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CTL, biology faculty, team up to reduce textbook costs

Great news for students in our introductory biology courses:

The University of Georgia Center for Teaching and Learning is looking at ways to save students money by offering free e-textbooks for introductory biology courses at UGA through a $25,000 University System of Georgia Incubator grant awarded this summer.

UGA students who take the entry-level biology courses pay around $97 for a new biology textbook. This grant will collectively save students enrolled in these courses approximately $150,350 in the coming academic year as the project is being developed and $198,850 in subsequent years according to Eddie Watson, CTL director.

According to a 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement, more than one-third of UGA students had unmet financial needs, which contribute to attrition and graduation rates.

Like other schools in the University System of Georgia, UGA has made a commitment to meeting the goals outlined in the statewide Complete College Georgia Plan. The objective of the project, coordinated by the CTL, aims to save students money and increase access to education without impacting the quality of instruction by providing free textbooks and other learning materials through Open Education Resources, or OERs.

The CTL is working with 2013 Meigs Award recipient Peggy Brickman, along with fellow faculty members Erin Dolan and Tessa Andrews, to replace textbooks in two introductory biology courses with OERs from Openstax, a non-profit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials.

Peggy Brickman is a great educator, a true advocate for student learning and achievement. That her OER textbook "Concepts of Biology for the University of Georgia"  will be used in her sections of Biology 1103: Concepts of Biology this fall and beyond will be a boon for students in more ways than the merely financial. Though that, of course, matters. Kudos to CTL and the USG for their leadership in making textbooks more affordable.

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