by Bonnie Butcher

Dr. Mark Kunkel, department of psychology, and Dr. Kathie Barrett, department of political science, have been working on a project to provide affordable textbook alternatives for students in two major courses at the University of West Georgia. They have been awarded grants from Affordable Learning Georgia, a USG initiative that promotes student success. This is an opportunity to offer core courses that do not require textbooks or additional costs for students.

Two Professors Receive Textbook Transformation Grants Resulting in Saving an Estimated $89,000 for StudentsDr. Kunkel will be replacing a costly psychology textbook with a free textbook from OpenStax. The textbook is required for Introduction to General Psychology, a course that typically has 180-280 students per section.

“It will save each student approximately $200 per semester and permit us to more thoroughly integrate the textbook (previously purchased by only more motivated and financially privileged students) with lectures, course activities, and discussion groups, in a way that we hope contributes to retention, progress, and graduation efforts,” Dr. Kunkel said.

The textbook will be replaced with a free, online, downloadable text that also includes ancillary links and learning materials. Dr. Kunkel will be working to incorporate this material beginning in Spring 2016. He will also be tracking students’ enhanced learning and academic performance during the transitional time.

Dr. Barrett will be replacing a textbook for an Introductory American Government course, with development beginning in Spring 2016. The texts will include the same material as before, at no cost to students.

“The goal of the new design is to easily incorporate current readings and materials, for example, current inauguration speeches,” said Dr. Barrett. “By designing a project not reliant on these materials, we will have an American Government course that encourages student success, and hopefully, a greater interest in American politics.”

Posted on October 13, 2015