COMPSAC 2021 OER Student Contest


pdf version


Open Education Resources (OER) are publicly and permanently available Web-based entities that can be used for teaching and learning. Examples include websites, online texts or manuals, videos, executable simulations, eLearning course modules, or even full, online courses. Many instructors around the world use OERs to supplement their teaching; students can use OERs to supplement their classroom learning.

The IEEE Computer Society’s Computers, Software, and Applications (COMPSAC) Conference is sponsoring an OER Competition to encourage undergraduate students to create OERs that i) instructors of Computer Science and Information Systems might incorporate into their college/university courses, or ii) students might use as supplementary learning materials.

Students wishing to enter this competition will create an OER and submit to THE COMPETITION its hyperlink and descriptive documentation that will be judged by a team of senior academic judges who will select the finalists. Submissions must be in English. Students are encouraged to work in teams.


Participants must compete as part of a team. Teams are comprised of between 1 and 4 undergraduate students. (A “team” with one member is permitted.) Graduate students are not eligible. All team members must be undergraduate students over the age of 18 and registered in their college/university at the time of the team’s submission. Team members registered at one or more undergraduate institutions must declare one institution at the time of submission of the OER. A team member can participate in only one OER submission at an annual conference.

In order to participate in THE COMPETITION, a team must have (at least) one faculty member/instructor endorse the OER. The endorser’s identity and endorsement comments must be provided at the time of submission of the contest application. The faculty member endorser(s) must be a member of at least one team member’s college/university.


Teams must submit an original or redeveloped OER to this competition; the work must be that of the team as supervised or authenticated by an instructor/endorser. The authenticator’s approval for submission is required. If the submission is a redeveloped OER, the team must provide complete attribution of the original, including its URL, declared license, and an explanation of how and why the OER submitted to the contest is significantly different than the original.

A two-step submission process is required for a team to register for THE COMPETITION.
Step 1 provides the judges with a description of and a hyperlink to the OER. Step 2 provides the judges with information about the team members and the faculty endorser(s).

Submitted OERs must have been created/developed since August 1, 2018, reside and be sustained on a server on the World Wide Web, not reside behind a firewall, and be publicly accessible to anyone surfing the WWW. THE COMPETITION does not download or host the OER.

The two-step procedure, which must be carried out in this order is as follows:

Step 1. Register the OER. Register the OER in the MERLOT digital repository. (Instructions can be found here.) In this step all team members will join the MERLOT community as “MERLOT Members.” As MERLOT Members they are authorized to submit descriptive metadata about their (or any) OER to the MERLOT system. Those metadata include the URL hyperlink to the actual OER Web location. These metadata are used by THE COMPETITION judges to access the Web-based OER, and to assess its quality. MERLOT will generate a hyperlink to the Material Detail Page in its system; that page contains all the metadata provided by the team. (Note that the OER must be resident and viewable/accessible on a publicly available server.)

Step 2. Submit Application. Complete the contest application form here. Via this step, team members, endorser(s), and the OER to be judged are registered for THE COMPETITION. Team members and endorsers provide additional about themselves as well as a description of the submitted OER.

All contest submissions must be appropriate for teaching or learning in college/university level Computer Science or Information Technology curricula. All submissions will require and be given, through the MERLOT submission process, the Creative Commons CC BY license. That is, they will become available to others on the World Wide Web, to reuse and/or modify, free of cost. Anyone else who subsequently discovers the contest submission and modifies/reuses it will be prohibited from using the OER in any commercial manner.

THE COMPETITION retains the right to review the contestants’ submissions with tools and techniques to detect acts of plagiarism. THE COMPETITION reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to disqualify any team that is identified (during or after THE COMPETITION) for inappropriate collaboration, inappropriate reuse of material, and/or failing to meet the requirements described by THE COMPETITION’s Regulations and Rules.

THE COMPETITION reserves the right to cancel THE COMPETITION at any time. Should this occur, all submissions made up to the time of cancellation will remain in the MERLOT repository subject to MERLOT Acceptable Use Policies which can be found at:

THE COMPETITION has no jurisdiction over the MERLOT Acceptable Use Policy and cannot be held responsible for any matters related to that policy and THE COMPETITION.


  1. First Prize: $1000/team + free conference registration including access to all presentations and papers for every team member ($450 value for each)
  2. Second Prize: $500/team + free access to all online presentations and papers for every team member ($200 value for each)
  3. Third Prize: $250/team + free access to all online plenary sessions for every team member ($50 value for each)
  4. Honorable Mentions (up to 10 Teams): free access to all online keynote plenary sessions for every team member
  5. First 50 qualifying submissions: free access to select plenary sessions for every team member

These prizes will be awarded unless they are deemed void where prohibited by law. Entrants understand that THE COMPETITION may substitute or withhold prizes as required by law.

IEEE requires that cash award recipients will be asked to complete either a W8 form for those that live outside of the United States, or a W9 form for those that live in the United States. Forms will be provided to the award receipts. Awards will be issued via bank wire transfer to one designated team award winner. Winners must provide banking wire instructions and account details to receive the cash awards.

(Teams affected by OFAC policies who are interested in competing in THE COMPETITION may still be eligible to compete but understand that access to prizes may be modified or removed by law.)


The official results will be communicated on or about May 15, 2021. Winning team members will be contacted by THE COMPETITION directly.

  1. RULES


THE COMPETITION may, within its sole discretion, require each member of each prize winning team sign and return an affidavit of eligibility and liability and publicity release in which each winning member consents to the use of his or her name, age, hometown, and photo by THE COMPETITION for advertising and promotional purposes, without any additional compensation, wherever lawful, as a precondition to award of a prize. If any prize-winning team member fails to sign and return the requested affidavit of eligibility and liability/public release as requested by THE COMPETITION, that team member and their team may be disqualified, and the prize be forfeited. If an entire team fails to sign and return the requested affidavits of eligibility and liability/public release as requested by THE COMPETITION, an alternate winning team may be chosen. THE COMPETITION may also require all members of the winning teams to assign all rights, subject to the Creative Commons CC By license, in any chosen submission, to THE COMPETITION as a precondition to the award of a prize. If any prize winner fails to assign such rights in the selected submissions to THE COMPETITION, the winning team may be disqualified, and their prize may thereafter be awarded to an alternate winner from the remaining valid entries. All prizes must be claimed within one calendar year of the competition or they will be forfeit.

Team members must develop the OER without assistance from other people. Judges will review and assess submissions based on i) quality, ii) learning effectiveness, iii) innovativeness, iv) uniqueness, v) ease of use, etc. Please note that the intent and spirit of the competition is for the students, not others, to develop the OER. Instructors acting as endorsers must limit their level of support and must not contribute to development of the OER. In no case will work by an endorser on behalf of a competitor be allowed. THE COMPETITION reserves the right to analyze all submissions for plagiarism and disqualify any team at its sole discretion if it is deemed that the team’s work is not its own. If a ‘reused’ or modified OER is submitted per the definition of an OER, judges will deem whether the degree and kinds of modifications are sufficient to warrant inclusion of the submission in the judging. Judges’ written reviews and assessments will be confidential, and their decisions will be final.

No submissions will be returned. All submissions become the property of THE COMPETITION. By entering, all participants consent to the use by THE COMPETITION of all the information provided in the entries for marketing or sales promotion purposes without any attribution, identification, right of review, or compensation. All entrants agree to release and hold harmless THE COMPETITION and its officers, directors, employees and agents from and against any claim or cause of action arising out of participation in THE COMPETITION. By registering for THE COMPETITION, entrants acknowledge and agree that any personal information that they provided will be maintained in accordance with IEEE’s Privacy Policy, which can be found at:

Entrants agree that any photographs submitted to THE COMPETITION or posted by entrants on social media in connection with THE COMPETITION may be used by THE COMPETITION for marketing or sales promotion purposes without any attribution, identification, right of review, or compensation.


Each entrant agrees that: i) any and all disputes, claims, and causes of action arising out of or in connection with THE COMPETITION, or any prizes awarded, shall be resolved individually, without resorting to any form of class action, pursuant to arbitration in Newark, New Jersey, conducted under the commercial arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association then in effect, ii) any and all claims, judgments and awards shall be limited to actual out-of-pocket costs incurred, including costs associated with entering THE COMPETITION, but in no event attorneys’ fees; and iii) under no circumstances will any entrant be permitted to obtain awards for, and entrant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental, and consequential damages, and any other damages, other than for actual out-of-pocket expenses, and any and all rights to have damages multiplied or otherwise increased. All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation, and enforceability of these official rules, or the rights and obligations of entrant and THE COMPETITION in connection with THE COMPETITION, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the laws of the State of New Jersey, without giving effect to any choice of law or conflict of law, rules or provisions (whether of the State of New Jersey or any other jurisdiction) that would cause the application of the laws of any jurisdiction other than the State of New Jersey. THE COMPETITION is not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of any publicly made materials related to THE COMPETITION or administration of THE COMPETITION or in the announcement of the prizes.


By participating in THE COMPETITION, participants agree to abide by the terms and conditions as established by THE COMPETITION. THE COMPETITION reserves the right to qualify all submissions and to reject any submissions that do not meet the requirements for participation as established by THE COMPETITION.


THE COMPETITION assumes no responsibility for computer system, hardware, software or program malfunctions or other errors, failures, delayed computer transactions or network connections that are human or technical in nature, or for damaged, lost, late, illegible or misdirected entries or submissions; technical, hardware, software, electronic or telephone failures of any kind; lost or unavailable network connections; fraudulent, incomplete, garbled or delayed computer transmissions whether caused by THE COMPETITION, the users, or by any of the equipment or programming associated with or utilized in THE COMPETITION; or by any technical or human error that may occur in the processing of submissions or downloading, that may limit, delay or prevent an entrant’s ability to participate in THE COMPETITION.

THE COMPETITION reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to alter, cancel or suspend THE COMPETITION and award prizes from the entries received up to the time of termination or suspension should virus, bugs or other causes beyond THE COMPETITION’s control, unauthorized human intervention, malfunction, computer problems, phone lines or network hardware or software malfunction, which, in the sole opinion of THE COMPETITION, corrupt, compromise or materially affect the administration, fairness, security of THE COMPETITION or proper submission of entries. THE COMPETITION is not liable for any loss, injury or damage caused, whether directly or indirectly, in whole or in part, from downloading data or otherwise participating in THE COMPETITION.