EKU faculty receive funding to develop zero textbook cost courses

The Eastern Kentucky University Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Open Textbook Resources has announced $23,000 in grant funding to three departments and four individual faculty who submitted proposals to develop zero textbook cost courses.

According to a press release by EKU, this incentive grant program was made possible by an EKU Board of Regents Innovation Grant and will be implemented with ongoing technical and staff support provided by EKU Libraries.

“Students in our region often have difficulty affording textbooks,” James Maples, one of the grant recipients, said in a press release. “Utilizing high-quality OERs (Open Educational Resources) removes some of the financial burden of getting a degree.” 

Maples is being awarded $2,000 to adapt existing OERs and library resources for two of his courses, SOC 131 – Intro to Sociology and SOC 395 – Research Methods. Students in these courses will save about $11,000 a year.

According to the press release, Jill Parrott and Dominic Ashby submitted a proposal on behalf of the English Department’s First Year Writing program, which is being awarded $5,000 to create a new open textbook for all sections of ENG 101 – Reading, Writing, and Rhetoric. More than 2,000 students take this course every year, and providing an open textbook will save EKU students more than $160,000 annually.

Ogechi Anyanwu also submitted a proposal on behalf of African and African American Studies, which is being awarded to create a new open textbook for all sections of AFA 201 – The African Experience, and to update their existing open textbook for AFA 202 – The African American Experience.

Lisa Day submitted a proposal on behalf of Appalachian Studies, which is being awarded $5,000 to develop a new open textbook for all sections of APP 200 – Introduction to Appalachia. According to the press release, this book will save EKU students about $79,000 annually.

David Stumbo is being awarded $4,000 to create a new OER for his course OSH 366 – Hazard Identification and Control. According to EKU, this OER will save EKU students about $7,000 per year and will be the only OER on this topic.

Erin Stevenson is being awarded $1,000 to adapt existing OERs and library resources for SWK 340 – Social Work Research 1. Students in this course will save about $20,000 a year.

Ni Wang is being awarded $1,000 to adapt existing OERs and library resources for AEM 195 – Computer Aided Drafting. According to EKU, her students will save about $5,000 per year.

The committee determined the grant awards based on average enrollment per year for each course, the cost of the textbook currently being used in the course and the total approximate savings for students.

As a result of this first round of faculty members transitioning their classes’ required readings to openly available or library resources, approximately 4,500 EKU students will save a combined $333,000 each year.

The average textbook costs $81 for these classes. The most expensive textbook is $134 and the least expensive is $45.

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