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.
Dr. Thomas Dailey in the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries is editor of the National Quail Symposium Proceedings (NQSP) and has had a role with the publication since 1993. He and his fellow editors noticed that the proceedings, published as books, were not getting high citation counts.
Dailey asked the University Libraries how to increase the visibility of this valuable research on nonmigratory birds. In consultation with Scholars’ Collaborative librarian Rachel Caldwell, NQSP is now an online serial, similar to an e-journal, hosted by the Libraries. With digitized backfiles and a new issue about to be published, it is also an open access publication, making it findable — and citable — by researchers and policymakers everywhere.
NQSP papers are gaining worldwide readership in the three months since they were made available online. From the eastern United States to France to South Korea, several papers have already been downloaded over 30 times. Research shows a positive correlation between downloads and future citations (see, for example, Brody, Harnad & Carr, 2006).
The University Libraries currently hosts 13 peer-reviewed journals, edited or founded by UT researchers. See the online NQSP.
Tori Swanson, lecturer in the Department of English, wants to challenge her students to move beyond the traditional paper and create critical works in digital form. Her goal is to help her students develop both their writing skills and acquire digital skills, such as website creation, video editing, or digital annotation, to help them prepare for life outside of school.
Former Scholars’ Collaborative librarian Ashley Maynor has worked with Dr. Swanson over multiple semesters to design digital assignments with the same rigor as traditional capstone papers. Dr. Swanson is just one of many instructors beginning to use digital pedagogy with the Scholars’ Collaborative’s help. We have also taught graduate students in German to create an interactive multimedia book and helped students in history learn about the slave trade through interactive maps and timelines.
Liz Teston, UT professor of Interior Design, is actively collecting oral histories about the changing face of Knoxville’s Market Square over time. She wanted to find a way to showcase her work online, follow best practices for file preservation, and to increase visibility of her research.
Former Scholars’ Collaborative librarian Ashley Maynor assisted Professor Teston with the website design and implementation in WordPress, the preparation of digital objects and metadata for a collection in Omeka, and is currently collaborating on interactive data maps to be added to the site. With the help of the Scholars’ Collaborative, the oral histories research Teston has conducted will later become part of the Libraries’ Special Collections and become part of the Digital Public Library of America.
The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps are a large-scale representation of the growth and layout of American cities. The University of Tennessee Libraries’ collection currently provides digital versions of the four earliest sets of Knoxville maps – 1884, 1890, 1903, and 1917.
Go to the Sanborn Fire Insurance Map Collection