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Scholars’ Collaborative

Students in front of a sign showing student savings

Grant Awards to Three Faculty for Open Education

Are you concerned about the amount of debt students take on en route to graduation? Three faculty are moving to open textbooks and open educational resources (OER) this year in order to save students money and encourage student–and teaching–success.

For a one-time investment of $4,750 grant dollars and faculty time, these adoptions of OER and open textbooks will save students $120,000 dollars every academic year.

Kenneth Kihm (Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering), Joanne Logan (Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science), and Barbara Murphy (Music Theory) received awards ranging from $750 to $1,750 for adopting open textbooks and creating OER. They received mini-grants from a partnership with the Division of Student Life, the University Libraries, and UT’s Open Textbook Working Group to help them make the transition to OER.

An increasing number of UT students can enroll in courses using open textbooks and OER. Last year, 18 courses had at least one section with an open textbook or OER adoption, saving students approximately $700,000 dollars. That savings is expected to continue each year. Logan’s ESS 462 and Murphy’s MUTH 310 have been added to the list this fall. In the spring, Kim’s AE 351 will be included.

OERs are more than just online books. They are copyrighted and then licensed to be downloaded, shared, and used at no cost, as they are often underwritten by grant funding. OERs and open textbooks differ from the book rental program known as Inclusive Access. (The Libraries’ Faculty Choice page includes a comparison chart of textbook models.) Open textbook adoptions and creation of OERs replace costly textbooks, whether in print or online, and are available to students not just for one semester, but perpetually.

If you are interested in adopting an open textbook, the mini-grant program will open its second call for proposals beginning September 12. Learn more about open textbooks and OER from the Scholars’ Collaborative in the Libraries and UT’s Open Textbook Working Group.

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