The Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative

About the fund

Awards by Year | Application Process | Requirements | Selection Criteria | Application Form

The Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative was initially made possible through funding from  Student Centered Tuition Enhancement (SCTE) funds with a supplemental allocation provided by K-State Libraries. In fall 2014, Central Administration committed funds to the initiativefor two years.

The high cost of commercial print textbooks is a major concern for both students and their parents. The goal of the initiative is to encourage faculty experimentation and innovation in finding new, better, and less costly ways to deliver learning materials to students. Through the initiative, faculty can receive a stipend up to $5,000 to develop or adopt an alternate to a traditional textbook.

This process may involve using a range of resources across different media (articles, video, audio, websites) or the use of an existing open access textbook. For examples see the list of resources.

The project is open to either individual faculty members or a group of faculty teaching multiple sections of the same course (in the case of partnered projects the award goes to a single representative of the group). Developers of the initiative hope to demonstrate how savings may be achieved for students while maintaining or improving the quality of their learning process.

There is no expectation that faculty will author complete open textbooks, but that would certainly qualify as an acceptable project proposal. Co-authors of the initiative proposal, Drs. Andy Bennett and Brian Lindshield have successfully done this.

Dr. Bennett’s Elementary Differential Equations textbook features algorithms that create problem sets for students to practice.

Dr. Lindshield’s Kansas State University Human Nutrition (HN 400) Flexbook was a finalist for the 2012 People’s Choice Award for the Most Open Resource.

You can view sample projects from a similar initiative at Temple University, from The Alternative Textbook Project.

Application Process

All K-State faculty are eligible to apply for awards of $2,000 - $5,000 each. The award may be used at the discretion of faculty to create their open/alternate textbook.

General Proposal Requirements

In your proposal please provide the required information, and address the following questions:

1. Course information (course name, number, enrollment, semester(s) offered)
2. Information on your current textbook (title, cost, estimate on how much students will save by using your open textbook)
3. Open Textbook plan (narrative) - 2 page maximum
  1. How do you plan to go about replacing the textbook in this course?
  2. How will the use of alternate learning resources meet the guidelines for fair use of copyrighted materials? (successful proposals will address relevant copyright issues.)
  3. How will students access (view/print) the assigned content? 
  4. Will colleagues from the libraries and instructional technology support be involved in identifying or compiling resources?
  5. What problems do you anticipate? (e.g., will students be challenged to access the resources, time constraints, technology barriers, etc.)
  6. Will the textbook be accessible via a student’s mobile device or smartphone?
  7. What are your anticipated outcomes? How will you know they were achieved?


Material not eligible for the fund include

  • commercial e-text versions of an existing print textbook
  • textbook rentals
  • existing textbook alternatives already in use by faculty; must be a new project

Selection Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by a panel consisting of two students, the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies, a representative from K-State Libraries, a representative from the Center for Advancement of Teaching and Learning, and two teaching faculty.

Winning proposals will be based on

  • Quality and strength of application and how well it meets the requirements
  • Potential savings to K-State students
  • Enrollment and class size with preference given to high enrollment and lower-level courses
  • Transferability of the project to other courses
  • Sustainability beyond the initial course
  • Ability to be implemented in the Fall 2015 semester
  • Ability to produce a quality product
  • Well-articulated evaluation plan

Evaluation Reports, Final Meeting, & Grant Disbursement

Award recipients are required to submit short evaluations reflecting on their experience implementing their open/alternative textbook and the outcomes after each semester. Evaluations will be due approximately a month after each semester

All grant recipients are also required to meet at the end of the academic year to compare experiences, share findings, and make recommendations concerning the program.

Grant Disbursement

For funded proposals, it is our intention to distribute half the award at the beginning of the project and the remainder after completion of the project.

For more information or to discuss a potential project please contact:

Dr. Andy Bennett
(785) 532-0562

Dr. Brian Lindshield
Human Nutrition
(785) 532-7848

Beth Turtle
K-State Libraries
(785) 532-2830


Last updated: 12/11/2014