Four Selected for Open Educational Resources Awards

From left to right: Cash Acrey, Justin Hunter, Matthew Mihalka and Jim Gigantino
University Relations

From left to right: Cash Acrey, Justin Hunter, Matthew Mihalka and Jim Gigantino

Twice per year, the University Libraries and Global Campus offer incentives for faculty who adopt, adapt or create open educational resources for their courses. This semester's recipients are Cash Acrey, Jim Gigantino, Justin Hunter and Matthew Mihalka. 

According to the Hewlett Foundation, "Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium — digital or otherwise — that reside in the public domain or have released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions." 

 Acrey is a clinical assistant professor of finance within the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He will be adapting the open textbook International Finance: Theory and Policy for FINN 3703: International Finance, a required course for all finance students. Acrey will update the text and add emphasis and clarity to areas where students struggle, based on his experience teaching the course. The textbook currently being used in the course, which sells for $240 new and $180 used, inadequately addresses these concepts. The conversion to an open textbook is anticipated to impact over 70 students each semester. The award for adaptation of open educational resources is $4,500. 

Gigantino is an associate professor of history within the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. He will be adopting open educational resources for HIST 2003: History of the American People to 1877, which is a university core elective. The cost of the textbook currently being used is $72 new. Gigantino anticipates that at least 155 students will be impacted by this decrease in textbook costs per semester. The award for adoption of open educational materials is $3,000. 

Mihalka is an instructor of musicology within Fulbright College, and Hunter is an administrative specialist and lecturer within the department of music. Together, they will create an open educational resource for MUSY 2003: Music in World Cultures, a university core elective in humanities with a potential enrollment of over 200 students per semester. The cost of the textbook currently used is $93 new, and it does not adequately meet the needs of the course. Mihalka and Hunter will create introductory text and listening guides based on their teaching approach, which focuses on topical rather than geographical explorations of world music. Their work will benefit other U of A music courses, as well as a broad audience of open educational resource adopters. Few open resources for teaching topical concepts in music currently exist. The award for creation of open educational resources is $7,500. 

"I've been encouraged by this round of applications, along with conversations I've had with campus faculty this semester," said Elaine Thornton, distance education librarian.  "U of A faculty members care about our students and want to see them succeed. They also realize what a significant financial burden costly textbooks can be. I am hopeful that the number of teaching faculty exploring OER as a viable choice will continue to grow. This option decreases the costs associated with attending university, and it also gives the instructor more control and flexibility over the content they assign."  

In addition to providing these awards, the University Libraries and Global Campus are partnering to offer the Open Education Southern Symposium this fall. The symposium, set for Oct. 1-2, will connect supporters of open education for presentations, lightning talks and panel discussions. Registration is limited to 100 participants. To submit a proposal, register or learn more, visit the symposium website

Questions regarding the Open Educational Resources Incentive Program may be sent to oer@uark.edu. 

Contacts

Elaine Thornton, distance education librarian
University Libraries
479-575-4856, met022@uark.edu

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

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