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Published January 29, 2024
University of Wyoming Libraries recently awarded alternative textbook grants to five faculty members to implement open educational resources (OER) in their classes this spring.
The open course materials and textbooks resulting from the grants are projected to save more than 1,000 UW students more than $144,000 per semester. Grants are awarded to instructors who adopt, adapt or create new open textbooks or other course learning materials.
In a noteworthy development, this grant cycle has seen the transition to OER materials for all three levels of calculus courses, with “Calculus I” adopting materials earlier this academic year. Furthermore, the adaptation of materials for “General Chemistry” is poised to replace a $300 textbook, marking a substantial cost-saving measure for UW students.
“With all three calculus courses transitioning to open educational resources, we will be able to better support UW students in their education,” says Cedar Wiseman, an assistant lecturer in the UW Department of Mathematics and Statistics. “Through this change, we’ve removed the financial burden presented to students by copyrighted and closed-source materials. This will allow students to focus on learning calculus without concern for after-tuition expenses. Additionally, this change makes us a part of a global community of educators who collaborate with the goal of improving access to learning mathematics. We’re excited to have this opportunity to help our students grow.”
The grant recipients are:
College of Arts and Sciences
-- Jorge Flores, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Flores teaches “Calculus III” and will use OpenStax’s “Calculus Volume 3” textbook and MyOpenMath. He also will create 3D animations for homework assignments and questions as well as lab discussion assignments.
-- Erin Harrington, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. Harrington teaches “Cognitive Psychology” and will adopt OER Commons’ “Cognitive Psychology” textbook. She will create supplemental materials, including video lectures, quizzes and student engagement activities.
-- Christina Knox, an assistant lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. Knox teaches “Calculus II” and will use the OpenStax “Calculus Volume 2” textbook as well as MyOpenMath. She will use available problems within the platform and design additional problems for students to solve.
College of Engineering and Physical Sciences
-- Elliott Hulley, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry. Hulley teaches “General Chemistry” and will use OpenStax’s “Chemistry.” He will import the text into Overleaf, where he will rewrite chapters and develop active-learning approaches, including class exercises, workshops and games.
-- Kalyan Venugopal, an associate research scientist in the Department of Energy and Petroleum Engineering. Venugopal teaches “Information Visualization” and will use the open textbook “Fundamentals of Data Visualization.” Additionally, he will create supplemental materials, including hands-on lab sessions, datasets, handouts and lecture videos. Venugopal received a grant last year for collaborating to create OER materials for a “Data Mining” course.
UW Libraries will award another round of grants this spring for implementation in the summer and fall semesters. Grant awards will range from $2,500 to $5,000. Interested applicants are required to attend the “OER 101” workshop Wednesday, Feb. 28, before submitting grant applications. Proposals will be evaluated on a number of categories outlined in the scoring rubric developed by members of UW Libraries’ OER Committee. Proposals are due Tuesday, March 26.