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K-State Today

September 26, 2013



K-State faculty receive funding to develop open alternative textbooks

By Beth Turtle

Funding was recently distributed to 11 K-State faculty to develop textbooks for nine classes through the open and alternative textbook initiative. Many of the new textbooks were developed over the summer and are being used now; others will start in spring 2014.

Faculty receiving funds include: Doris Carroll and Ann Knackendoffel, special education, counseling and student affairs; Stephen Kiefer and Mary Cain, psychological sciences; Robert Bear and David Rintoul, biology; Gabriel Nagy and Rekha Natarajan, mathematics; Joye Gordon, journalism and mass communications; Christopher Culbertson, chemistry; and Todd Easton, industrial and manufacturing systems engineering.

The initiative was funded in spring 2013 through student centered tuition enhancements with a supplemental allocation provided by K-State Libraries. Another call for proposals will be made in October for textbooks to be developed by spring or fall 2014. The project is open to either individual K-State faculty members or a group of faculty teaching multiple sections of the same course

The high cost of commercial print textbooks is a major concern for both students and their families. This initiative encourages faculty innovation and experimentation in finding new, better and less costly ways to deliver learning materials to students. Developing alternative textbooks may involve using a range of resources across different media or employing an existing open access textbook to create a set of learning resources which eliminate traditional textbook costs. There is no expectation that faculty will author complete open textbooks, although that would certainly qualify as an acceptable project.

Co-authors of the initiative proposal were Beth Turtle, associate professor at K-State Libraries, Andy Bennett, professor of mathematics, and Brian Lindshield, assistant professor in the department of human nutrition. Bennett and Lindshield have successfully created and used open textbooks in their classes. They, along with K-State Libraries faculty, believe it is important to provide incentives to experiment with non-traditional learning resources.

More information about the initiative is available from the K-State Libraries website. Questions about the initiative may be directed to Turtle, Bennett or Lindshield.