ALTERNATIVE TEXTBOOK GRANTS FOR INSTRUCTORS AIM TO REDUCE FINANCIAL BURDEN ON STUDENTS

FSU Libraries are currently taking applications for new Alternative Textbook Grants. These grants support FSU instructors in replacing commercial textbooks with open alternatives that are available to students at no cost. Open textbooks are written by experts and peer-reviewed, just like commercial textbooks, but are published under open copyright licenses so that they can be downloaded, distributed, and adapted for free.

“These grants encourage faculty to relieve some of the financial burden on their students, advancing the University’s strategic goal of ensuring an affordable education for all students regardless of socioeconomic status,” said Gale Etschmaier, Dean of University Libraries. “Grant programs of this kind are having a big impact at elite institutions across the country, collectively saving students millions in textbook costs each year.”

The cost of college textbooks has risen 300% since 1978, with a 90% cost increase over the last decade alone. Due to high costs, many students decide not to purchase textbooks, a decision which is proven to negatively impact student success. In a recent survey conducted by the Libraries, 72% of FSU students (n = 350) reported having not purchased a required textbook due to high cost. Instructors who participated in previous rounds of the Alternative Textbook Grants program are expected to save FSU students up to $270,000 by Summer 2019.

During the 2018-19 academic year, ten grants of $1,000 each will be available to FSU instructors who are interested in replacing commercial course materials with open textbooks, library-licensed electronic books or journal articles, or other zero-cost educational resources. Thanks to a partnership with International Programs, an additional ten grants of $1000 will be available for faculty who teach at FSU’s international study centers.

Interested instructors are encouraged to review the grant requirements and submit an online application form by the following dates:

  • October 1st, 2018 (for spring and summer on-campus courses)
  • November 1st, 2018 (for courses taught at our international study centers)
  • February 1st, 2019 (for summer and fall courses)

Successful applicants will receive training and consultations to assist them in implementing their alternative textbook. For more information, and to apply for a grant, please visit lib.fsu.edu/alttextbooks or contact Devin Soper, Scholarly Communications Librarian at dsoper@fsu.edu.

Florida State University Libraries’ mission is to drive academic excellence and success by fostering engagement through extensive collections, dynamic information resources, transformative collaborations, innovative services and supportive environments for FSU and the broader scholarly community.

Open Textbook Network Workshop for FSU Faculty

The Office of the Provost is sponsoring an open textbook workshop for FSU faculty from 10:00am-12:00pm on Thursday, October 25th. The workshop will be facilitated by two Open Textbook Network trainers, Dr. Abbey Dvorak and Josh Bolick from the University of Kansas. The purpose of the workshop is to introduce faculty to open textbooks and the benefits they can bring to student learning, faculty pedagogical practice, and social justice on campus.

Participating faculty will be invited to engage with an open textbook in their discipline by writing a brief review, for which they will be eligible to receive a $200 stipend.

What: Open Textbook Network Workshop

Where: Bradley Reading Room, Strozier Library

When: Thursday, October 25th, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Interested faculty members are invited to apply by Friday, October 12th. Capacity is limited and open textbooks are not available for all subjects. Preference will be based on the availability of open textbooks in applicable subject areas.

If you have questions about this workshop or open textbooks, please contact Devin Soper, Scholarly Communications Librarian, at 850-645-2600 or dsoper@fsu.edu. You can also visit the Open & Affordable Textbook Initiative website for more information about our open education initiatives.

2018 FLORIDA BOOK AWARDS COMPETITION OPENS WITH CALL FOR ENTRIES

The Florida Book Awards kicks off its 12th annual competition with a call for entries in 11 categories. The Florida Book Awards competition is coordinated through the Florida State University Libraries, with the support of partner organizations from across the state. The deadline for submissions is Jan. 13, 2019
 
Established in 2006, the Florida Book Awards is the most comprehensive state book awards program in the nation.The contest recognizes and celebrates the year’s best books written by Sunshine State residents, with the exception of submissions to the Florida Nonfiction and Visual Arts categories, whose authors may live elsewhere.
 
Contest categories include: Florida Nonfiction, General Fiction, General Nonfiction, Poetry, Popular Fiction, Spanish Language, Visual Arts, Young Adult Literature, Younger Children’s Literature (ages 0-6), Older Children’s Literature (ages 7-12) and Cookbooks.
 
In 2014, the Gwen P. Reichert Gold Medal for Young Children’s Literature was introduced, providing a cash prize for the gold winner in the Younger Children’s Literature category. This award is in memory of Gwen P. Reichert and serves as a lasting tribute to honor her accomplishments as a rare book collector, her dedication to nurturing authors and their audience and her commitment to children’s education.
 
The Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Prize for Visual Arts and the Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal Prize for Florida Nonfiction were introduced in 2016.  
 

The Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Prize for Visual Arts supports a $500 prize for the Visual Arts Gold Medal Winner of the Florida Book Awards and serves as tribute to Richard E. Rice, who suffered from life-altering arthritis since childhood and spent a large amount of time in the hospital. From his hospital room, Rice discovered his artistic talent at the age of four and became a lifelong artist. Creating artwork offered Rice comfort, strength and joy, and this prize honors his talent and his commitment to art and to celebrate art and artists.
 
The Phillip and Dana Zimmerman Gold Medal Prize for Florida 
Nonfiction provides a $500 prize for the Gold Medal Winner of this category and serves as a tribute to the donor’s parents, Phillip and Dana Zimmerman, recognizing their deep roots in Florida and their love of Florida’s rich history and culture.
 
Applicants are encouraged to submit their books into competition any time after the competition is launched, and as soon as possible after books are officially published. Entries, which can be submitted by anyone, must be published between Jan. 1, 2018, and Dec. 31, 2018, and have an International Standard Book Number (ISBN).  All entries must be received no later than 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, 2019 (this is not a postmark deadline).
 
Three-person juries –– including members of co-sponsoring organizations, subject experts from the faculties of Florida colleges and universities, and previous Florida Book Award winners –– will choose up to three finalists in each of 11 categories. The jury may award one Gold, Silver and Bronze medal in each category.
 
Co-sponsors of the competition include: Humanities organizations from across the state, such as the Florida Center for the Book, the State Library and Archives of Florida, the Florida Historical Society, the Florida Humanities Council, the Florida Literary Arts Coalition, the Florida Library Association, the Florida Association for Media in Education, the Center for Literature and Theatre @ Miami Dade College, the Florida Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America, Friends of FSU Libraries, the Florida Writers Association, the Florida Literacy Coalition and “Just Read, Florida!”
 
The 2018 winners will be announced in early March 2019 and recognized at several events around the state, including an awards banquet in April.
 
Winning books and their authors will be showcased in the summer 2019 issue of FORUM, the statewide magazine of the Florida Humanities Council, and will be featured at book festivals and association conferences throughout the year. In addition, copies of all award-winning books will be put on permanent public display in the Florida Governor’s Mansion library and in Florida State University’s Strozier Library.
 
For general information and the entry form, requirements and detailed submission instructions, visit http://floridabookawards.lib.fsu.edu.
CONTACT: Jenni McKnight, Executive Director, Florida Book Awards
(850) 644-6323; jlmcknight@fsu.edu
 
Chase Miller, Florida Book Awards Communications Director

FSU Libraries Announces 2018-19 Alternative Textbook Grant Recipients

FSU Libraries is proud to announce the winners of our second round of Alternative Textbook Grants. The grant program, launched by the Libraries in November 2016, awards successful applicants with $1,000 to support the adoption or creation of open or library-licensed course materials that are available at no cost to students. These high-quality materials are written by experts and peer-reviewed, ensuring a level of intellectual and instructional rigor on par with expensive commercial equivalents.

Applications were evaluated based on criteria balancing the estimated savings to students, the openness of the proposed materials, and the likelihood of the materials being adopted by other courses at FSU.

Based on projected enrollment figures for the courses in question, the instructors participating in the second round of this program are expected to save FSU students up to $213,580 by Summer 2019, and the total projected savings across all grant recipients since the program’s inception are expected to exceed $270,000.

Congratulations to this year’s winners! For more information about the open education movement and related initiatives at FSU, see our research guide on OER, or contact Devin Soper, Scholarly Communications Librarian at FSU Libraries’ Office of Digital Research & Scholarship.

2018-2019 Grant Recipients:

Filiberto Asare-Akuffo is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography. His research interests include transportation, healthcare accessibility, GIS, and spatial modeling and analysis. Asare-Akuffo regularly teaches GIS 3015 “Map Analysis”. He plans on adopting content from three open textbooks in his Fall 2018 “Map Analysis” course.

Gregory Burris is a US Army veteran and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography. He has two Master’s degrees from Florida State in Geographic Information Science and History. He has presented papers at the Southern British Historical Association, the Northern Great Plains conference, Southeastern Division of the American Association of Geographers meeting, and the annual AAG Conference. His research interests include biogeography, bioclimatology, and historical geography. Burris will use open textbooks and online videos in GEO2200 “Physical Geography” in the upcoming school year.

John T. Bandzuh is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geography. His research interests include health geography, political ecology, and vector-borne diseases. Bandzuh will incorporate journal articles in place of textbooks in his Fall 2018 GEO4930 “Geography of Wine” course.

Ella-Mae Daniel is Teaching Faculty in the School of Teacher Education within the College of Education. She teaches elementary education methods courses and supervises teaching assistants in the College of Education. Daniel will use journal articles to supplement regular course materials in a new IFS course entitled  “Reimagining Intercultural Conflicts and Diversity,” expected to be offered for the first time in Spring 2019.

Vanessa Dennen is a Professor of Instructional Systems & Learning Technologies in the Department of Educational Psychology & Learning Systems. Her research investigates the cognitive, motivational, and social elements of computer-mediated communication. She teaches courses on learning theory and instructional design and research methods for new and emerging technologies. Dr. Dennen is developing her own multimedia resource with graduate students for EME2040 “Teaching and Learning with Technology”.

Arash Fahim is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics. His research interests include Applied Probability and Financial Mathematics. Dr. Fahim will convert his extensive lecture notes into an alternative textbook for use in MAP5601 “Introduction to Financial Mathematics”.

Giray Okten is Associate Chair for Graduate Studies and a Professor in the Department of Mathematics. His research interests include Computational Finance and Monte Carlo and quasi-Monte Carlo methods. He will use lecture notes in lieu of textbooks in his MAD3703 “Numerical Analysis” course in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019.

Paromita Sanyal is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology. Her research focuses on understanding development and anti-poverty & women’s empowerment interventions from a sociological perspective. Paromita received her doctorate from Harvard University and regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate Sociology courses. She plans to adopt journal articles and an open-access textbook in her 2018-2019 offerings of SYG1000 “Introductory Sociology”.

Koji Ueno is a Professor in the Department of Sociology. He received his doctorate from Vanderbilt University, and his research interests include sexuality, mental health, and social networks. Dr. Ueno will incorporate an open textbook, journal articles, and online videos in SYG2010 “Social Problems”.

Willie Wright is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography. His research interests include Black geographies, urban geography, and cultural geography. He received his doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In lieu of textbooks, Dr. Wright will use online documentaries and videos in his Fall 2018 offering of GEA1000 “World Regional Geography”.

International Programs Grant Recipients:

Edward James Hansen is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Psychology. He earned his Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University with an emphasis in Social/Industrial-Organizational Psychology, and he also holds a master’s degree in Sports Psychology. Dr. Hansen has taught “Child Psychology”, “Psychology of Personality”, “Research Methods”, and a Special Topics course focusing on Industrial-Organizational Psychology. Dr. Hansen will use online book chapters and journal articles in Summer 2018 in PSY4930 “Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Applied Social Psychology” at the London Study Center.

Tracie Mahaffey is Associate Teaching Faculty and Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Philosophy. She received her doctorate from Florida State University. Her research interests include philosophy of action, feminist theory, and ethics. Dr. Mahaffey will adopt the open textbook Reading for Philosophical Inquiry: A Brief Introduction to Philosophical Thinking in PHI2010 “Introduction to Philosophy” in Summer 2018 and 2019 at the London Study Center.

Patrick Merle is an Assistant Professor in the College of Communication and Information. He studies media effect with an emphasis on political and international perspectives. His teaching areas include Public Relations, Political Communication, and International Communication. He will in utilize alternative textbooks in COM3930 in Summer 2018 at the Florence Study Center.  

Lisa Munson is Teaching Faculty in the Department of Sociology. She studies social inequality and social justice, particularly public sociology – applying sociological knowledge to promote social justice in the community. She will use journal articles and open textbook material in SYG1000 “Introductory Sociology” and SYG2010 “Social Problems” in Summer 2018 at the Florence Study Center.

#Textbookbroke FSU

To celebrate Open Education Week (March 27-31), a team from University Libraries partnered with the Student Government Association to bring the #textbookbroke campaign to FSU. #Textbookbroke is a national campaign aimed at informing students about Open Textbooks, Open Educational Resources, and alternatives to traditional textbooks. It is also aimed at empowering students to provide feedback on their course materials and encourage their instructors to explore more affordable alternatives.

To that end, we organized two well-attended tabling events at Strozier and Dirac, with the goal of engaging with as many students as possible over the course of each event. We created an engagement display board where students could share the most they have spent on textbooks in a single semester, and we also encouraged students to complete a short survey on how the textbook affordability problem has affected them.


Over the course of the events, we spoke with hundreds of students from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and at different stages of their educational careers. 316 students contributed to the engagement board, and 350 submitted responses to the student survey. Overall, the data from the engagement board suggests that $407.32 is the average maximum amount spent by students on textbooks in a single term across all disciplines. Some of the more striking findings from the survey include the following:

  • 93% of students would use an online textbook if it was free
  • 97% of students feel that a $30 print textbook would reduce financial strain
  • 72% of students have decided not to purchase a required textbook due to high cost
  • 11% of students have decided not to take a course due to the cost of the textbook

These findings not only underline the impact of the textbook affordability problem on FSU students, but also suggest that the vast majority of our students would support broader adoption of OERs and Open Textbooks at FSU. We believe that students can play a key role in promoting such broader adoption by becoming advocates for OER on campus, and we hope that our many conversations with students during #textbookbrokeFSU will inspire them to take action to that end. At the same time, FSU Libraries is doing its part to support FSU instructors in adopting more open, affordable course materials through an Alternative Textbook Grants program that launched in late 2016.

This is an exciting time for open education at FSU, and our team is looking forward to continuing to advocate for change in this space, providing both students and instructors with the information and resources they need to make a difference! For more information about the open education movement and related initiatives at FSU, see our research guide on OER, or contact Devin Soper, Scholarly Communications Librarian at FSU Libraries’ Office of Digital Research & Scholarship.