Students and UT Libraries Award Faculty for Using Open Educational Resources
May 3, 2022

Each year, the Student Government Association (SGA) and the UT Libraries Open Education Working Group recognize and celebrate UT instructors who lower or eliminate the cost of textbooks through the use of Open Educational Resources (OER) and other zero-cost materials.

SGA recently announced faculty recipients of the 2022 Open Education Awards:

Biology Senior Lecturer Stephanie Madison has used OpenStax Biology in her BIOL 160 class since 2019, providing a free textbook to over 600 students and counting. To date, Madison has saved students over $60,000 in textbook costs.

Stephanie Madison

Nuclear Engineering Professor Emeritus Thomas Kerlin openly licensed his textbook Future Energy: Opportunities and Challenges, making it freely available in UT’s TRACE to environmental science students and instructors worldwide.

Thomas Kerlin (left)

ESL Istructor Charity Davenport, funded in part by a UT Libraries OER Mini-Grant, created the open textbook It’s All Greek to Me! Using Authentic Readings to Improve Knowledge of the English Language and Western Culture, which has received over 600 downloads in TRACE to date and is freely available for use in English as a Second Language classes around the globe.

Charity Davenport

UT Libraries and the UT Open Education Working Group also award one instructor each year with the OER Trailblazer distinction for leadership in open education:

Associate Professor Joel Anderson has utilized OpenStax Statistics in his NURS 511 course since 2019, saving 100+ students from having to purchase a textbook. Professor Anderson earns the 2022 UT Libraries OER Trailblazer Award for showing how OER can be effectively utilized in quantitative disciplines at the graduate level.

Joel Anderson

What do UT student leaders say about Open Educational Resources?

The Hewlett Foundation defines Open Educational Resources (OER) as “freely available, high-quality learning materials that can be downloaded, edited, and shared to better serve all students.”

SGA officers and undergraduates share why OER matter so much to students:

“OER matter because financials should never be a barrier between a student and their education.  SGA is proud to help make sure that high quality resources are free to our students. These are not just books; they are a pivotal part to the education and the learning of our student body.” —Clare Donelan, SGA President and Business Management major

“Open Educational Resources provide more accessibility to classes for students like us because of the financial savings resulting from the use of these resources. We greatly appreciate professors who choose to utilize this format in class and actively help to make college more affordable. We hope faculty will continue to expand the use of OERs in the classroom to help cultivate a learning environment where everyone can attend.” —Elliot Tillman, SGA Senator-at-Large and finance major

Faculty across campus have replaced higher-cost textbooks with OER by aligning course learning outcomes with content 1) in the public domain; 2) licensed for free use and sharing; 3) available on the Internet at zero cost to students; and 4) paid for in part through student tuition and library fees. By incorporating library collections and subscriptions like e-books, streaming videos, and academic articles, faculty take advantage of materials for which students have already paid, eliminating the need for students to purchase additional materials for a course.

If you are using an Open Textbook or other Open Educational Resources in your course, please let UT Libraries know by completing this form.

To learn more about open- and zero-cost materials for your course, contact your subject librarian. For more on OER and previous recipients of the SGA Open Education Awards, visit the UT Libraries’ Open Education Portal.