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SCoer! Faculty Award submission deadline is May 6

 

In its first year, the Open Textbook Initiative saved UofSC students in four courses more than $18,000 in one semester because they did not have to purchase textbooks.

UofSC faculty who want to enrich their classroom materials, ensure their students’ successful learning, and create an opportunity for academic scholarship can achieve it all through a campus initiative that has just marked the completion of its first year.

Five faculty members who participated in the program received SCoer! Faculty Awards (pronounced “score”). Four of those faculty members used Open Educational Resources in sections of the courses they taught, saving the students in those courses more than $18,000 in one semester.

Sponsored by the University Libraries, the Open Textbook Initiative is built around high-quality teaching and learning materials that are freely available online. Faculty who participate will remove a major hurdle for their students – having to purchase textbooks.

“Academic success depends on access to academic journals and textbooks. With the Open Textbook Initiative, there is no longer a financial barrier in the class because all students have an equal opportunity to succeed,” said Amie Freeman, Assistant Interlibrary Loan Librarian at University Libraries and Chair of the Libraries’ new Scholarly Communications Committee.

The use of Open Educational Resources is gaining momentum nationwide. A recent Open Textbook Initiative at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, resulted in student savings of $1.3 million over five years. A 2012 Florida Student Textbook Survey revealed that because of the cost of textbooks, 64 percent of students had not purchased a required text, 45 percent had not registered for a course, and 27 percent had dropped a course.

Apply for the SCoer Faculty Award
  • -- Fill out and submit the brief application form at http://library.sc.edu/p/research/SCoerform.
  • -- Deadline to apply is Friday, May 6, 2016.
  • -- Winners will be announced May 23, and several workshop dates will be announced at that time.
  • -- Requirements for the award: Attend a one-hour workshop, replace a traditional textbook with an OER or library-licensed resource in one of your courses, and complete two brief follow-up surveys.
  • -- Winners will receive a certificate and a $500 monetary award.
  • -- Apply soon; a limited number of awards are available.

“When you think that the basic physics course text costs $325, and you multiply that by the approximately 1,000 students who take that course in a year, you’ll see that’s a $325,000 savings to the student body through one course,” said Lindsay Richardson, 2014 - 2015 Student Body President. “Textbooks cost more than $1,000 a year on average per student, which can make a big impact when you combine that with tuition and living expenses. Sometimes it comes down to whether students are going to skip buying a book or skip buying food.”

After passing a joint resolution in spring 2015 “to Support Open Access and Open Educational Resources at the University of South Carolina,” Student Government partnered with University Libraries to help power the Open Textbook Initiative at USC.

“We want to let faculty know this is available for them," Richardson said. "It helps students, it gives faculty something for their tenure file, and it’s something good to help the Carolina community.”

Winners of the SCoer! Faculty Award will attend a one-hour workshop, commit to choosing an open educational textbook or library-licensed resource to incorporate into one of their courses in place of a traditional textbook. Winners will receive a certificate and a $500 monetary award. Award recipients will be selected by Student Government representatives and members of the University Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Committee.

More information is available at http://library.sc.edu/p/research/SCoer.