Grant award allows class to throw out the textbook
GHC class throws out the textbook
Rome – Oct. 20, 2014
Affordable Learning Georgia, a University System of Georgia initiative, awarded grant money to Georgia Highlands College for the redesign of one of its classes toward the use of more free open resource learning materials. The freshman college studies —FCST 1010—class is a 10-week course that strives to teach students skills relevant to achieving success in college such as time management, organizational and test‐taking skills.
Sarah Hepler, GHC director of faculty academy in the department of eLearning , and Kim Wheeler, GHC director of first year experience, applied for the money in an effort to create a GHC-specific, student-centered, accessible course that utilizes free online materials instead of requiring students to purchase a textbook.
In their proposal, Hepler and Wheeler said, “Most of the books offered for freshman college studies courses lack the vast range of topics covered in this course. Those textbooks, which do cover these topics, are often found to be unengaging for today’s college student. In addition, many FCST 1010 students are reluctant to purchase a textbook for a course that does not last for the duration of a 16-week semester.”
The $10,800 grant will be used to create visually rich, free course materials for GHC's FCST students.
Hepler said, “Open educational resources are extremely relevant in our current climate of institutional budget cuts and increasing student debt.”
Sixty percent of GHC students enroll in FCST 1010, which is a required course for students taking learning support classes. The course has improved retention rates among learning support students and was one of the first GHC classes to incorporate an open resource textbook.
Wheeler said, “Through this new course redesign, Sarah and I hope to save the FCST students of Georgia Highlands money by providing free course materials. In addition, we hope to add flair to the materials by making them relevant to today's college student. Lastly, we would like to be innovators for our institution.”
According to its website, Affordable Learning Georgia works to make educational resources more affordable for USG students and, therefore, increase access to a college education. ALG accomplishes its goal through implementing open educational resource use.
Hepler said, “Due to the fact that FCST 1010 is related to achieving success in college, work and life, a course without a book is a great way to provide a contextual experience for our particular population of students. In addition, the USG is supporting this initiative both financially and philosophically.”