Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

  

  • What is the Affordability Task Force?
    • The Rowan University Affordability Task Force (established in 2016) consists of staff, faculty, and student representatives from a variety of departments throughout Rowan University. The mission of the Affordability Task Force is to better understand the financial-related needs of our students. We are dedicated to implementing strategies to ensure our students are aware of existing campus resources and strive to develop ideas for additional services deemed necessary for an affordable education here at Rowan University.

 

  • What is the Textbook Alternative Program (TAP)?
    • TAP is a Rowan University Affordability Task Force initiative aimed at raising awareness of the rising cost of course materials, as well as supporting faculty in their efforts to reduce the costs of textbooks and course materials. TAP is offering five $2,000 grants to support faculty members interested in developing alternate undergraduate course materials.

 

  • Why is the Affordability Task Force focusing on textbook affordability?
    • The high cost of course materials is an obstacle for many Rowan students, especially since these costs are typically paid out-of-pocket. Students are often faced with the dilemma of choosing to pay for course materials or for other needs like housing and food. In a spring 2016 survey of undergraduate students at Rowan, 37% of respondents indicated that they had not purchased all of their course materials, with cost as the most common reason given (85%). This is particularly troubling since over 92% of faculty respondents at Rowan in a spring 2017 survey indicated that not purchasing course materials could negatively impact student success “a great deal” (63.2%) or “somewhat” (28.9%). The Affordability Task Force is also actively pursuing a number of other projects to address student affordability issues, including the creation of the SHOP, the annual Financial Literacy Fair, and developing resources to educate students on financial wellness through ProfCents.

 

  • What are Open Educational Resources (OER)?
    • According to SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), “Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, text, software, and any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge” (SPARC.) OERs allow students free access to course materials. OERs also allow faculty to tailor the resources that they use for each class. 

  • What are the criteria for a TAP project?
    • TAP projects will be evaluated according to various criteria including cost saved and the number of students affected by the change to new course materials, as well as the specifics of the plan to develop and implement these course materials. Few previous TAP recipients projects here.

 

  • How do I apply to TAP?
    • TAP applications can be submitted here. A statement of support will be requested from the department chair or representative(s) that decide on course materials for the academic program in which the alternative course materials. The selection committee will solicit this statement via email after the TAP grant application has been received. 

 

  • Can I apply with a colleague or team?
    • Yes! Teams of two or more are eligible to apply! In the event of a team submission, team members will be required to sign an agreement outlining who is responsible for which course materials and how grant money will be allocated.

 

  • Can I apply for a TAP grant if I’m not a full time faculty member?
    • Yes! Any Rowan professor (including adjunct, ¾ time, and full time faculty) may apply for a TAP grant. All TAP grant applicants must receive a letter of support from the department chair or representative(s) that decide on course materials for the academic program in which the alternative course materials will be used. This letter will be requested via email upon receipt of the TAP application.  This letter can be sent to tap@rowan.edu.

 

  • Who will select TAP grant recipients?
    • TAP grant recipients will be selected by a committee that is made up of Rowan faculty and staff. 

 

  • How much is a TAP grant worth?
    • The 2019 TAP grant is for $2,000. Five grants are available.

 

  • What’s the timeline for TAP projects?
    • TAP Timeline for 2019-2020:
      • February 1, 2019 – Applications open
      • March 15, 2019 – Deadline for applications
      • Early to mid April - Grant recipients are notified
      • August 1, 2019 - Mid-point progress review
      • December 1, 2019 – Deadline for faculty project

 

  • Who is sponsoring TAP?
    • Rowan’s Textbook Alternative Program is proudly sponsored by Affordability Task Force, Faculty Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, Office of Career Advancement, Provost’s Office, Student Government Association, Rowan Alumni Association, Rowan University Libraries, Rowan University Senate, Student Affairs and the Division of Student Success.

 

  • How can I reduce the cost of my course materials without TAP? 
    • A Faculty Course Materials Survey (Spring 2017) highlighted a number of steps that Rowan faculty are already taking to reduce the cost of materials that they use. Some strategies include requiring only one textbook instead of several, allowing students to use older editions of textbooks, using the same book for multiple courses within a major, placing books on reserve in the library, using Open Educational Resources (OER), and making greater use of the library’s digital resources. Some faculty members have even developed their own alternate course materials!

 

  • Are there examples of work by other Rowan faculty?
    • There are two open education textbooks by Seth Bergmann in Rowan Digital Works. You can also view the course materials developed for Rowan 101: College Success here.

 

  • Who can I contact for more information?
    • Please submit any questions or comments regarding the Textbook Alternative Program to tap@rowan.edu. We would be happy to help!