- Step 1: Define leadership for the program. Generally, self-funding programs are initiated by faculty members and administrators who are passionate about the project, but are not receiving additional stipends or time releases for the project. It is important to be realistic about the time available and is often to have more than one individual leading the work.
- Step 2: Identify an executive sponsor. Self-funded projects need to explore possible funding options and it is helpful to have a sponsor who understand institutional budgets and fee structures.
- Step 3: Explore funding possibilities. At this step it is important to focus on approaches that are realistic, and within your control. Often, seeking grant or philanthropic funding seems appealing but can lead to months or years of waiting with no real progress. The three common areas for funding include:
- An institutional budget item targeted at improving student success that can be reallocated
- A course-based OER support fee that is added to OER sections of courses at the time of registration, similar to a lab fee
- A direct student payment model, similar to the course fee but paid by the student without the institution’s involvement
- Step 4: Create a budget for the OER program. Please see the budget template in the helpful resources section for more detail. The budget should capture any stipends or mini-grants that will be awarded to faculty members, what revenue that will create to fund future mini-grants, as well as costs like travel and professional development for the program leads.
- Step 5: Engage key supporters to implement the plan. For course fees in particular, student support has proven to be extremely helpful. Student associations will often lobby in favor of a course fee in order to support greater savings. In many institutions board approval may be required, making it important to align goals for the program with key institutional metrics and strategies.
Note: The budget template assumes that there is an initial program budget of $5,000 and a $5 fee applied to OER courses. This generates funding for all future faculty stipends with some additional budget for travel and professional development, while saving students $500,000 over three academic years.