves that the review was actually done. 

And she then, emails the faculty member to thank them for their review and then, also to collect their address for payment. And then, next she emails the name and address of the payee to our executive director, Kirsten Leonard, who has to enter that information into our bill payment system, using something called bill.com. It’s the way that we enter those names and addresses. 

And then, the payment is approved by the PALNI treasurer and automatically creates a check and is mailed through the bill.com system. So, Erin sends these messages to our executive director weekly. And tries to bulk them together as much as possible, so that she’s not pinging Kirsten every single time a new review comes in. We found that to be a good way to do it about weekly. 

And then, once the check is mailed, we mark the review as paid in the data dashboard. And one thing that we do on our end is we maintain a somewhat complicated spreadsheet. I really love spreadsheets, I’m a spreadsheet person. And this spreadsheet is kind of a mixture of the data dashboard data that we’ve downloaded from the dashboard, merged with local data that we collect, such as addresses, and what the rating was that the faculty member had given to the book, so that we can maintain those stats on our end. 

And we also track on this master spreadsheet dates for when some of the workflow steps have been completed, such as when the address was collected or when the payment was sent to our executive director. So, we have got one big spreadsheet that really governs the whole process. So, that would be the one big piece of advice that I have, if you’re a spreadsheet person like me, even if you’re not, is to track all of these payments in one place. 

And if you are a part of the Open Textbook Network, and you have access to the data dashboard, to use that data provided as a good starting place. So, we’re constantly downloading the data from the dashboard and plugging it into our spreadsheets, so we have the most up-to-date data there. So, setting up our workflow has been sort of an iterative process. Our current system seems to be working really well. 

But before we used bill.com our director was having to print and sign and physically mail all of the checks to the faculty, which was a manual and laborious process. So, a new thing that we’ve been doing is over the summer we piloted our first round of adoption stipends, where we’ve paid more than the $200 that we were paying for the reviews. So, we’re now paying amounts of $1,000 to adopt. 

And we also had one person adapt, and we paid that person $2,000. So, we ask that they adopt or adapt the book and also provide feedback to our group, in order to inform future work. So, both for adopting the resource and providing that feedback we provided payment after that work was completed. So, as an additional step for those bigger amounts PALNI will be issuing 1099 tax forms to those faculty for the larger amounts in January. 

And this means that we have to figure out a way to securely gather their social security numbers for those participants, which was a bit of a weird wrinkle that we had to call them and keep a record of those social security numbers without emailing it or making that information unsecure in some way. So, as far as steps for the future, we’re looking forward to figuring out further ways to streamline our process, such as using a form that bill.com can read instead of having to manually enter that data. 

We also look forward to continuing to offer larger stipends for more complex works like more adaptation projects or creating open textbooks, which of course will present its own challenges as we define our publishing workflows. So, we’re enrolled in PUB101 right now, so we’re learning all about all the different payments that we’re going to have to make and how to manage the different contributors to that process. So, I hope this was helpful in providing the consortial perspective. 

Karen L: Thanks very much, Amanda. And thanks again, Dawn and Karen. So, Annie had a couple of great questions in the chat. But before I pose those to our guests, I would just like to invite all of you to share any stories you may have in your contexts. And also, think about what direction you would like to take our conversation. So, we’ve heard about money as a way to show appreciation, not necessarily as payment for time. 

We’ve heard about challenges dealing with different unions and their rules. Framing things, being able to buy out faculty release time was something else that was mentioned. Magic was mentioned, which maybe ideal, whenever possible in terms of working with people, maybe in other parts of the organization who can make it happen and that it’s not actually you who has to figure it out all the way from start to finish. 

And we could also talk about timing payment with deliverables, especially when it comes to adaptation and creation projects. So, please get your wheels turning and think about what you would like to explore with one another in the half an hour or so that we have left. And now, Annie had a question. I think this was directed at you, Karen. Was the $500 that you paid for peer review, was it for peer review of a textbook manuscript? 

In other words, pre-publication process? Or was that $500 for a finished textbook, in other words, an OTL review or some other completed work?

Karen P: It was for a completed work and at the institutional level is where we paid the $500, when we were managing the funds from the grant that we had received. At the system level, we’d moved from having that three pathways to two pathways which was course redesign, authoring advanced learning materials or authoring of textbooks. So, we also utilize the OTN book reviews from the webinars as some of the others do as a way of having faculty review textbooks. But that was not for manuscripts, that was for completed textbooks. 

Karen L: Thanks, Karen. I know a lot of programs will aim for $200 for a review as well. And without that incentive, usually the review rates drop off significantly. Annie had a question for Amanda. The $2,000 for adapting, were there any strings attached, like could they just change a few things? Or did you define what sort of major edits or additions needed to be made? That’s a great question, really hard to get in there and quantify. 

Amanda: So, when we put out our call for participants in this pilot program, it was actually just for adopting an open textbook. And we knew that we wanted to pay $1,000 for that adoption stipend. And one of the applications that we got was someone who said, “I would like to remix an open textbook, using lots of different open resources, can I participate?” And of course, we said, “Yes, you can participate.” 

And we talked amongst our group and decided that it would make more sense to offer this person an increased stipend because of the amount of work that was going to be involved in what they were doing. And also, to consult with them to find out what are some of the implications of remixing an open textbook. So, we’re at the beginning phase of our project, where we’re planning to create an RFP for who wants to do adapting open textbooks in the future. 

So, we figured that it made sense to offer this person $2,000 for the work that they were doing, and then also to consult with us on all of the implications of what we would need to do in the future. So, whether or not we will continue to offer $2,000 for that stipend or what kind of strings will be attached, is to be determined. But yeah, that’s definitely something to think about. 

Karen L: Yeah, and it could be handy to have a project charter, which was introduced in PUB101 yesterday. Or some other way to sit down with the author and look at what they’ve proposed, either in response to a call for proposals or another conversation. So, that there’s a map that you’re both looking at and understanding in terms of oh, these are the changes you’re going to make. 

Or okay, you’re changing out these five chapters. Or trying to get a handle on what’s on the table. Sometimes it’s easier said than done. Sophie has a question for you also, Amanda. Is there an RFP process for the adopt, adapt stipends? 

Amanda: So far, we do not have one, but we are going to be implementing that here in the near future. And we’re in the process of looking at how others have done that before we put out our call for our next participants. So, we just finished up our pilot, and we’ll definitely have a more formal process going forward. I think during this initial phase we let folks know who had attended a workshop through the PAL Safe program that we were doing this pilot, is anyone interested?

Is anyone ready to adapt an open textbook? Come aboard with us and help us define this process. So, we’ll definitely have an RFP in the future. 

Karen L: Thanks, Amanda. Sara has a question for any of our three guests, or anyone else in the call. She’s looking for advice on a stipend amount for a faculty member who reviewed an OER textbook draft, authored by a fellow faculty member. Amy said that she usually pays $200 for a post-publication review and Annie says they’ve been paying $150 for peer review of a textbook draft. 

Any other numbers out there or processes people would like to share about paying reviews? A colleague has written a book and someone else is going to review it for that colleague, that sort of arrangement. Is that one of your five ways, Dawn? You mentioned five ways people get paid. 

Dawn: That is, and it’s the $200 that Amy mentioned. 

Zoe: We’ve also worked with a project who had a grant, so they were the faculty leader on the project. They were able to pay a small stipend to peer reviewers from them through the grant that they received. And I believe it was in a similar range of say $200 to $300. And out of that case, I also wanted to raise I think, to go back to a point I think Karen made initially about it being a gesture to be able to provide some kind of a stipend. 

On the first grant, so this project was fortunate enough to receive two. On their first one, they were trying to structure it so they could pay something to authors. They were working on quite a broken down approach, so there was an author for each section of the book. And when they took, I think they had a $2,000 initial grant, if they were breaking it down to pay people by section, it was in the range of $20 to maybe $50 per section, per author. 

And at that point, we had to have the really difficult discussion of is that worth it? Is that enough of an incentive for people to join on? And also, then, as has been discussed really clearly here, then the logistics of actually distributing $120 payments or whatever it would work out to be. They ended up deciding to retain that funding for other purposes. So, I think they put some into design, some into editing. 

And then, as I say, once they got the second grant to top up the first, they put that into paying reviewers. And so, yeah, I’m interested as well if people have author payment numbers to throw around in a similar vein as these review numbers that we’re sharing. 

Dawn: Something that Zoe just touched on was the amount that authors actually walk away with. The way that our payroll office makes us do this is we, the library, then covers the other operational expenses. Same with Amy’s office, when we invoice her, we invoice her for those on top of the payment. So, the faculty member walks away with the $200, and then the university is reimbursed for those other operational expenses, which include the taxes on it. 

Karen L: That’s a great point, a lot of times it might be $200 in theory only. And by the time you get the payment it’s quite a bit less. Speaking of money, Jonathan mentioned that he was offered $400 by a commercial publisher to review a single chapter of an upcoming book. Jonathan, I guess I won’t ask if you decided to do it or not. I’ll just leave that (laughs). All right, Rachel’s wondering if anyone has suggested resources for locating grants for funding OER projects? 

Oh no, Jonathan did say he did the work, but he didn’t get paid. That’s the worst case scenario. Amanda, I think you mentioned the name of a granting institution, is that unique to your location or your consortium?

Amanda: Yeah, so we applied for a grant to the Lilly Endowment, which I believe is a granting institution only within the state of Indiana. 

Karen L: Thanks. This is a question that I think comes up if not every Office Hours, in many Office Hours, because I know everybody’s looking for funding and it’s hard to find. Mostly it’s at that state or consortial level and if it’s not coming from there, it’s pretty hard to find, I think, elsewhere. But if anyone knows of suggestions or locations where the money may be, please do share. 

Dawn: I have a couple of suggestions, because our budgets have been severely cut this year, we are trying to be creative in different ways. So, the beginning of the month I put in along with an engineering faculty, an NSF grant to look at open pedagogy in electrical engineering that does include things like a subscription to Pressbooks so that we could create our own materials. 

Another thing that we have done is our president of the university and the head of the board were talking about textbook affordability and tossed my name out there. Amazingly, also pronounced it correct, during a university-wide session. And I was approached by the board of the foundation after that to put together a list of things that we needed. So, I have a one sheet that I am happy to share, that gives a visual of different ways that people can fund. 

Our foundation is now going out and asking people for and that we have used for our associated student bodies at the various campuses to also ask them to contribute. I will go ahead and add a link to that. 

Karen L: Yes, please do, thank you, Dawn. I was just going to say, “Dawn, please share.” I know everyone would appreciate it. 

Karen P: I’d just like to say too, even though it’s a small amount or depending on the institution it can be a small amount. But when we wrote our first grant for our system office that we got at Central Lakes, a piece of act that they wanted in there was a sustainability piece. So, at that time, I went to our VP and I asked them, “We are spending a ton of money for our PSEO students’ textbooks. 

And as a result of the OER work at our institution, we have been able to save a lot of money using open educational resources versus commercial textbooks for our PSEO students.” So, at that time, I asked our VP if they would commit, if we saved money to returning some of that money back into our OER program at Central Lakes and funding future OER work through those savings to the institution. 

So, that’s something that you might think about at your own individual institutions or even at the system level, if there’s ways that you can see that you’re actually saving the system or your institution some funds to see if they would reintroduce those back, even a percentage of them. They give us just a percentage back into continue our OER work. 

Karen: Awesome, thank you, Karen for raising that. 

Zoe: I have an idea to share as well. We’ve been talking a lot with Concordia University, who are based here in Montreal. And they are currently in their first year of very dedicated OER work. They hired an OER librarian on a 12-month contract. They have funded their first four projects, I believe. And the bulk of the funding for this kind of OER pilot dedicated time has come through the student organizations on campus and the student government. 

So, they have such a structure, I don’t know all the ins and outs, but they had a chunk of funding to allocate on behalf of students. And they worked with the library to get dedicated to funding OER creation and adoptions on campus, which I thought was a really, really exciting approach. And is already having huge impact there. 

Karen L: Fantastic. Alexis had a question for Dawn, but I think it could be for any of you who just shared. Just reflecting on why support is so high for the Oregon state mandate or for OER textbook affordability, if the support was always there? Or if it grew over time? Amy mad a great comment in the chat, that a lot of it is due to the groundwork that Dawn laid and others I’m sure in Oregon. So, it would be great to hear thoughts on funding and how it’s evolved over time. 

Dawn: So, what I put in the chat is that it has grown over time. It really was, I was inspired at a presentation, and I went back to the library and I said, “We’re doing this.” And they all looked at me as if I had sprouted a second head. And in September, our university librarian said, “No, we are going to continue this, and we are going to put effort into this because there is a buzz about the university on this now.”

And they all looked at him as if he had sprouted a second head and I had grown horns, for both of my heads. So, it sounds like there’s an amazing amount of support, but there’s only 16 faculty that have gone through this program directly. There are others that say that they are using this, and I’m trying to collect that data as to others that are supporting open educational resources. 

We are still taking library money to do it, but it’s not directly tied to, I mean our library money is directly tied to student tuition. But not really in the way that the university funds the library, so I hope that answers another question down there. But it’s been years in the making to get this, and certainly having the support of the state is a huge part of that. 

Karen L: Dawn, as an aside, I just want to say how much I appreciate the fantastical environment in which you work, where people sprout multiple heads, horns and magic is happening. (Laughs) It sounds fabulous. 

Dawn: Yes, Pegasuses fly along with the owls, our mascot. 

Karen L: Fantastic. If there are other thoughts on that, please chime in. Meanwhile looks in the chat that there is some conversation about whether or not student funding of OER initiatives is the right way to go. So, I invite us to bring that from the chat into a conversation, if you would like. I will pause for that to happen. 

Dawn: I’ll talk a little bit about that. We have in the last two weeks gone to our associated student bodies, with the same sheet that I’ve showed you. And we gave them a presentation about what is going on, what you don’t see on the sheet is that the presentation we gave them focused on things that they could do that didn’t involve using basically club money to support faculty in doing this. 

We asked them to be part of a textbook affordability team, that would write a report for the state house bill requiring this all the due textbook affordability plans for the universities. We asked them to go talk to their faculty and have their faculty switch to open educational resources. We asked them to go to other students and talk to other students about the benefits of talking to their faculty about doing this. 

So, it was more an informational campaign, we did include the money, because there are groups of students that have university money to support projects to help students. But we didn’t necessarily want them to fund stipends to faculty. We wanted them to talk to the faculty more. 

Karen L: Thanks, Dawn. Annie, Amy, Zoe, any of you care to expand?

Zoe: Yeah, I can restate, I think that’s a really, really valid question that Annie brought up. And it’s something I would actually love to hear more from the team at Concordia about how that’s working for them. I’m mentally noting that for maybe a future session. And I think in particular, the goal is to prove the value to the institution, so that they see that it’s something they should be backing. 

So, it’s a stepping-stone to get to where they want to go. It’s given them the room to really start establishing a program and demonstrating value very quickly. Which means that their focus is on funding adoptions and adaptations, they do have some creation projects too. But yeah, I think that’s probably one of the best responses to that question of okay, where do we find money, that we’ve had (laughs). 

So, I wanted to toss it in the ring as another idea for those who in their contexts it does make sense to approach that. And I also love what’s been said about other ways to leverage student support, too. 

Karen L: Yeah, sometimes it’s about proof of concept and however you can get there. 

Amy: This is Amy. I’ll just say that my brand-new supervisor before she was an administrator, her discipline is she’s an economist. And it’s so great to be able to talk to her about this stuff, because I do not have that background. And every time I start trying to think or write about the economics of this, I wonder do I even know enough to know if I know what I’m talking about at all?

And I think that part of it is the money that we need to support the programs, and then there’s also replacing or trying to figure out what to do about the revenue that we say goodbye to bookstore revenue when we stop getting profit from expensive textbooks, and that’s not a sustainable revenue source, of course. We’re not saying that we should go back to that model but providing course materials to students is an essential service along the lines of advising or having chairs in the classroom (laughs). 

So, how do we continue to do that without the revenue that we’ve previously had that was supporting that function. So, anyway, these are just the things that I’ve been trying to mull over. So, Annie, I really appreciate the question of well, where should the funding come from? Do our values tell us something about where we should be looking or not looking? And I think it’s a really interesting open question. 

Zoe: I think there’s something in that approach too, having an economist’s eye on it. I feel like one of the big pieces of information we’re missing is a real understanding of the costs of creation, in particular, and how much time goes into it. The only parallel I can think of which doesn’t fit immediately here but there’s a great study done by Ithaca about monograph publishing. And it was getting from acquisitions through to the point of releasing just a digital version of a book was in the range of $50,000 to $120,000. 

So, that’s obviously a very traditional publishing process, which is not what most of us undertake within OER. But having that kind of data too, I think we’re talking in the $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 for a lot of work that people are putting in. And there are certainly other approaches to figuring out these questions that I think would ask okay, what are the actual costs and how are we meeting them? 

And I think I’ve said on one of these sessions before, it always feels a little risky to be funding work without having that understanding and without fully compensating the work and the time that is put in by a lot of the people undertaking this work, from adaptation right through to full creation from scratch. And I think at every level there is work being done that is really important that we keep in focus and keep thinking about how to fund it and how to fund it adequately as well. 

Karen P: Karen, I just was wondering if I could make a quick comment on that, too, in terms of how important student voices are, actually? And to understand that student voice is often what is really driving the OER movements, especially in Minnesota. I know that all of our system grants are really funded by our legislature, and those funds are coming from our legislature only because of student voices. 

And then, the other thing I think of often when we’re talking about the economic piece of this is that while these resources are free to our students in terms of use in their courses, they really are not free resources. Because the sustainability issue of keeping these resources up-to-date, the creation of them, whatever, is always there. But I also see this, I see in this the time that I’ve been working with OER, I really, truly see a heart or value change in the folks that do this. 

And I see this in my positive psych course that I teach. They can take all the psychology courses in the world, but when they get into that positive psych course, it’s a lifechanging event for every student in there. Because their total value system changes and becomes so different when we’re talking about sharing and being grateful and whatever. And I really see this as a whole paradigm shift in education. 

And I really think there’s no way but for folks to experience it and get involved in the OER work, in the OER community, to really have that value change within each of us individually, to want to open up and to share and do work without being paid for it, for the very value of meaningfulness in our life. That mindfulness mindset that we’re kind of paying it forward to a future generation. 

There truly, I see a value change in almost everyone that works in this. And it’s something it’s hard to talk about, it’s something that is hard to sell because it’s something you almost have to experience. But I truly believe it is there, and it’s gaining momentum. 

Sunny: I’d like to make a comment, can you folks hear me?

Karen L: Yes. 

Sunny: Okay, thanks, I didn’t test my microphone. In Hawaii, and I’m not speaking for everybody who you see representing OER from Hawaii, but my personal observation is we were working with our student organizations across many campuses, we have 10 campuses here. And getting a lot of support from them, and the overall organization of student congresses put out a statement supporting OER. 

Then, they had a conversation with our senators, and the senator for higher education I think in I’m going to say the House of Representatives basically started no, actually, it was a Senate Bill, I’m sorry. It was a Senate Bill basically trying to say, “All faculty need to start producing OER.” And we were alerted to that draft, so was our faculty union, and it turned into a pretty big mess. 

So, just a word of caution, the students were doing what they thought was the right thing, and they brought it up to the legislators. The legislators, and we’ve had a history of a difficult relationship between our public university system and our legislature, they turned around and wrote legislation that made it a little punitive sounding. And our faculty union got involved, there was a big mess. And faculty senates, too. 

So, we’ve had to back off on that a little bit, because it got out of hand. It did get a little national press so, some of you may have heard that. So, we’re still trying to figure our way out through that one. 

Karen L: Thank you, Sunny. Now, we have just a few minutes remaining, and I know that Dan Allosso is on the call and he’s a faculty member who participated in the learning circles that Karen mentioned at the top of the hour. And Dan, I think you wanted to comment on those learning circles and perhaps speak firsthand to how the monetary show of appreciation worked for you?

Dan: Yeah, thanks. And I was just thinking, I just posted a little thing on the thread. I don’t disagree with what Karen was talking about, about the gift economy element of this. But I do find that it seems when I go to conferences and whatnot, a lot of the people who are doing this are contingent faculty or early career faculty, who are looking to make a name for ourselves. And that that sometimes tends to lead to administrators saying, “Hey, put this in your professional development report.”

That’d be great. Now, on the learning circles, yeah, I was in Karen’s learning circles twice. And then, she also runs a learning circle leader training, which I did. And since then, she’s been on me to try to get this going on my campus, because part of the agreement that my administration agreed to when they signed on the line to let me do that, was that they would support me in getting learning circles going on my own campus. 

So far, I’ve found that most of the funding and most of the grant opportunities seem to be at a system level, rather than at a campus level. And so, I think that that’s kind of an interesting political issue, because right now, for the third time I’m in Karen’s learning circle. This time, I’m leading a group of other faculty from other campuses in doing a system-wide modern world history textbook. 

And I am going to put in for a grant to expand that out, bring in more faculty to contribute and people from the two-year schools as well as the four-year, that will be money that I will be looking to the state system for, because it’s not really as forthcoming on the campus level. And the political element that fascinates me is if we’re developing these transfer pathways from two-year schools to four-year. 

If we’re developing this more consciously standardized format for courses that are widely taught, does that shift some of the authority over those things to the state system, rather than to the individual campuses? And what are the implications for things like academic freedom and faculty satisfaction with the process and all that? 

Karen L: Yeah, thanks, Dan. There are a lot of questions here and in our hour together, I feel like we’ve moved from the practical to the philosophical and the tactical. There are a lot of angles to this question of funding and payment and where it should come from and how it is done. And of course, through the process we bump into other systems in higher ed or state and federal government systems or funding systems. 

And so, there’s often a lot to navigate. We have five minutes remaining, so if you have any burning questions, now is the time to post them in the chat or unmute and ask our guests. If not, I will start speaking more slowly, and transition to our farewell. (Silence) 

Zoe: If somebody wants to fill the silence in the chat, please go ahead. But I will take this last moment to say a huge thank you to everybody for contributing today. This has been a really wonderful discussion. I will encourage you to keep an eye out on both of our Twitter feeds. We are @RebusCommunity, OTN is @open_textbooks there, we’ll be sharing details of our next session. 

Which is actually nicely connected to some of what Dan was saying where we’re talking about tenure and promotion guidelines. Promotion guidelines and OER, so that’s sounding like it’s going to shape up to be another very good discussion. And I’ll also just share a brief reminder that we are hosting some information sessions, coming up on November 6th for our textbook success program. 

If you’re interested in more information about that, I’ve just dropped a link in the chat. And so, we very much look forward to seeing some of you there, and talking more about how this work gets done, both through our next Office Hours and through Twitter and all the different ways that we talk to each other, that are all thoroughly enjoyable. So, thank you everybody. And thank you to Karen for co-hosting with us today. 

Karen L: Thank you, Zoe and Rebus Community and thank you Karen Pikula, Dawn Lowe-Wincentsen and Amanda Hurford for sharing your stories. And thanks to all of you for joining us and engaging in this conversation. So, look forward to next month. If we see you in Phoenix before then, please say hello. I will be there, I know Zoe and Apurva will be there, and many of you will be there. So, until we meet again, either online or in person. Thank you. 

Zoe: Thanks everyone.

Chat Transcript

00:22:25 Dan Allosso: I’m one of the faculty in Karen’s Learning Circle.

00:23:22 Annie Johnson: Was the $500 for a peer review of a textbook manuscript? Or a review of a finished textbook for OTL?

00:23:30 Apurva Ashok: I would love to hear your perspective about the learning circles, Dan, and how beneficial it has been for you!

00:25:59 Amy Hofer: 🙂

00:31:13 Jonas Lamb: Dawn if you’re comfortable sharing the flowchart via link it would be great to look at it in greater detail.  

00:31:38 Dawn LoweWincentsen: https://oregontech-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/dawn_lowewincentsen_oit_edu/EVOfdaLmF29Kmev2d9-Tg8UBmlXgwI2JsnZTo-FP2D2D6Q?e=N5J9UW

00:31:48 Jonas Lamb: thnks

00:31:54 Dawn LoweWincentsen: I believe that chart will allow access. 

00:35:31 Zoe Wake Hyde: I also love a spreadsheet – I get it!

00:37:48 Annie Johnson: The $2000 for adapting…were there any strings attached? Like, could they just change a few things or did it have to be major edits/additions?

00:38:17 Apurva Ashok: As Karen Pikula mentioned, we have some links to pass along from Jenny Parks, who is the Senior Director of Policy and Academic Initiatives for the Midwestern Higher Education Compact. She unfortunately couldn’t be here today, but wanted to let you all know about: A recent report from SPARC that includes some information about faculty grant programs: https://sparcopen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Connect_OER_Report_2018-2019_Final.pdf.

Summary data from my June 2019 survey of faculty grant programs (attached).

A link to the faculty grant program survey (from June): I shall be sending it out ASAP to the listserver too: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MHECOERFACULTYGRANTS.

00:38:33 Sophie Rondeau: Amanda, Is there an RFP process for the adopt/adapt stipends?

00:39:08 Amy Hofer: I was feeling envious that you directly pay faculty… until you got to the tax implications!

00:40:00 Sara Harrington: Does anyone have advice on a stipend amount for a faculty member who reviewed an OER textbook draft authored by a fellow faculty member?

00:40:28 Amy Hofer: @Sara I usually do the same $200 as for a post pub review.

00:41:12 Annie Johnson: @Sara We’ve been giving $150 for peer review of a textbook draft

00:41:18 Sara Harrington: Thanks!

00:42:22 Dan Allosso: I would like to give my perspective on Karen’s Learning Circles, as Apurva suggested.

00:42:59 KAREN Pikula: Much like the example that Amanda is talking about right now…You really have to be somewhat flexible in this work and meet each individual faculty where they are…

00:43:01 Jonas Lamb: Amanda, I’ve had some success with stipend workflow involving collecting SSN info using form data/concealed fields and our institutional instance of DocuSign https://support.docusign.com/s/question/0D51W000069k5PSSAY/how-to-secure-recipients-ssn-social-security-number

00:43:43 Amy Hofer: I’m using DocuSign as well for getting MOUs signed for OER grants. This was after hearing a presentation at an institutional repository users group meeting in Portland a couple of years ago.

00:45:07 Sara Harrington: Appreciate it!

00:45:17 Jonathan Poritz: I was offered $400 by a commercial publisher to review a single chapter of an upcoming book.

00:45:40 Amanda Hurford: Thanks for the DocuSign suggestion!

00:46:09 Dan Allosso: I’d imagine if I was going to put together a grant proposal to write a textbook, I might build in some dollars for pre-pub reviewers.

00:46:09 Amy Hofer: I recently had a college author find an Oregon colleague on Rebus (coincidentally). So I was able to reach out and offer the $200 review stipend.

00:46:16 Annie Johnson: @jonathan…I know…it’s really impossible to compete with commercial publishers in terms of money.

00:46:19 Veronica Bielat: We are planning on paying $250 to peer reviewers for an upcoming open textbook publishing project.

00:46:38 Rachel Becker: Does anyone have suggested resources for locating grants for funding OER projects? 

00:46:46 Chris: $250

00:48:00 Amy Hofer: OPE (Other Payroll Expenses) ie employer costs of paying people (contributions to benefits, etc)

00:48:12 Sophie Rondeau: On a related topic, we are also paying faculty an honorarium of $250 to review a handful (6-8) of our course redesign grant proposals. 

00:48:16 Annie Johnson: Ha ha

00:48:21 Jonathan Poritz: did the work, didn’t get paid!

00:48:26 Justin White: I’ll do it if he wont

00:48:27 Justin White: Boooo

00:48:41 Zoe Wake Hyde: That’s terrible, Jonathan!

00:48:45 Justin White: Name and shame!

00:49:18 Jonas Lamb: I have found workaround to payroll contributions that are then taxable.  I have been able to work with departments to OER stipend funds to departments which can then be earmarked for a faculty member’s PD or Travel budget

00:50:08 Apurva Ashok: This is the endowment that Amanda mentioned, if anyone is located in Indiana or was curious: https://lillyendowment.org/

00:50:42 cgermano: Dawne please share!

00:50:45 April Akins: I would love to see this.

00:50:58 Alexis Clifton: One grant opportunity is the Michelson 20MM Spark grants. Offers Burts of funding rounds pretty frequently. Unfortunately, our recent grant proposal got turned down for creating new open textbooks 🙁

00:51:04 Alexis Carlson Indian River State College: Awesome Dawn, do you think the support is so high because of the Oregon state mandate for OER/textbook affordability? Or did you always have such support?

00:51:06 Alexis Clifton: *bursts

00:51:16 Annie Johnson: Like Dawn is saying, we’re working with a faculty member who wants to publish an open adult literacy reader, and he is applying for a grant with a local non-profit and added our publishing costs into it

00:51:48 Amy Hofer: @Alexis I think that support is high because Dawn has laid the groundwork. There’s a lot of backstory getting to this point…

00:52:05 Dawn LoweWincentsen: one sheet we gave to our foundation: https://oregontech-my.sharepoint.com/:b:/g/personal/dawn_lowewincentsen_oit_edu/EUFs_wIC4VxJpLXyKqdCFL8BSWSFR-7hsgSwG9PjICBWCw?e=NykNW1 

00:52:07 Rachel Becker: These are all great ideas! 

00:53:13 Dawn LoweWincentsen: @alexsis, Some support definitely comes from the state, and as Amy noted, there is a groundwork built and some uphill struggle to get here.

00:53:14 Annie Johnson: Amazing! But should students be funding this?

00:53:21 Annie Johnson: Aren’t we trying to save students money?

00:53:34 Zoe Wake Hyde: Totally hear you, Annie

00:53:54 Zoe Wake Hyde: Very much the goal that this pilot proves the value to the institution so it doesn’t land on them to continue funding the work

00:54:18 Amy Hofer: @Annie really interesting questions! I think that students may be willing to pay slightly higher tuition to avoid unpredictable textbook costs – ?

00:54:46 Amy Hofer: But it’s an open question, we are shifting production costs from commercial entities to institutions and states.

00:54:52 Alexis Carlson Indian River State College: data collection a whole other story!

00:57:01 Rachel Becker: We’re working to incorporate OER into our textbook rental program (which is partially funded with student funds). To make the program sustainable OER is a great addition. Currently, we have several OER titles in our key courses which is a great start. 

00:57:46 Annie Johnson: That makes sense

01:00:42 Dan Allosso: I think it’s an interesting issue in a state system like Minnesota’s. Seems to me there’s a LOT more money at the system level than at the campus level.

01:00:56 Amy Hofer: Great point Zoe

01:00:59 Karen Lauritsen: https://sr.ithaka.org/publications/the-costs-of-publishing-monographs/

01:01:08 Karen Lauritsen: ^ what Zoe just mentioned

01:01:24 sunny: Thanks Karen for the link to the monograph!

01:01:45 Zoe Wake Hyde: Thanks Karen!

01:02:30 Marilyn Billings: Same in MA – it’s been the student voices who are driving the agenda for our statewide work.

01:02:56 Rachel Becker: These are excellent points. 

01:03:19 Zoe Wake Hyde: Absolutely, Karen! Love that.

01:03:46 Amy Hofer: Karen, so great to hear!

01:03:59 Zoe Wake Hyde: Very well said

01:04:10 Marilyn Billings: I’ll be able to share more about what’s happening in MA after next Tuesday when the MA OER Working Group’s final report and recommendations go before the state Board of Higher Education.

01:06:04 Zoe Wake Hyde: Shows the importance of collaborating on these things! Got to have all the voices in the room.

01:06:17 Jonas Lamb: FWIW student government funding is provided to the governing body and to student clubs by University funds (okay so some of that likely comes from tuition).  

01:06:23 Zoe Wake Hyde: And I think Billy Meinke-Lau has shared about this story in a previous OH session on OER policy

01:06:32 Dan Allosso: While I don’t disagree with Karen, I have a bit of a problem with the idea that lots of contingent and early-career folks are doing a lot of this type of work in an attempt to make names for ourselves, leading some administrators to think they can get us to contribute it…

01:06:52 Jim Paradiso: Thanks everyone! Gotta run…Great session! 🙂

01:06:58 Apurva Ashok: Thanks Jim!

01:06:59 Zoe Wake Hyde: Thanks Jim!

01:07:02 Annie Johnson: +100 Dan

01:07:44 Leigh KP: Here is the OER Policy Redux Office Hours in which Billy Meinke-Lau spoke about the senate bill in Hawaii https://about.rebus.community/2019/02/06/january-2019-office-hours-oer-policy-redux-audio-transcript/

01:07:45 Annie Johnson: It’s problematic to me to, say, ask an adjunct to do this work for free…

01:08:30 Amy Hofer: Absolutely! This may be the only way for part-time faculty to be paid for course development.

01:09:13 Zoe Wake Hyde: Definitely, there are a lot of factors at play. There’s a balance to find between adequately rewarding work and thinking about that work as more than just work-for-pay (this isn’t a great expression of this idea sorry, just typing quickly!)

01:10:50 Apurva Ashok: Our next session will be on Tenure & Promotion in OER: https://www.rebus.community/t/office-hours-tenure-and-promotion-in-oer-21-november-2019-2pm-et-6pm-utc/1848

01:10:58 Zoe Wake Hyde: https://www.rebus.community/t/about-the-textbook-success-program/1649

01:11:01 Dan Allosso: Cool, Zoe, I’ll look forward to that!

01:11:04 Sophie Rondeau: Thanks everyone, gotta go!

01:11:10 Apurva Ashok: Thanks everyone!

01:11:12 Annie Johnson: Thanks all!

01:11:19 Jonathan Poritz: Thanks, great discussion!

01:11:22 Rachel Becker: Thank you!

01:11:23 Amy Hofer: Thank you!

01:11:23 KAREN Pikula: Thank you everyone!

01:11:24 Amanda Hurford: Thank you!!

01:11:31 Alexis Clifton: Thanks all

01:11:32 Dan Allosso: Thanks !!

01:11:32 Dawn LoweWincentsen: Thank you all!

01:11:37 Leanne Urasaki: Thanks all!

01:11:38 Marilyn Billings: Thanks for this excellent conversation. Looking forward to the T&P discussion.

01:11:43 cgermano: Thank you!

01:11:46 sunny: Thank you!

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