Free biology texts a boon for students
The Center for Teaching and Learning is offering free e-textbooks for introductory biology courses at UGA, using a $25,000 University System of Georgia Incubator grant.
A new biology textbook costs about $97. The grant could collectively save students enrolled in these courses $150,350 over the coming year. The ebooks are part of UGA’s commitment to the statewide Complete College Georgia Plan, an effort to retain and graduate students in a state college or university.
The CTL is working with 2013 Meigs Award recipient Peggy Brickman and fellow faculty members to replace bound textbooks in two introductory biology courses with texts online. Brickman’s textbook “University of Georgia Concepts of Biology” can be found at https://openstaxcollege.org/pages/GeorgiaBiology and will be used in her sections of Biology 1103: Concepts of Biology this fall and beyond. The team is currently preparing material for Biology 1104 that will be taught in the spring semester.
Called Open Education Resources (OERs), the learning materials are in the public domain with open copyright licenses that are available at no cost to faculty, students or the institution. Materials are authored by highly regarded faculty from peer and aspirant institutions. Content is reviewed in the same manner as printed textbooks. Because content is accessible online, the texts provide a foundation for faculty course development.
The USG Incubator grant provides early-stage funding and other support for innovative institutional, multi-institutional or regional level projects aimed at increasing college completion. In addition to funding, the grant will place a strong emphasis on sharing promising practices and methods growing from these projects.