Four Faculty Receive Awards for Reducing Student Textbook Costs

From left: Luis Restrepo, Julio Gea-Banacloche, Daniel Barth and Adam Rex Pope
Photos by University Relations or Submitted

From left: Luis Restrepo, Julio Gea-Banacloche, Daniel Barth and Adam Rex Pope

The University Libraries and Global Campus offer incentives to faculty each semester of $3,000 to adopt open access course materials or $7,500 to create open access course materials. This semester's recipients of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Awards are Daniel Barth, Julio Gea-Banacloche, Adam Rex Pope and Luis Restrepo.

Open educational resources promote the use of textbooks and other materials for free or at a minimal cost. By collaborating to create high-quality shared texts, the academic community can dramatically lower the cost of textbooks and class materials for the students they teach.

Daniel Barth, clinical assistant professor of STEM education for the College of Education and Health Professions, received an award for his Astronomy for Educators classes (STEM 4104 and STEM 4033). He plans to convert his textbook and class materials into an open access textbook that can be made available to any institution training K-12 teachers, as well as to the teachers, themselves. The focus of the text is to bring space science and astronomy to the classroom, much like the other sciences. He proposes low cost, activity-based science lessons for the average classroom with advanced activities available for students in grades 7-12. The textbook will benefit U of A students as they study to become K-12 teachers, and it will also be useful for educators nationwide.

Julio Gea-Banacloche, professor and chair of the Department of Physics in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, received an award for his University Physics I classes (PHYS 2054 and PHYS 2054H). He will replace the current University Physics I textbook with an open access textbook based on his notes, teaching experience and available open access materials. This class is offered to over 1,000 students annually, and replacement of the textbook could mean an annual savings of $175,000 for U of A students.

Adam Rex Pope, visiting assistant professor for the Department of English in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, received an award for his Technical and Report Writing course (ENGL 3053). After discovering that available textbooks are not only costly but also aimed at the pedagogue rather than the practitioner, he proposes to create a textbook of practical methodologies for technical writing. An open textbook can be edited as needed in the future, which would allow for greater emphasis on current topics, such as data visualization. The class serves 275 students per year, and the current textbook costs $85. The open textbook could save students $23,375 annually.

Luis Restrepo, professor for the Department of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, received an award for his survey course, Colonial Latin American Literature and Culture (SPAN 5253). The course covers three centuries of work, and students have previously been required to purchase at least six books for $85 total. This funding will allow Restrepo to identify and provide open access electronic books for this course.

Award recipients are required to attend a planning session with a librarian and an instructional designer. Librarians will help faculty search for open access materials and navigate copyright issues. Instructional designers will help faculty organize developed or curated resources, remix and adapt chosen textbooks, check materials for accessibility and compliance, and assist in creating supplemental learning components and materials if needed.

Faculty who are interested in applying can view the selection criteria, scoring rubric and application form on the Libraries' Open Educational Resources webpage or email oer@uark.edu for more information. 

Contacts

Lora Lennertz, director for Academic and Research Services
University Libraries
479-575-5545, lennertz@uark.edu

Kelsey Lovewell Lippard, public relations coordinator
University Libraries
479-575-7311, klovewel@uark.edu

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