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Clayton State Faculty Awarded Three USG Affordable Learning Georgia Grants

Jul 22 2015

Three groups of Clayton State University faculty members have been awarded grants under a new University System of Georgia (USG) initiative, Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG), which focuses on reducing the costs of textbooks and the enhancement of GALILEO, Georgia’s Virtual Library and ALG’s parent initiative.

The three grants to Clayton State total $81,600 and will reduce the cost of texts for Clayton State students in Communications and Media Studies (CMS), Psychology, Physics and Chemistry courses, starting with the fall 2016 semester. The key to the ALG initiative is to provide grant-supported opportunities for USG faculty, libraries, and institutions to transform their use of textbooks and other learning materials into lower cost options.

The CMS grant was awarded to Professors Brian Amsden, Mark May, Jonathan Harris and Susan McFarlane-Alvarez in the sum of $21,700 to replace course textbooks for Spoken Communication, COMM 1110, with no cost web resources for full adoption in fall 2016. 

“We are transitioning from a textbook that costs students $79.99 to a free textbook,” says Amsden. “The course enrolls about 825 students per year, so the total savings for students could be as much as $66,000 per year.”

Professors Antoinette Miller, Sam Maddox, Eckart Werther, Mark Daddona, Nichelle Gause and Christina Grange  received  an Affordable Learning Georgia Textbook Transformation Grant of $29,900 to replace the Myers “Psychology” 10th Edition with Launchpad using the free, online, peer-reviewed textbook (Psychology) offered through OpenStax College. Clayton State students will also have the option to purchase a low-cost physical copy (current price is $38.50) through the Clayton State University bookstore, The Loch Shop. These materials will replace the textbook and LaunchPad (the online homework system bundled with the text), which would cost each student $136.99 as a bundle.

“The Department of Psychology houses one of the largest majors on campus while also serving the entire campus community through its provision of PSYC 1101, Introduction to General Psychology,” says Miller. “The course is taken by approximately 800 students annually. Replacing the textbook materials traditionally used for PSYC 1101 through the OpenStax Conversion for PSYC 1101 has the potential to save Clayton State students more than $110, in materials each academic year.  

“It’s being an online text also fits well with the Department’s multiple course delivery methods, ranging from traditional lecture to hybrid half-online, to fully online sections.”

Professors Tatiana Krivosheev, Bram Boroson, Caroline Sheppard, Patricia Todebush and Justin Mays received a grant award of $30,000 to replace the required texts for approximately 25 course sections of Physics, Chemistry Laboratory I and II courses with no cost learning materials. Their project will result in savings of more than $10,000 per year for 600 students, starting with the fall 2016 semester, when all laboratory activities are transformed into IPython format, new computational content in Physics is introduced and integrated. 

Undergraduate students majoring in chemistry, biology, computer science, mathematics, pre-pharmacy, and pre-engineering are the main stakeholders enrolled in these courses. Using the IPython notebooks throughout all introductory Physics and Chemistry courses will re-enforce the interdisciplinary nature of science, stress the similarities in scientific methods and techniques, and make the transition from one course to the other more responsive to student needs. Overall access to these no cost learning materials will greatly enhance the science-laboratory experience for the students.

“College textbooks prices have increased faster than tuition, health care costs and housing prices, all of which have risen faster than inflation,” notes Dr. Nasser Momayezi, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Clayton State, wherein all three grants will reside. “In order to provide our students with an affordable alternative, our faculty from three different departments in the College of Arts and Sciences applied for Affordable Textbook Grants, and all three were funded. These grants will substantially cut the cost of textbooks for hundreds of students. I commend our faculty for their dedication and commitment to the success of our students.”

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