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Open Educational Resources (OER)

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The McMaster Open Educational Resources (OER) Grant Program provides funding and staff support to McMaster instructors interested in adopting, adapting or creating OER for their courses. The Program also offers an honorarium for the peer review of an existing open textbook.

The OER Grant Program is generously funded through the Office of the Provost and Vice-President (Academic), McMaster University Library, the Health Sciences Library, and the MacPherson Institute.

The program supports the use of OER to benefit teaching and learning by enhancing equal access to and discoverability of learning resources and contributing to student cost savings.

The McMaster OER Grant Program aims to:

  • Increase access to, and maximize use of, open textbooks and other OER for students, instructors, and the McMaster community 

  • Reduce the cost of textbooks and other course materials for students

  • Encourage the exploration of new teaching approaches using OER and the development of course materials that are both customizable and support course learning outcomes

For information about the different grants offered as part of the McMaster OER Grant Program, see the Grant Types page in the Documents area below.

See other pages of the OER LibGuide for more information about OER.

For research on the use, impact and perceptions of OER by instructors and students, see the following articles:

Colvard, N. B., Watson, C. E., & Park, H. (2018) The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30(2), 262-276.

DeRosa R. & Robison S. (2017). From OER to Open Pedagogy: Harnessing the Power of Open. In: Jhangiani R. & Biswas-Diener R, Open: The Policies and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science. London: Ubiquity Press. 

Jhangiani, R. S., Dastur, F. N., Le Grand, R., & Penner, K. (2018). As Good or Better than Commercial Textbooks: Students’ Perceptions and Outcomes from Using Open Digital and Open Print Textbooks. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 9(1).

Martin, M., Belikov, O., Hilton, J., Wiley, D., & Fischer, L. (2017). Analysis of student and faculty perceptions of textbook costs in higher education. Open Praxis, 9(1), 79-91.


Please send questions about the OER Grant Program to



The Call for Proposals for 2024/25 offer three levels of OER Grants and an Honorarium, as follows:

  • Adoption Grant (up to $1,000 each) - Identify and adopt an existing open textbook or other open educational resource. This would involve aligning your course learning outcomes, content, teaching methodologies, etc., to the new resource. Adoptions may require small changes to the textbook such as modifications due to accessibility requirements, minor text changes, or appending content.
  • Adaptation Grant* (up to $2,500 each) - Identify and adapt or customize an existing open textbook or other open educational resource. This may include, but is not limited to, creating a Canadian or localized edition of an existing open textbook, adding content and/or creating ancillary materials e.g. test banks, slide decks, videos, interactive media, etc. for an existing resource.
  • Creation Grant (up to $7,500 each) - Create or develop a new open textbook or other open educational resource. This should cover a topic or subject area that is not currently included in an existing open textbook or other open educational resource.
  • Peer Review Honorarium ($250) - Complete a formal or verified peer-review of an existing, unreviewed open textbook.

*For more information about adapting an existing open textbook, see Reasons to Adapt an Open Textbook by Lauri M. Aesoph. See also the eCampusOntario Adapt an OER webpage.

The funding program is administered by the University Library. 

Expectations of grant recipients are described on the Application Process page.


Please send questions about the OER Grant Program to


Please read all of the information about the Grant Program in the OER Grant (McMaster) Research Guide before starting your application

OER Grant Application form


Important Dates for 2024/25

  • Applications open: Monday, April 8, 2024

  • Application deadline: Friday, May 31, 2024 by 11:59 pm 

  • Notification date of applicant status: Monday, June 17, 2024

  • Grant recipients announced: Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Important Documents

OER Grant Application form (Now closed)

Planning document

Final Report document



Any instructor of a McMaster credit course is eligible to apply, including instructional teams, instructional assistants, and staff in educational roles. Sessional instructors, teaching assistants, and students are eligible as co-applicants if at least one member of the team is employed by the university for the duration of the grant.

Eligible grant projects must: 

  • Apply to upcoming courses or programs taught at McMaster University

  • Use existing open educational resources or create new open educational resources

  • Incorporate a plan for evaluating the effectiveness of the resource in the classroom

Applications are particularly encouraged for large undergraduate courses, courses with high-cost traditional textbooks, and new or emerging disciplines or subjects.

Applications will be reviewed by members of the McMaster OER Committee, including members from the MacPherson Institute, the University Libraries, McMaster University Continuing Education, and faculty and student representatives.

Applicants are eligible to apply more than once, to more than one category. However, Applicants may receive only one award from the Creation, Adaptation and Adoption categories in any given year.

Individual grants are for one year only.

Expectations of Grant Recipients

For Adoption, Adaptation or Creation:

  • Meet with the OER Committee co-chairs to complete a project plan with agreed-upon timelines and deliverables*

  • Commit to use the resource in a McMaster credit course specified in the application form

  • Ensure the resource meets with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) standards**

  • Submit a final report, including a final budget, after completion of the project*

  • Agree to share their project plans with the McMaster community through a minimum of one session held during Open Access Week, Open Education Week, May Teaching and Learning Month or the MacPherson Institute's annual Innovations in Education Conference (IEC)

*See the Planning document to help create your project plan.

**See information on Accessible Publishing for instructors. Contact Library Accessibility Services for assistance.

***See the Final Report document.

For Adaptation or Creation:

In addition to the expectations listed above,

For Peer Review Honorarium:

  • Submit and permit the open publication of the review for a textbook, in the corresponding collection, prior to June 28, 2024

  • If suitable, add the reviewed textbook to the OER by Discipline Guide: McMaster University

  • Consider adopting the reviewed textbook as a course resource.

  • Note: A submission of a final report is not required.


Please send questions about the OER Grant Program to


Evaluation Criteria

The following criteria will be considered during the evaluation process:

  • Number of learners served (as measured by class size and/or number of sections)

  • Potential impact on cost savings to students 

  • Potential for the reuse of the OER in subsequent terms or other credit courses to be offered at McMaster and at other institutions

  • Evidence of need for OER on this topic (for Adaptation or Creation)

  • Feasible goals and timelines

  • Feasible budget

  • Plan for measuring learners’ experience with the OER*

  • Plan for measuring project success* 

  • Plan for regular review (and revision, if Adapting or Creating)*

  • Inclusion of content map/plan (for Creation)

  • Outline of proposed plan (for Adoption)

  • Outline of proposed plan/changes or additions (for Adaptation)

  • Evidence of teaching experience or courses taught in the subject of the textbook the applicant has applied to review (for Peer Review Honorarium)

*Draft plans may be submitted upon application with the understanding that successful applicants will meet with the OER Committee co-chairs to complete agreed-upon timelines and deliverables. See the Application Process and Support and FAQ pages for more details.

Evaluation Process

Please read all of the information about the Grant Program included in the OER Grant (McMaster) LibGuide before starting your application.

Applications will be evaluated by members of the McMaster OER Committee, which includes members from the University Libraries, the MacPherson Institute, McMaster University Continuing Education, and faculty and student representatives.

  • Notification date of applicant status: Friday, July 14, 2023
  • Grant recipients announced: Wednesday, July 19, 2023


Please send questions about the OER Grant Program to

Congratulations to the OER Grantees for 2023-2024!

Mark Busser, manager, Careers and Experiential Education
Open Content Creation: Careers in Local and Municipal Government

Anthony Chibba and Sharonna Greenberg, assistant professors, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Open Content Creation: Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology for the Students by the Students

Amin Reza Rajabzadeh, associate professor, and Konstantinos Apostolou, assistant professor, W. Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology
Open Content Creation: Interactive Open Educational Resources for Energy Balances in Chemical and Biochemical Processes

Miranda Schmidt, assistant professor; Sara Cormier, instructional assistant, and Kari Dalnoki-Veress, professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Open Content Creation: Manual for Introductory Physics Hybrid Labs

Erica Speakman, assistant professor, Social Psychology 
Open Content Creation: Exploring Social Psychological Theory

Christine Swintak, assistant professor, Integrated Arts Program
Open Content Creation: The AI for Artists Workbook

Rebecca Turner, instructional assistant, Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Open Content Creation: Chemistry Lab Manuals 

Felicia Vulcu and Caitlin Mullarkey, associate professors, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences 
Open Content Creation: BBS Thesis Course Guidebook

Ruhai Wu, associate professor, Marketing 
Open Content Creation: Digital Marketing



OER Grantees for 2022-2023

Christopher Anand, associate professor, Dept. of Computing and Software
Open Content CREATION: Creating with Code: An Introduction to Functional Programming and User Interaction using 2D Graphics in Elm

Anthony Chibba and Sharonna Greenberg, assistant professors, Dept. of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Open Content CREATION: Developing an OER for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology for First-Year Chemistry Students

Dave Heidebrecht, advisor on special projects and sessional instructor, Office of the Vice-President Teaching and Learning, and manager, Office of Community Engagement
Open Content CREATION: The Art of Change: Introduction to Individual, Systems and Organizational Change

Anne Holbrook, director, Division of Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, and professor, Dept. of Medicine
Open Content CREATION: Development of a Canadian Open Textbook for Medical Students Learning Clinical Pharmacology and Prescribing Skills


OER Grantees for 2021-2022

Konstantinos Apostolou and Amin Rajabzadeh, assistant professors, W Booth School of Engineering Practice and Technology
Open Content CREATION: Introduction to Mass Balances 

Mirna Carranza, professor, School of Social Work
Open Content CREATION: The Colonial Mirror: Newcomer Families as Civic Bodies

David Feinberg, associate professor, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
Open Content CREATION: Python for Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour

Chad Harvey, associate professor, School of Interdisciplinary Science
Open Content ADAPTATION: Adaptation of Biology 2e (OpenStax)

Ali Hashemi, assistant professor, Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour
Open Content CREATION: Revisiting the History of Psychology

Anne Holbrook, director, Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology, and professor, Department of Medicine
Open Content ADAPTATION: Adaptation of the National Prescribing Curriculum (NPC) of Australia

Miroslav Lovric, professor, Department of Mathematics & Statistics
Open Content CREATION: 99 Numbers: Mathematics of Everyday Life

Antonio Paez, professor, School of Earth, Environment & Society
Open Content CREATION: Spatial Statistics


OER Grantees for 2020-2021

Zhen He, assistant professor, Dept. of Economics

Open Content ADAPTATION: Microeconomics interactive study guide and question bank as supplementary resources

Completed Project: Catalogue: Intermediate Microeconomics: Interactive Question Bank; eCampusOntario Open Library: Intermediate Microeconomics: Interactive Question Bank


Alex Peace, assistant professor, School of Geography and Earth Sciences

Open Content CREATION: A virtual geology field trip to Whitefish Falls, Ontario: Geoscience fieldwork in the age of Covid-19 and beyond

Completed Project: Catalogue: Virtual field trip to the Whitefish Falls area, ON, Canada; ArcGIS StoryMaps: Virtual field trip to  the Whitefish Falls area, ON, Canada

Publication: Peace, Alexander L., Jeremy J. Gabriel, and Carolyn Eyles. 2021. "Geoscience Fieldwork in the Age of COVID-19 and Beyond: Commentary on the Development of a Virtual Geological Field Trip to Whitefish Falls, Ontario, Canada" Geosciences 11, no. 12: 489.


Felicia Vulcu and Caitlin Mullarkey, associate professor and assistant professor, Dept. of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences

Open Content CREATION: Interactive manual on Biochemistry Basics: Exploring modern biochemical techniques through drug discovery

Completed Project: Catalogue BBS OER Lab Manual; eCampusOntario Open Library: BBS OER Lab Manual


Please send questions about the OER Grant Program to



The MacPherson Institute and the University Libraries are building a service to assist instructors to adopt, adapt or create open textbooks or other open educational resources for use in their courses. The grant will give instructors support through collaboration and/or consultation with staff in the MacPherson Institute and the University Libraries.

OER Grant Drop-in Sessions:

OER Grant Info Drop-in Session on Monday, June 12th 10:30 – 11:00. Register here.  

Discover how the Ontario Open Library, Pressbooks and H5P can help YOU - with eCampusOntario (recording)

Stephen Wilfread, Ontario Open Library Coordinator from eCampusOntario provided a brief overview of Open Educational Resources, and the eCampusOntario Open Library. Together we discussed the work that the eCampusOntario Open Library is doing, including the eCampusOntario H5P Studio and the eCampusOntario Pressbooks Instance. Watch the recording to find out how the supports eCampusOntario have built offer educators and learners opportunities to enhance their tech-enhanced learning in a flexible, easy-to-use ways.


Creating Interactive Content with H5P (video recording)

Interested in learning how to use H5P to create an OER for your course? Watch this video recording to learn about the H5P Studio, the content types available and the thousands of examples available for you to explore and use. Register for an account to the H5P Studio by going to the eCampusOntario H5P Studio website. Click on "Register" in the top right, and sign up for a free account with your email

More Information

For additional questions about the McMaster OER Grant program or to request a consultation regarding your application, project or peer review, please contact Joanne Kehoe, Lead Educational Developer, Digital Pedagogies at

See the Planning document to help create your project plan.

See the Final Report document.

Please read all of the information about the Grant Program included in the OER Grant (McMaster) LibGuide before starting your application.



Where can I find open textbooks to adopt, adapt or review?

There are many OER collections or repositories available to find open textbooks and other open educational resources for coursework. These collections or repositories normally contain a combination of peer-reviewed and non-peer reviewed titles. If an open textbook has already been reviewed, the review(s) will appear with the record for the textbook.

OER collections or repositories, including those listed below, may be found in the McMaster OER LibGuide: Collections

  • B.C. Open Collection - A curated selection of course materials developed by educators in B.C.that can be accessed by educators in B.C. and beyond for use in the classroom, in an institutional learning management system, or in other teaching and learning platforms. All the materials are openly licensed, which means that they are free to use, customize, and share.

  • eCampusOntario Open Library - Search over 700 open textbooks and other open resources in top subject areas in post-secondary education. Print for low cost; download for free.

  • MERLOT - This collection contains over 98,000 discipline-specific, peer-reviewed free learning materials. Materials are categorized in 22 different types, including assessment tools, quizzes, modules, open textbooks and presentations.

  • OASIS - A search tool for discovery of open content from over 110 different sources. Search by content type such as full textbooks, course materials and interactive simulations, or browse by subject using Advanced Search.

  • OER by Discipline Guide: McMaster University - This guide highlights quality open textbooks organized by academic programs at McMaster.

  • Pressbooks Directory - Search this directory of 3,300 open textbooks and other books published across 115 Pressbooks networks.


Where can I find information about adopting, adapting, or creating open textbooks?

Several OER Faculty toolkits are available to get you started on your open textbook project. These resources, including those listed below, may be found in the McMaster OER LibGuide: OER & Faculty.


Where can I find calls for the peer review of open textbooks?

In addition to searching for open textbooks in collections or repositories such as those listed in the McMaster OER LibGuide: Collections, some organizations release a call for reviews. The Collections page of the OER Research Guide will be updated as calls for the peer review of open textbooks are announced.

The Rebus Community maintains a Contributor Marketplace forum where you can post or reply to calls for contributors, peer reviewers, editors, etc. for open textbook projects.


Please send questions about the OER Grant Program to

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