Call for Proposals: Seeking Chapter for OER Textbook

The Open Learning & Teaching Collaborative and the Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Plymouth State University seek a chapter about the history of disciplinarity for an open textbook used in an introductory Interdisciplinary Studies course.

The open textbook Cluster Learning: A Springboard for Interdisciplinary, Networked, and Individualized Education is a revision and development of Interdisciplinary Studies: A Connected Learning Approach, which we have used for many years. Program changes as well as developments in higher education make this an ideal moment to update, streamline, and strengthen our course materials.

We have succeeded in finding good, openly-licensed materials for other topics that are important for our students to understand, but we have found nothing openly-licensed — and virtually nothing that is copyrighted — that truly suits our needs for this chapter on disciplines and disciplinarity. Therefore, we will commission a writer for an original chapter.

What we seek

A writer who is willing to develop an openly-licensed chapter of 1,500-3,000 words for our new textbook. The chapter will be about the meaning and history of disciplinarity (see below for details). The audience for this textbook is undergraduate students of various levels of experience and knowledge, most of whom have no background in this material. The chapter must be well researched, with good references for more information, but we do not seek something filled with academic jargon. Clear writing and an engaging voice will be a priority. Additionally, the chapter may include multimedia material, as it is in an online textbook. The writer must be willing to have their work licensed via Creative Commons with a license no more restrictive than Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike. (The book as a whole is Attribution only, but individual chapters may be more restrictive.)

We expect to work through multiple drafts of this chapter with the writer, and we would especially enjoy having the writer available for consultations with students in the fall of 2021, when we will first be using this textbook.

In choosing the writer, we will give special consideration to graduate students and to adjunct faculty. We are also willing to accept proposals from advanced undergraduate students.

Deadline: We would expect to have a first draft available by August 15, 2021, unless there is reason to arrange otherwise. Deadlines for subsequent drafts will be arranged with the writer.

Payment: $500, with payment upon acceptance of the proposal.


There is, of course, no easy answer to what disciplinarity is or where it came from. That’s what makes this chapter so exciting! Our students are used to having disciplines handed to them, and they have rarely questioned what disciplinary borders are and who creates them. If disciplines are visible to them at all, they are visible as majors. We want to start from there and then move outward, helping our students think more critically and comprehensively about disciplinarity. We want them to have a good sense of the basic concepts, and to gain a sense of disciplines as having a history — disciplines are not something eternal, but rather something created over time. As such, they are ever-changing and disputed.

We would expect this chapter to be informed by the history of epistemology as well as the history of education (especially higher education), but we absolutely do not want it to be a dull presentation of philosophy or history. Given the length limitations, there is no way to present the topic in great depth, but we do not need that. What we need is for students to have their curiosity piqued and then to know how to find more information if they want it. Keywords and references to other research will be essential.

For an example of what we have used in the past, see this chapter from Interdisciplinary Studies: A Connected Approach. We do not seek a simple revision of that chapter, which was never one of our more successful ones. Instead, we want a new chapter that can replace the old one, but one that also gives us a structure, point of view, and information that are all more richly informed and more engagingly presented. We are especially excited to be surprised!

Submission of proposal

If you would like to apply to write this chapter, please submit the following materials in the form below. The deadline to submit is May 14th.

  1. A brief cover letter explaining your background and why you want to write this chapter. Help us become excited by your excitement to do this work!
  2. A writing sample Anything is welcome, but what we seek here is a way to understand your skills (or potential skills) at communicating with our target audience.
  3. An outline or summary of what you think this chapter can be. This should be 250-500 words (though we won’t disqualify slightly longer).

If you have questions, you may contact Interdisciplinary Studies Director, Dr. Matthew Cheney, at

  • Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx.
    Allowable file types: PDF, DOC, DOCX
  • Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx.
    Allowable files types: PDF, DOC, DOCX
  • Accepted file types: pdf, doc, docx.
    Allowable file types: PDF, DOC, DOCX
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