Faculty-driven Success Stories!
SF State faculty started out with the goal of making their course materials more affordable and more equitable. In the process, they discovered additional benefits as well.
Affordable instructional materials and open educational resources encourage students to use the materials. They are more relevant and up-to-date. They empower students by engaging their digital literacies. And they give students the flexibility to access their course materials anywhere, anytime.
Nancy Gerber (lead), Chemistry and Biochemistry
General Chemistry sequence, CHEM 115 and CHEM 215.
The Chemistry and Biochemistry department has launched a project to try and reduce the costs of our one-year General Chemistry sequence. In the past we’ve required students to purchase a specific textbook, a subscription to an online homework system, an iClicker, a lab manual, goggles and a lab notebook. These costs could run over $350 depending on where the textbook was purchased and whether a new or used text was chosen.
With Open Stax, the textbook itself is free. We're providing the lab manual for free. Solutions manuals are free.
Savings per student for this set of resources: up to $300
For an average enrollment of 400 new General Chemistry sequence students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 400 x (up to $300) = up to $120,000
Amy Kilgard, Communications Studies
Fundamentals of Oral Communication, COMM 150
The biggest challenge with this course is that we have 60—65 sections per semester with approximately 30 faculty teaching every term. We have a textbook that we shrink down to exactly what we want for our students and supplement that with an open-source option. Having the integration with an etext in iLearn is a major advantage to our students.
For 60-65 sections, the overall savings per semester = up to $74,480
Bruce Robertson, Marketing
Principles of Marketing, MKTG 431
I had been thinking about writing a book a long time, so I worked with a publisher and a target price point of fifty dollars. We were writing from common knowledge, there’s no copyrights. I was careful with illustrations to use royalty-free in the public domain or create them myself. Any royalties from SFSU students go to the college. There’s an obligation to (1) make the instructional materials affordable and (2) to encourage students to use the materials.
Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $100 For an average enrollment of 1200 economics students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 1200 x (up to $100) = up to $112,000
Bridget McCracken, The School of Public Affairs and Civic Engagement
We wanted to level the playing field for faculty, so we created an iLearn site for the faculty with references, links, a one-stop shop to find everything quickly and efficiently. Then I met one-on-one with faculty to explore their syllabi and the materials they used in their courses. We are committed to making this an annual agenda item for faculty meetings at course adoption time. We hope to be able to touch all of our classes within two years.
Per semester = savings total $145,267.00 (822 students x an average savings of $178/student)
Crystal Wong, English Language and Literature
First-Year Composition: ENG 104-105 Stretch Courses
I asked students what I could do to enhance their learning environment, and their responses prompted me to move everything from paper to online. Being a student in online courses myself really taught me to be selective in what I posted so that I can continue to deliver a user-friendly and learning-oriented platform.
Per semester = up to $13,900
Venoo Kakar, Economics
Applied Time Series Econometrics, ECON 825
Open-source textbooks and open-source software, called R, and everything was integrated into iLearn. Now they can access the course materials and the software on their own computers anywhere, anytime. And these texts are more up-to-date, so we have a course that is very relevant and current.
Per semester = up to $10,224
Bo Ferns, Hospitality and Tourism Management
Asian Food, Culture, and Hospitality, HTM 351
The biggest challenge is to find high-quality free or affordable teaching materials. I tried to find matching materials from open-textbooks, online resources, wrote my own, and then I incorporated library journal articles.
Savings per student for this resource: $129.00
For an average enrollment of 88 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 88 x (up to $129) = up to $11,440
Jonathan Lee, Asian American Studies
Vietnamese in the United States, AAS 370
There are a lot of open-access free material that I use instead of assigning a textbook that is 30 years old. They’re from a very limited perspective. There is new work, based on the ground up, and scholarship that challenges the grand narrative of American success overseas. This is more comprehensive and up-to-date material that offers a different perspective.
Savings per student for this resource: $110.00
For an average enrollment of 72 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 72 x (up to $110) = up to $7,952
Michael Bar, Economics
Introduction to Econometrics, ECON 312
I was dissatisfied with the textbooks, the theory they present, and the software. Statistical software R is not only free, but is the main tool used in data analytics and for data scientists. So I decided to write my own notes to integrate the theory with the statistical software R. That saves my students from paying for both the textbook and the software. Anyone with access to the internet has access to my materials, so this will not only save my students money, but help them for the rest of their careers.
Per semester = up to $6,000
Hsiao-Yun Chu, Design and Industry
Model Development Laboratory, DAI 360
Creative art students have to buy art supplies and materials that can easily add up to $100 - $200. We look for suppliers that offer discounts. We teach students the techniques and suppliers to knock the cost down. I encourage students to be resourceful and to trade with each other.
Per semester = up to $1,680
Anoshua Chaudhuri, Economics
Economics of Gender, ECON 540.
Anoshua Chaudhuri was able to reduce the cost of her student's materials to $0 by replacing the $100 textbook for the course with free journal articles, readings and powerpoints. With the help of a graduate teaching assistant, Anoshua was able to provide quality content to her students through the use of iLearn and the library journal databases.
Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $100
For an average enrollment of 40 economics students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 40 x (up to $100) = up to $4,000
Dawn-Elissa Fischer, Africana Studies
Black Online: Cyberspace, Culture, Community, AFRS 266.
Dawn-Elissa Fischer eliminated the cost of course materials for AFRS 310: Anthropology of Blackness, by searching for peer reviewed journal articles and utilizing the learning management system to eliminate printing costs. Dr. Fischer made all of her materials available through the J. Paul Leonard Library databases and worked closely with SF State’s Disability Programs and Resource Center to ensure all of the course materials were accessible.
Savings per student for this set of resources: minimum of $88
For an average enrollment of 35 students in one term, the overall savings to students per term is: 35 x (up to $88)= up to $3,100
Department of English Language and Literature
First Year Composition, ENG 114.
The Department of English Language and Literature committed to moving their English 114 print resource to a free and open online resource. By replacing the First Year Composition Guide book, the department was able to save students and average of $22 for the printed book as well as additional printing costs to the student and department. With the support of campus resources, the entire FYC guide is now available for free online, making the content accessible to faculty, students and campus community.
Savings per student for this set of resources: $22
Over 50 sections of English 114 were offered during Fall 2015, bringing the overall savings to students per term to $71,595.
Patricia Donohue, Instructional Technologies
Computer Resource Specialist: ITEC 816.
Pat Donohue lowered the cost of her course materials by adopting an ebook that is relatively inexpensive and utilizing iLearn to provide access to course content to students for free. SmartPens and eReaders are both devices that are required for the course, in order to gain experience in working with various technology. In addition to adopting an affordable textbook, Dr. Donohue was able to set up a check-out system for SmartPens and Nooks for students that cannot afford to purchase their own devices.
Savings per student for this set of resources:minimum of $120
For an average enrollment of 12 students in one term, the overall savings to students per terms is: 12 x (up to $120) = $1440
To view more Faculty examples visit Cool4Ed to see what faculty all over California are doing to help make instructional materials more afforable.
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