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UW Libraries Selects Open Textbook Grant Recipients

April 30, 2018

University of Wyoming Libraries recently awarded open textbook grants to five faculty members to implement open educational resources in their classes.

The open textbooks resulting from the grants are projected to save UW students more than $50,000 each semester.

“The innovation and creativity of UW instructors in this round of grants were amazing,” says Cass Kvenild, interim associate dean of UW Libraries. “Faculty from three colleges will create new open textbooks and course materials to better meet student needs while saving thousands of dollars in the process.”

Grants are awarded to instructors who adopt, adapt or create new open textbooks or other materials for their courses. Grant awards range from $1,500 to $3,000.

The grant recipients are:

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

-- Alyssa McElwain, an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. She teaches “Parent-Child Relationships,” a required course for students in the human development and family sciences degree option. Her grant will support creation of online learning modules to supplement existing course content.

-- Rachel Watson, a senior lecturer in the Department of Molecular Biology. Every semester, hundreds of students enroll in general and medical microbiology labs, and they are required to purchase an expensive lab manual. Watson will create a free, open and online version of the manual.

College of Arts and Sciences

-- Susan Dewey, an associate professor in the School of Culture, Gender and Social Justice. Dewey teaches two popular courses: “Introduction to Women’s Studies” and “Gender and Society.” She will create open textbooks for each class to replace the textbooks her students are now required to purchase.

-- Naomi Pitamber, a visiting assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art History. She is developing a multimedia, interactive open textbook for teaching art history to UW students, both in person and online.

College of Engineering and Applied Science

-- Tawfik Elshehabi, an associate lecturer in the Department of Petroleum Engineering. For his course “Fundamentals of Petroleum Engineering,” there is no single textbook sufficient for the material taught. Elshehabi assigns multiple textbooks at a significant cost to students. He will create a stand-alone, free open textbook to replace the current textbooks and will include a new chapter dedicated to Wyoming oil and gas.

UW Libraries will award another round of grants in fall 2018. Proposals for that award period are due Oct. 1. The grant award committee will prioritize proposals for high-enrollment classes and those that include UW and community college partnerships.

For more information, visit

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