WSU Libraries’ Talea Anderson Earns University Seed Grant to Study Affordable Learning Project

WSU Libraries’ Talea Anderson was one of five faculty members to earn a Student Success Seed Grant from the university aimed at improving student retention and progress toward graduation.


Sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the seed grant competition generated 150 letters of intent and 41 full proposals. Anderson earned a $22,000 grant for her proposal, titled “Affordable Learning Project: Facilitating Adoption or Development of Open Education Resources and Low-Cost Resources for Use in Courses at WSU.”

According to Anderson’s proposal, the Affordable Learning Project addresses problems associated with the rising cost of educational materials in higher education. As reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook costs alone have risen by more than 1,000 percent since 1977, far exceeding the rate of inflation for housing and medical expenses over the same time period.

Grant funding will be distributed to WSU faculty members in 2016-2017 to facilitate adoption or development of open educational resources (OERs) and other low-cost resources for use in their courses. OERs are high-quality, openly accessible educational materials that are emerging as a strategy for lowering barriers to student academic success.

“Participants in this project will develop, adopt or adapt OERs and/or low-cost resources with support from WSU Libraries and WSU Academic Outreach and Innovation,” Anderson said. “This project has dual intentions—to implement affordable learning materials in courses at WSU and collect information about resulting student learning outcomes.”

As WSU Libraries’ scholarly communication librarian, Anderson provides support for open access initiatives at WSU and manages a digital repository of university scholarship and educational materials, the Research Exchange.

Key collaborators for the Affordable Learning Project are Rebecca Van de Vord, associate director of WSU Academic Outreach and Innovation; Theron Desrosier, learning design consultant for WSU Academic Outreach and Innovation/WSU Global Campus; Don McMahon, WSU College of Education assistant professor and director of WSU’s Assistive Technology Research and Development Lab; and Michael Caulfield, director of blended and networked learning, Academic Affairs, WSU Vancouver.