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Recipients of Open Education Resources Mini Grants announced

by Ryan Schoensee, UTSA Libraries    |    July 25, 2016

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The UTSA Libraries are pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Open Education Resources (OER) Mini GrantsAdolph Delgado, lecturer in health & kinesiology, Christina Frasier, lecturer in the Writing Core Program, Rafael Lopez-Mobilia, senior lecturer in physics & astronomy, Michael Miller, associate professor of sociology, and Jodi Peterson, lecturer in history.

Recipients were selected by committee based on a number of criteria, including successful experiences integrating low-cost or no-cost materials into their classes, and the potential impact of OER adoption on their students. They will each receive a $1500 mini-grant for travel or to purchase materials for their classes.

The OER project is a collaboration between UTSA librarians and faculty members to identify strategies and possible sources for open access or low-cost instructional materials. The mini-grant was designed to support adoption and adaption of open education resources into courses offered at UTSA, and grant recipients will be using their experience to delve deeper into these materials.

Every semester, Adolph Delgado scours the web to find no-cost resources to implement into his courses. These resources include TED Talks, online lectures and databases provided by the UTSA Libraries. He creates slides for students to access all of the information needed for his course in applied technology, and assigns projects in real-world settings for student groups to meet health workers in their field.

Realizing that the current custom edition textbook for her WRC 1013 Writing Composition class is expensive, heavy and difficult to resell, Christina Frasier became involved with her department’s textbook committee. She understands how purchasing textbooks can be an obstacle, and that students without the text are often less engaged. She recently lobbied with OpenStax to create a composition textbook to replace the one currently used by her department.

Rafael Lopez-Mobilia teaches algebra-based physics and is already in the habit of relying on notes and older textbook editions to make his classes more affordable. He will be reviewing the free college physics texts available through OpenStax with the hope of assigning readings and homework problems in a more unified way.

After seeing how big publisher textbooks were overpriced and getting more expensive every year, Michael Miller started to explore the free textbook landscape. He began using OpenStax’s Introduction to Sociology text in spring 2014, and has since used it to teach approximately 600 students, which represent a collective savings of at least $50,000.

Jodi Peterson was the first faculty member in the History Department to implement open educational resources into her U.S. history courses. She used OpenStax texts for all three of her spring 2016 history sections, totaling 500 students. Jodi especially appreciates the opportunity for her students to have mobile access to free learning materials.

“The cost of attending college continues to rise while student debt increases,” said DeeAnn Ivie, librarian. “Textbooks are an easy win in the fight because, in many cases, their associated costs unnecessarily add to student debt.”

According to a report by the United States Public Interest Research Group, 65% of students have decided against buying a textbook because it was too expensive, and of that percentage, 94% had concerns that doing so would affect their course grade.

“Open educational resources allow for a more engaged classroom,” says Ivie. “They reduce costs, but they also contribute to a decrease in students dropping and failing courses.”

View the original story on the UTSA Libraries website:

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