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Could lead to more than $90,000 in cost savings

AMERICUS (Feb. 3, 2015) – The state of Georgia is funding a new USG initiative aimed at reducing the costs of textbooks for college students.

Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) is providing grants for University System of Georgia faculty, libraries, and institutions so that they can explore lower cost options for textbooks and other learning materials. The ALG Textbook Transformation Grants support these institutions as they test alternative textbook options in hopes that lowering the cost of textbooks for college students will contribute to their retention, progression and graduation.

Three GSW faculty members were awarded grants through ALG.

Charles Huffman, professor of psychology and chair of the Department of Psychology and Sociology, submitted an Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) Textbook Transformation Grant proposal for $30,000 that has been accepted and will be funded. With the grant, the Department of Psychology and Sociology will be using free, online, open-source texts for all sections of Introduction to Psychology and Introduction to Sociology classes beginning in the fall 2015 semester.

"The adoption of free, open-source textbooks for our PSYC 1101 and SOCI 1101 courses will save each student approximately $160 in textbook costs,” said Huffman. “Since about one half of GSW students take the PSYC 1101 course and one third take the SOCI 1101 course, the estimated savings for students will be about $65,000 in one semester. We believe it will help reduce the financial burden of attending the university without sacrificing a quality education."

As part of the grant budget, Huffman will also be able to provide eight of the departmental faculty with new iPads and approximately a $2,550 stipend for course development.

Ru Story-Huffman, dean of Library Services, and Gavin Bernstein, lecturer of Special Education, were awarded an ALG Textbook Transformation grant of $17,000 to develop an Open Educational Resource. Story-Huffman will author an information literacy textbook that will incorporate instructional technology topics. Bernstein will be the instructional designer and will assist with instructional technology content. The textbook will be used in Fundamentals of Information Literacy and Instructional Tech-Media courses as well as become an open and free source.

“We are grateful to have the opportunity through this grant to develop an open educational resource,” said Story-Huffman and Bernstein in a joint statement. “With the development of this textbook, we can offer a savings of $27,162 per academic year which would normally be spent on textbooks.”

All applicants for the grants submitted a proposal and a letter of support that discussed sustainability of the action plan presented in the proposal. Proposals were reviewed by the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for 21st Century Universities (C21U) and a team of reviewers that managed the review process on behalf of ALG. Proposals were evaluated blindly on the feasibility and reasonableness of the action plans.

Those that were awarded grants will participate in a facilitated project initiation process, which begins today with a meeting to discuss the implementation of proposed action plans.

For additional information, call (229) 931-2037.

Affordable Learning Grant image

Caption--Students looking at textbooks in GSW Campus Bookstore

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