The University of Kansas Libraries are pleased to announce the newest cohort of Textbook Heroes. The spring 2020 honorees are Meggie Mapes, introductory course director, Communication Studies; Marsha McCartney, teaching specialist, Department of Psychology; and Margie Sheppard, donor and chair, KU Libraries Board of Advocates.
The Textbook Heroes initiative through KU Libraries’ Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright spotlights KU faculty, staff, students and donors 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.
Meggie Mapes created a new OER for Communication Studies 130/131: Audience Speaker Communication. “Speak Out, Call In: Public Speaking as Advocacy,” is a contemporary, interdisciplinary public speaking textbook that fuses rhetoric, critical/cultural studies, and performance to offer an up-to-date resource for students.
“I started working with the libraries’ Office of Scholarly Communication and Copyright to learn more about OER and was fortunate to receive a grant through their OER Grant Initiative,” Mapes said. “KU Libraries are leaders in open educational resources, and their collaborative efforts were integral to the success of this project.”
Marsha McCartney spearheaded a project to build a custom resource along with a student-created test bank of multiple-choice questions for Psychology 598: Positive Psychology. Creating this open resource allowed McCartney to provide new, different ways for students to experience the class materials.
“I received the most amazing feedback from my students specifically about the open textbook; it was overwhelmingly positive,” McCartney said. “They liked the variety of information I was able to include and found that the updated examples made things a lot more interesting.”
Margie Sheppard and her husband, Mike, provided a major gift to KU Libraries in support of OER efforts at the university. She is currently the Outreach and Technology Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine in Kansas, based in Dykes Library at the KU Medical Center campus. Her work in libraries across central Kansas and a master’s degree in library science from Emporia State University have given her a deep appreciation of the important role that libraries play.
“Even a small gift has the potential to impact a lot of lives and change the course of a student’s success in a class,” Sheppard said. “Supporting the OER grant initiative empowers faculty to create their own intellectual property and create something that can positively impact their students.”
Through the OER Grant Initiative, KU Libraries have distributed nearly $88,000 to 26 projects across disciplines and departments at the university, saving KU students an estimated $920,000 annually.
The Textbook Heroes initiative is an ongoing effort, with new champions to be added each semester.
“As leaders in the open access movement, KU Libraries are proud to continue to recognize the important work of KU faculty, staff and donors through the Textbook Heroes initiative,” said Kevin L. Smith, dean of libraries. “Now more than ever, creating openly accessible and low-cost resources is essential to the success of students at KU and beyond.”