KU Libraries announce fall 2019 Textbook Heroes

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The University of Kansas Libraries are pleased to announce that Abbey Dvorak, associate professor of music therapy, and Ingrid Peterson, director of the Kansas Algebra Program in the Department of Mathematics, have joined the 2019 Textbook Heroes cohort.

The Textbook Heroes initiative through the Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright spotlights KU faculty, staff, instructors and students who take significant actions to advocate for textbook affordability. Textbook Heroes are identified among those who have adapted, adopted, created or championed open educational resources (OER) and other low-cost materials for use in classrooms at KU.

Dvorak and Peterson join the first cohort of KU champions announced in spring 2019, including Drew Vartia, assistant teaching professor, Department of Chemistry; Amy Rossomondo, associate professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese; Peter Bobkowski, associate professor, William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications; and Noah Ries, 2018-19 KU student body president. 

Dvorak adopted “Research Methods in Psychology” from the Open Textbook Network for her Psychology of Music courses and modified other courses using OER. 

“Making the shift to no-cost or low-cost resources has had a big impact on my teaching,” said Dvorak. “The first time I introduced my students to open resources at no cost to them, there was an audible gasp in the room.” 

Since partnering with the libraries to learn more about OER, Dvorak has become a presenter for the Open Textbook Network. 

“Knowing that I’m doing my small part to help has been beneficial to me,” said Dvorak. “I’m doing what I can in my own world, but also expanding that world and talking to other faculty. Over time, the word about OER will spread even further and help more students.”  

Peterson, the sole instructor of record for all college and intermediate algebra courses, adopted OpenStax textbooks for all sections of Math 101 and 002. Peterson was awarded a grant from KU Libraries in 2018 and used the funding to implement the open textbooks across her curriculum. 

“I was intrigued by the repository of open texts once I started to explore online,” said Peterson. “Switching to an OpenStax textbook and online homework portal allowed us to save each student around $100. The response has been overwhelmingly positive.” 

In March 2019, Peterson was awarded the first Student Senate Textbook Affordability Award, presented by interim Provost Carl Lejuez. Since Peterson’s OER adoption, KU students have saved an estimated $270,000 in textbook and course materials costs.

The Textbook Heroes initiative is an ongoing effort, with new champions to be added each semester. To nominate yourself or a member of the KU community, contact Josh Bolick, scholarly communications librarian, at jbolick@ku.edu.

For more information, please visit the Textbook Heroes website



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