Nine Faculty Projects Selected for Course Materials Conversion Funding

via Unsplash
James Sutton

via Unsplash

Nine new projects were selected for the Spring 2021 semester's Open Educational Resources Course Materials Conversion program and will receive funding from the U of A's Open Educational Resources Team and Campus Advisory Group. For the first time, the Associated Student Government has also contributed to this endeavor.  

"We are delighted to have ASG join the Libraries and Global Campus in providing the additional financial support needed to make affordable, cost-free course materials possible for more University of Arkansas students," said Elaine Thornton, open education and distance learning librarian. "Avery Hasten, the 2020-2021 ASG director of open education, has been an important contributor to our work this year and a tireless advocate for increasing funding for OER. In addition, her work leading ASG to legislate funding has been invaluable. I am looking forward to working closely with our new faculty participants to launch their projects so that more students will have the option of enrolling in courses with no textbook costs or inclusive access automatic/billing course fees." 

Each project below will include open educational resources (OER) that are publicly available online. The following candidates were selected: 

Donia Timby, Human Environmental Sciences
Course: HDFS 3453 Parenting and Family Dynamics

Timby will adopt the open textbook Parenting and Family Diversity Issues and create new slides, ancillaries and assessments. The goal is to create a more inclusive learning environment for each of the 60 students who typically enroll in this course each semester. The open educational resources will replace a textbook that retails for $75-$100.  

Ches Jones, Public Health  
Course: PBHL 4613 Principles of Epidemiology

Jones will adopt the open textbook, Foundations of Epidemiology, and create new slides, ancillaries and assessments. The open textbook will replace the current textbook, which sells for $107-$143. An estimated 150-200 students in the online, on-campus and honors sections will benefit each year.

Rob Wells, Journalism
Courses: JOUR 5003 Advanced Reporting, JOUR 405V Specialized Journalism Seminar, JOUR 5283 Data Journalism and JOUR 4083 Data Journalism

Wells will create an open-data journalism textbook for these courses and the other programs, groups and departments with which he partners, including political science, communication, business and biomedical engineering. The textbook will provide a publicly accessible resource for anyone seeking information on this topic. The Arkansas COVID project will be a featured example in the textbook, and student collaborators will be acknowledged in the text.

Nancy Harris Buckley, Human Environmental Sciences
Course: NUTR 4403 Recipe Modification and NUTR 4401L 

Buckley will create an open textbook and laboratory manual for this core course in the new Food, Nutrition and Health degree program. This resource will focus on developing and enhancing recipes to improve nutritional quality and aid in disease management. The open textbook will also benefit individuals outside of the university who work in extension and community and public health professions. 

Wendy McBride, English Language and Cultural Studies 
Courses: ELAC 5033 Research Writing in the Social Sciences and ELAC 5043 Research Writing in STEM Fields

McBride will adapt and remix several openly licensed textbooks to create a resource for the international graduate students she teaches. This new resource will replace two textbooks and will better meet the needs of these students and courses. 

Anthony Justin Barnum, Sociology & Criminology 
Course: SOCI 4603 Environmental Sociology

Barnum will adopt open educational resources for this new sociology course that examines the relationship between the environment and society. The course explores environmental racism and classism, pollution, sustainability and environmental refugees.  

Edvan Brito, World Languages, Literatures and Cultures 
Courses: PORT 1003 Elementary Portuguese I and PORT 1013 Elementary Portuguese II

Brito will adopt the open textbook Bate-Papo: An Introduction to Portuguese. His goal is to eliminate the $160 textbook cost for Portuguese language students, making the course more accessible for diverse populations of students.    

Grant Drawve and Katie Ratcliff, Sociology & Criminology 
Courses: CRIM 3413 Introduction to Secondary Data and CRIM 4013 Data Visualization and Spatial Analysis of Social Data

Drawve and Ratcliff will create an open textbook to support this sequence of data and visualization courses that introduces students to public data related to crime and social justice. The goal is to increase students' abilities to tell stories with data. The creation of this resource also supports the Crime and Security Data Analytics Lab's commitment to openness and community outreach. 

Leigh Southward and Laurie Apple, Human Environmental Sciences 
Course: AMPD 2063 Quality Assessment of Apparel

Southward and Apple will create a textbook, exercises and video content to replace the two textbooks currently used in the course. The current cost of the two assigned textbooks is $187. The new open textbook will eliminate this cost for students.


Elaine Thornton, open education and distance learning librarian
University Libraries

Kelsey Lovewell Lippard, director of public relations
University Libraries


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