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Leah Hallstrom
KU Libraries
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KU Libraries announce Textbook Heroes initiative

Tue, 03/19/2019

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas Libraries, in collaboration with the Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright, are pleased to announce Textbook Heroes, a new initiative spotlighting KU faculty, staff, instructors and students who advocate for textbook affordability. Textbook Heroes are identified among those who have adapted, adopted, created or championed open educational resources (OER) and other low-cost materials for use in classrooms at KU.

The first cohort of KU champions are Drew Vartia, assistant teaching professor, Department of Chemistry; Amy Rossomondo, associate professor, Department of Spanish & Portuguese; and Peter Bobkowski, associate professor, William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications. 

“Textbook Heroes are members of the KU community who have taken extraordinary initiative to increase access to and affordability of materials for students,” said Josh Bolick, scholarly communication librarian. “As the use of OER and other affordability strategies has expanded across KU, we’re excited to have this vehicle for recognizing the excellent contributions of our colleagues and the positive impacts they have on teaching and learning.”

Vartia adopted “Chemistry: Atoms First,” an OER from OpenStax, for CHEM 150: Chemistry for Engineers.

“My involvement with OER this academic year has revolved around adoption,” Vartia said. “I'm looking forward to taking the next step to either customize the textbook or contribute some of these recently developed materials to the community.”

Rossomondo led the development of Acceso, a collaboratively created, web-based curriculum for intermediate-level Spanish language acquisition.

“I am proudest of the learning that KU undergraduate students achieve through Acceso and the opportunities for pedagogical development that it has created for our graduate students,” Rossomondo said. “I am always excited to get an email or meet a new colleague at a conference who is successfully implementing the materials or adapting them for their own contexts.”

Bobkowski created a new OER for use in JOUR 302: Infomania and beyond. The resulting open textbook, “Be Credible: Information Literacy for Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising and Marketing Students,” co-written with Karna Younger, faculty engagement librarian, is available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. In addition to Younger, Be Credible was supported by a 2017 Research Sprints team that included Carmen Orth-Alfie, graduate engagement librarian, and Callie Branstiter, first year experience librarian at San Francisco State University.

“This OER would not have happened without KU Libraries and the OER grant initiative,” Bobkowski said. “My librarian colleagues convinced me to write this open textbook, and I convinced them to help me.” 

The Textbook Heroes initiative is an ongoing effort, with new champions to be added each semester. For more information, please contact Josh Bolick at jbolick@ku.eduor visit the Textbook Heroes website



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