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 supplemental allocations provided by K-State Libraries. In fall 2014, the Offices of the Provost and President committed funds to the initiative for 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 to develop texts that provide cost savings for students while improving the quality of the learning process. Through the initiative, faculty can receive a stipend up to $5,000 to develop or adopt an alternate to a traditional textbook.

The project is open to either individual faculty members or a team of faculty teaching multiple sections of the same course. A proposed project may involve the use or adaptation of an existing open access textbook, library resources, high quality open educational resources (OER), or faculty-authored materials.  The project may also involve different media (articles, audio, video, web sites).

Co-developers of the initiative, Drs. Andy Bennett and Brian Lindshield have successfully developed and implemented open textbooks. 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.

For other examples see Open Textbook Resources.

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? (e.g., do you plan to use an existing open textbook or develop your own materials), what platform will you use, what format(s) will be used (e.g., PDFSs, e-book, video, etc.)
  2. Does the textbook engage students in the learning process?
  3. How will relevant copyright issues be addressed? (e.g., is the use of copyrighted material allowable under fair use or through a creative commons license?)
  4. How will students access (view/print) the assigned content? Will the textbook be accessible via a student's mobile device or smartphone? Will the text follow universally accessible design principles?
  5. Will you require support from colleagues at the Libraries or iTAC (e.g., to identify or compile resources, consult on copyright or accessibility issues)?
  6. What problems do you anticipate? (e.g., will students be challenged to access the resources, are there time constraints or technology barriers, etc.)
  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; the proposal must be a new project

Selection Criteria

Applications will be reviewed by a panel consisting of two teaching faculty, a representative from K-State Libraries, a representative from the Student Access Center, and a past textbook initiative awardee.

Winning proposals will be based on responses to narrative questions above and criteria below:

  • Quality and strength of application and how well it meets the requirements
  • Potential savings to K-State students (based on course enrollment numbers and current text costs)
  • Ability to be implemented in the Fall 2015 or Spring 2016
  • Ability to produce a quality product and to actively engage students in the learning process
  • Sustainability of the resource beyond the initial course
  • Willingness or ability to license the resource for re-use or adaption at K-State or beyond
  • Accessibility and usability of the resource for all students (see information provided by the Student Access Center)

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, half of each award will be distributed at the beginning of the project and the remainder at the 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: 02/27/2015