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SCoer! Awards go to four faculty members

Thomas Cooper Library


Four recipients of the 2016 SCoer! Faculty Award have been selected and are on their way to learning more about using Open Educational Resources (OER) in their classrooms. Now in its second year, the award is sponsored by the University Libraries.

The SCoer! Faculty Award encourages the use of freely available, high-quality online materials in the classroom. This year's winners are USC faculty members (shown alphabetically beginning at top left) Lana Burgess, Museum Management Program; Amanda Dalola, Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures; Karen Edwards, Retailing; and Shelley Jones, English, Extended University.

To participate in the award program, these faculty members will attend a one-hour workshop hosted by the University Libraries that will help them identify OER materials for their courses. They then will commit to switching from the use of a traditional textbook to an OER or library-licensed resource in one of their classes, saving their students a significant sum of money. Each winner will receive a certificate and a $500 monetary award.

Award recipients are selected by Student Government representatives and members of the University Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Committee.

“The selection committee looked closely at three determining factors: applicants who showed a lot of desire to learn the process of finding and using online educational resources, the potential for long-term financial savings for students, and the availability of OER materials on the subject taught,” said Amie Freeman, Assistant Interlibrary Loan Librarian at University Libraries and Chair of the Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Committee. “Our congratulations go to these four recipients who are all passionate about using OER materials in their courses.”

Faculty who are not familiar with OER textbooks and other materials may not know that they are quality resources, Freeman explained.

“Typically, faculty members at an institution are paid to write these textbooks, and they are peer reviewed and funded by grants. And when OER materials are created, they are often created for lower-level, high-enrollment courses, where textbooks can cost hundreds of dollars each.”

The use of OER materials is clearly a win for faculty and a win for students.

“The rising costs of textbooks has resulted in the undesirable side effect of students deciding not to purchase the text, even when ‘required’,” award recipient Karen Edwards wrote in her application.

“Over the past two years, I have moved one of my key courses, Loss Prevention for Retailers (RETL 330), from a printed text to completely open access assigned readings. The reasons were two-fold: one, the rising cost of the text ($110 for a half-size, 250-page hardback) was making it difficult for students to justify purchasing it, causing many to forego the text; and two, I discovered a wonderful source of cutting-edge articles specifically focused on loss prevention for retail professionals that is available online and free! With the encouragement of the wonderful library staff, I made the switch and the results have been wonderful! My students get the most current information available in this dynamic field, and they save money, as well.”

SCoer! Awards are given once a year. The next award cycle will be Spring 2017.