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Innovation and Incubator Grants from the University System of Georgia

Open Education Resource: World Literature I Textbook

University of North Georgia


Grant Type: 
Project Lead: 
Bonnie J. (BJ) Robinson, Ph. D.
Professor of English, Director, University Press of North Georgia
Other team members: 

Deborah Prosser, Ph.D., Dean of Libraries,, phone: 678/717-3466

Project Overview: 

This project will produce an open World Literature I textbook for use by students throughout the USG. This no-cost electronic option will replace the costly and underutilized Norton Anthology currently in typical use for this course. A low-cost print on demand version will also be available for students who prefer a paper text.

Project Description: 

Impact on Completion:

Availability of a low or no cost text will decrease the cost of taking this course and will increase the likelihood of success in this course and progression to completion. These positive effects will be available for students throughout the USG, including those who take this course through eCore.

Potential Lessons Learned:

In the course sections piloting the new OER text, lessons will be learned about choosing the appropriate length of selections, making the selections appeal to students and providing appropriate additional resources for insight and context rather than including resources that are more appropriate for advanced level courses.

Concept Description

Area of Need:
Textbook offerings in World Literature Anthologies have become unwieldy and expensive. A single volume of the six-volume set that Bedford produces costs over forty dollars and runs to 1,500 pages in length. Employing only three such for a World Literature I offering would place the student in the position of purchasing nearly 5,000 pages for more than $120. To take full advantage of these books during a given semester, the student would be required to read in excess of 180 pages per class meeting or 540 pages each week, every week. The First-year Student Time Management Calculator ( asserts that college-level students can read between 6 and 50 pages per hour, meaning that the current trend in World Literature Anthologies requires up to 30 hours of reading preparation for every class meeting or three out of every five hours that pass from one class meeting to the next.

Furthermore, current anthologies include pages-long introductions to each work that frequently overburden the student readers with the editorial staff's individual interpretations and theoretical prejudices by which the literature is to be ‘understood.' Worse, these introductions often reveal the full story in an ersatz SparkNotes motif that silently encourages students not to read the literature itself. We propose to include only the barest necessary information regarding date of composition, significant points concerning authorship, and what other factual (avoiding interpretive) information that may be required to place the work in its social and cultural context. This format will require students to read the actual works to be able to know the plot and other features of the texts.

Potential Impact:
The availability of a low or no cost text will decrease the cost of taking this course and will increase the likelihood of success in this course and progression to completion. These positive effects will be available for students throughout the USG, including those who take this course through eCore.

The University Press of North Georgia (UPNG), in conjunction with the USG, recently developed an open text for American History. It is currently in use for all eCore sections and many traditional classrooms in USG institutions. During the Fall Semester of 2013 (the first time the text was widely available), students saved a total of $28,700. As the text is adopted by more instructors across the state, the savings will grow. Since this is a one-time expenditure to develop the text, the savings for our students will continue to accrue based on the comparatively modest investment of $25,000. One can see the value of this project to decrease the cost of education for our students.

By decreasing both the cost of education and the reading burden for students while maintaining and enhancing the learning objectives associated with the World Literature I course, the project will support students in having the materials they need to successfully complete the course at no or low cost. This will enhance student success and college completion by addressing both economic and time management issues. Economic challenges are the number one reason students drop out, stop out or otherwise fail to earn a degree in a reasonable time frame. With many students burdened with hours spent working to support the cost of their education, the time savings of omitting the extraneous and biased commentary from the text will also assist in the retention and completion agenda since using the additional reading materials overwhelms students and not using what they have paid for frustrates them. This new text will be "just right" for the introductory course, rather than including materials that would be needed for an upper level course.

If students use the no cost electronic version, each one enrolled in World Literature I will save $120. The number of students reaping the benefits of this project at the University of North Georgia will be approximately 323 per semester, giving us a total savings of $38,760 per semester. Since the text will also be adopted by eCore, additional student savings will accrue there as well.

Potential Lessons Learned:
In the course sections piloting the new OER text, lessons will be learned about choosing the appropriate length of selections, making the selections appeal to students and providing additional resources for insight and context. As the USG continues to develop Open Education Resources for core courses, the affordability of a college education is improved and the helpfulness and usability of these resources is enhanced. With each iteration of the development and adoption cycle, the pilot stage provides evidence based feedback on ways to improve the content of the open texts made available through this means to USG students. The documented results of this project will be available to guide the production of additional open anthologies for use in literature survey courses, modern language courses and advanced literature courses.

This project supports the USG's commitment to making college more affordable and more accessible for all of our students.


Project Plan


The University Press of North Georgia will develop, design, produce, and disseminate an open textbook for World Literature I. The high cost of college textbooks continues to be a financial barrier for many students in achieving higher education. This project will support collaborative efforts of the University Press of North Georgia (UPNG) and faculty from the University of North Georgia to develop a free, openly licensed textbook that can be used across institutions within the University System of Georgia. The participants will locate appropriate resources, particularly texts, and author supplemental material including but not limited to the following: historical timelines, maps, illustrations, thematic clusters, historical contexts, biographies, key terms, discussion questions, and supporting assignments. Project outcomes will lower textbook costs for students and their families.

Institutional Responsibilities:

  • Produce one open textbook for English 2111, World Literature 1.
  • Develop a timeline that ensures sufficient time for the textbook development.
  • Create a textbook proposal
  • Provide editorial review and editing, production (layout and design), graphic design, peer review processes, and marketing.
  • Provide a functional process and method for making a print version of the textbook available by request.
  • Provide procedures and guidelines for revising completed projects.

Project Workflow:

  1. Create Textbook Proposal
  2. Content Development
  3. Instructional Design Review
  4. Editorial Review
  5. Layout and Design
  6. Peer Review (6-8 weeks)
  7. Final Production
  8. Marketing


TABLE 1 – Detailed Timeline


Major Milestone

June 1, 2014

Convene Team for Kickoff Meeting and Implementation of Project Activities

October 6, 2014

Table of Contents and Author Assignments Due

November 3, 2014

First Chapters/Ancillary Materials submitted for Instructional Design Review

March 3, 2015

Final Date for Faculty to Submit Content

Ongoing as each section is completed

Peer Review Begins

May 1, 2015

Peer Review Ends

May 15, 2015

Final Revisions Due

May 31, 2015

Final Production Date


Logic Model







  • 2 English Faculty
  • UPNG: 1 Faculty, Staff & Students
  • Library Faculty


  • Select Texts & Supplemental Materials (Content Development)
  • Instructional Design
  • Peer Review
  • Editing & Revisions
  • Production
  • Adoption of Text for eCore & USG campuses
  • Peer Reviewed, High Quality, No Cost Open Textbook for USG's World Literature I Course


  • World Literature I Course More Affordable & Accessible for Students


  • Increased Retention and Graduation Rates due to Improved Affordability


Project Budget and Evaluation Plan


Budget to Publish an Open Access Textbook


Budget Narrative

Curriculum Selection & Development: One Course Release for each of the two English Department faculty members who are developing this Open Education Resource

$ 12,000

Two course releases for two English Department faculty members for two semesters (2 adjunct instructors to provide English Department course release time for English Department faculty members x 1 course/semester @ $3,000/course x 2 semesters = $12,000)

Copyright Research: Finding open materials for the anthology

$ 7,729

Library staff will dedicate 0.25 FTE/calendar year to research copyright status of materials selected for the anthology – 0.25 FTE x $30,763/calendar year x 0.75/calendar year (9 months) = $5,768 + fringe benefits ($5,768 x 34% = $1,961); $5,768 + $1,961 = $7,729

Editorial Review: University Press of North Georgia (UPNG) edits the manuscript content. Includes instructional design components (outlines, questions, etc.)

$ 3,000

150 hours at $20/hour = $3,000 (Note: $20/hour rate is half of standard fee for this type of editing)

Copyediting: UPNG improves the formatting, style, and accuracy of the manuscript, preparing it for publication.

$ 1,000

(Students) 25 hours at $40/hour = $1,000 (Note: $40/hour rate is the low end of standard copyediting fees)

Design: UPNG visually synthesizes and formats the manuscript's style and content into a coherent whole

$ 500

(Students) 10 hours at $50/hour = $500 (Note: $50/hour is at the low end of standard design fees)

Proofing: UPNG detects and corrects any errors in the print-ready galley proof and pdf of the text

$ 500

(Students) 20 hours at $25/hour = $500 ($25/hour is at the low end of standard proofing fees)

ISBN: the international standard book number uniquely identifies the textbook to allow for more efficient marketing

$ 200



$ 24,929


A comprehensive evaluation plan will assess the impact of project implementation strategies during the pilot adoption stage at the University of North Georgia. Faculty and students will evaluate the effectiveness of the format and resources via questionnaires and summative assessments. The amount of cost savings for students will be calculated based on enrollment data for all 8 sections of the course.