The University of Kansas Libraries are pleased to announce the newest cohort of Textbook Heroes. The spring 2021 honorees are Tiara Floyd, 2019-20 KU student body president; Daniel Hernandez, associate professor, Mathematics; and Oleksandra Wallo, assistant professor, Slavic Languages & Literature.
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.
Floyd advocated to KU CIO Mary Walsh to formally launch a project to explore potential course marking opportunities at KU. Marking courses as “affordable” increases cost transparency and allows students to plan for required course materials. In fall 2019, a project team began meeting to develop a plan for implementing the now-live course marking at KU.
“OERs and low-cost resources make higher education more affordable,” Floyd said. “For some, the difference in dropping out or staying in a class is the price of textbooks and resources – which only allows a select few who can afford them to have access to education.”
Hernandez adopted an existing OER, "Linear Algebra with Applications" by W. Keith Nicholson, for his course sections of Elementary Linear Algebra.
“I am concerned about the affordability and accessibility of textbooks for undergraduate students, having struggled to manage these costs when I was a student myself,” Hernandez said. “As a matter of equity, I think it is important to minimize financial barriers to success -- at least the ones I can control."
Wallo created “Dobra forma (good form),” an open-education web-based overview of basic Ukrainian grammar for her sections of Elementary Ukrainian I and II.
“One of my goals in creating this OER was to make Ukrainian grammar accessible and fun, so we have used many authentic photographs and some videos from Ukraine, which place language form into a rich cultural context," Wallo said.
In addition to the Textbook Heroes program, KU Libraries offer grant opportunities to instructors to adopt, adapt and create OER. To date, KU Libraries have provided nearly $112,000 to 29 projects across disciplines and departments at the university, saving KU students an estimated $1.1 million annually.
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 for Textbook Heroes, contact Josh Bolick, scholarly communications librarian, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit the Textbook Heroes website.