UTSA’s Adopt-A-Free-Textbook grant benefits faculty & students

David Han
David Han

(SEPTEMBER 22, 2022) UTSA Libraries awarded 13 Adopt-a-Free-Textbook grants to UTSA faculty for the 2022-23 academic year that will save students nearly $206,000. These grants will support and enable faculty to adopt or create free or Open Educational Resources (OER) textbooks as the primary textbooks in their courses.

OER are materials in any format that give faculty the freedom to tailor the content while ensuring free and continuous access for students after a course ends. A nonprofit organization, Creative Commons, licenses the materials with the goal of increasing the number of creative works available for others to find, legally modify and share.

“It is our pleasure to provide faculty with an opportunity to integrate free textbooks into their courses,” said Dean Hendrix, UTSA vice provost and University Librarian. “We are thankful to our many campus partners who assist, advise, guide, advocate and support faculty who choose to add OER to their course curricula. Each year, our collaborative work has an impact on thousands of UTSA students by helping them overcome cost hurdles so that they may focus on learning. This boosts course completion rates and makes graduation more attainable.”

"Courses that adopt OER provide our largely first-generation and diverse student body with equal access to their textbooks regardless of socioeconomic status."

Since launching the OER effort in 2016, UTSA Libraries has awarded 138 grants, realizing a cost savings of over $10 million for students.

Morgan Grace, Kathleen Laborde, Judith Dones and Alyssa Vikesland
Morgan Grace, Kathleen Laborde, Judith Dones and Alyssa Vikesland of University College were awarded a Design grant. They all teach Academic Inquiry and Scholarship, which is a core curriculum course.

“Ten million is no small number. These savings have truly helped level the playing field when it comes to student success,” said DeeAnn Ivie, UTSA OER coordinator. “Courses that adopt OER provide our largely first-generation and diverse student body with equal access to their textbooks regardless of socioeconomic status. They cultivate deeper engagement with course content while simultaneously eliminating barriers to success.”

During this year’s grant period, faculty submitted 28 applications in the Adoption, No-Cost and Design categories. Adoption grants enable recipients to adopt existing OER for their course. No-Cost grants enable faculty to adopt library e-books, articles or other library materials. Design, a new category added this year, enables grant recipients to involve students as they modify, remix or author their course’s textbook or other teaching materials.

“The new Design tier creates the potential for 2022 faculty grant recipients to work with their students to create openly licensed textbooks,” Ivie said. “Students can add these textbooks to their resumes and career profiles. These are priceless experiences that will follow students well after they leave UTSA.”

The 2022-2023 OER grant recipients are:

Adoption Grants  

  1. Mary Dixson (College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Intercultural Communication)
  2. Carolyn Luna (College of Sciences, Pre-calculus)
  3. Kristy Masten (College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Art History I)
  4. Annette Portillo (College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Topics in Multiethnic Literatures of the U.S.)

No-Cost Grants

  1. Dan Davied (Carlos Alvarez College of Business, Happiness, Well Being and Modern Consumerism)
  2. George Felipe-Gonzales (College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Caribbean History)
  3. Veronica Luna (College of Education and Human Development, Feminist Theories)
  4. Ritu Mathur (College of Liberal and Fine Arts, International Human Rights)
  5. Serife Tekin (College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Philosophy of Science)

Design Grants

  1. Judith DonesMorgan Grace, Kathleen Laborde and Alyssa Vikesland (University College, Academic Inquiry and Scholarship)
  2. David Han (Carlos Alvarez College of Business, Mathematical Statistics)
  3. Jude Okpala (College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Introduction to the Humanities I)
  4. Mimi Yu (College of Liberal and Fine Arts, Elementary Japanese)

Explore Further

“The Design Grant category affords so much freedom to faculty who want to implement OER in their teaching,” said recipient Judith Dones, UTSA assistant professor of practice in University College. “Winning the grant will allow us to enhance the student experience by incorporating our own engagement questions, student reflections and faculty insights into the Academic Inquiry and Scholarship e-textbook we’re using. We get to create our version of the textbook for our classes.”

The Adopt-a-Grant program opens each January with a close date of mid-March. Academic Innovation, a team that supports the Division of Academic Affairs, can help faculty design their courses to include OERs and to enrich their curriculum with a variety of tools and programs that promote deeper learning and student engagement.

To learn more, visit OER Campus Partners or book a consultation.