Rich Media Textbook Initiative

A collaboration among faculty, FLITE, Media Production, and FCTL

Ferris State University’s Library for Information, Technology, and Education (FLITE), Media Production, and Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning (FCTL) are pleased to announce the Rich Media Textbook Initiative.  This Initiative is a collaborative effort among faculty, students (if appropriate), FLITE, Media Production, and FCTL that seeks to achieve the following goal:

Develop a robust, sustainable, media rich, and free-to-students alternative to the traditional high-cost textbook that supports students in their achievement of learning outcomes of at least one high-enrollment course.

We further describe the Initiative through a series of responses to questions that we anticipate you may have.  If we neglected to answer any question or questions that you have, please contact Scott Garrison, Steve Cox, or Todd Stanislav at:

            Scott: or 231.591.3728

            Steve: or 231.591.2721

            Todd: or 231.591.3541

Why are you launching this initiative?

There are three interconnected and compelling reasons: (1) The continued, rapidly rising cost of student textbooks; (2) The rising rate and level of student indebtedness associated with obtaining a college degree; and (3) The changing nature and emerging models of textbooks that provide new options to faculty and students.

Why is it called the Rich Media Textbook Initiative?

We use the phrase “rich media” to refer to the myriad types of content that can be incorporated into the textbook alternative to support students in achieving course outcomes.  Such types of content include textual materials, images, video, podcasts, scholarly works, and other learning objects that are available to students and faculty.

Am I eligible to participate?

We seek faculty who teach high-enrollment (45 or more students) courses and/or courses with high textbook cost (costs exceeding $100).  We seek faculty who are eager to engage their time, energy, and creativity in a collaborative effort to achieve the goal described above.  Both tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty alike are invited to participate.

What makes this a collaborative effort?

We recognize that creating a robust and sustainable alternative to the traditional textbook is a very significant undertaking.  To assist faculty in this effort:

  • FCTL staff -- especially its Instructional Designer (Julie Rowan) and Instructional Technologists (Jackie Hughes and Andrew Peterson) -- will devote time and effort toward this initiative.  Julie’s expertise can help inform the design of both the alternative textbook itself and the intended learning experiences of students that are connected to the textbook.  Jackie and Andrew can provide expert guidance and assistance in integrating rich media content into the alternative textbook.
  • FLITE Librarians: Knowing where to find content of various types (e.g., text, simulations, tutorials, images, etc.) and ensuring, when appropriate, permissions to use content are among the ways that our FLITE Librarians will provide assistance.
  • Media Production staff will provide expertise in the design, development, implementation, and distribution of media-related resources.
  • Student Intern(s):  Student interns with expertise in, for example, graphic design or digital media creation will be available to work closely with the collaborating team.


Are there other forms of support available?

The short answer is, “Yes!”  We have two types of other support available to faculty members who succeed in achieving the goal of this Initiative: stipends and travel grants.

Stipends: Faculty members who are not part of a team (see below) are eligible to receive a stipend of $3,200, plus benefits.  Each faculty member who is part of a team is eligible to receive a stipend of $1,800, plus benefits.

Travel grants: All faculty members will be eligible to receive a Timme Travel Grant of $850 to present this work at a conference, symposium, etc.

How many faculty members can you support?

We will support two individual faculty members who teach different courses or one individual faculty member and one team of up to five faculty members who teach a multi-section course during the first year of this Initiative.   Both tenure-track and nontenure-track faculty are invited to participate in the Initiative.

What is the timeframe for the Initiative?

Ideally, we would like to begin in Summer 2013.  We hope this is a time when participating faculty can devote significant attention and time to the work.  The collaborating members of the team are eager to begin this summer, too!

How is the Rich Media Textbook Initiative funded?

In this first year, the Initiative is funded by FLITE, Media Production, and FCTL.

How will you know if the Initiative is successful?

We will consider the Initiative a success when (a) the goal mentioned previously has been achieved; (b) the rich media textbook alternative is used by students; and (c) students experience a cost savings by using the rich media textbook alternative.

How do I apply to participate?

We have developed a 1-page application that is provided here (PDF 108KB) (Word 18KB).