Faculty win awards to use free online teaching materials in classroom

pile of 4 booksEleven UIC faculty members have received funding for their proposals to use free and shared online teaching materials in the classroom through the Open Textbook Faculty Incentive Program.

The faculty members will each receive a portion of the $20,000 allocated for the initiative, which is sponsored by the Office of the Provost and University Library. The program rewards faculty members for using library-based and open educational resources instead of textbooks.

“The goal is to help reduce the cost of students’ education by reducing the cost of their access to learning resources,” said Mary Case, professor, university librarian and dean of libraries. An Undergraduate Student Government survey with 800 respondents found that UIC students spend between $200 and $1,000 on textbooks per semester.

“So, this initiative is encouraging faculty to think about alternative ways that they can provide that material to the students,” Case added.

The winners will to adopt, modify and create open educational materials and use other websites and resources licensed by the University Library. An estimated 4,500 students will enroll in courses where these plans will be implemented this fall. Together, these students potentially could save about $700,000 on textbook costs.

Open Textbook Faculty Incentive Program award winners or their departments will receive between $500 and $2,000, half before fall semester and half after a report is submitted about the effectiveness of the materials.

This year’s winners and their courses are:

  • Andrea McGinley, biological sciences, Microbiology Laboratory
  • Suresh Aggarwal, engineering, Numerical Methods in Mechanical Engineering
  • Aidan Gray, philosophy, Introductory Logic
  • Theresa Williams, nursing, Nursing Leadership and Management in Health Care
  • Catherine Tredway, nursing, Nursing Research and Statistics for Evidence-Based Practice
  • Giamila Fantuzzi, kinesiology and nutrition, Culture and Food
  • Sandra Gibbons, biological Sciences, General Microbiology
  • Zachary McDowell, communication, Public Relations and Digital Media
  • Preston Snee, chemistry, Physical Chemistry for Biochemists I;
  • Adrian Barkan, physics, Preparatory Physics and more
  • Trischa Duke, UIC Global, Tutorium in Intensive English.

The winners will participate in workshops to understand copyright and fair use, and learn more about adopting and modifying open resources.

Calls for new proposals open in the fall.

“We were very pleased with the response to this first go-around,” Case said. “We look forward to additional work.”