University of Texas at Arlington

Scholarly Communication

News blog

Calling All Textbook Heroes

by Michelle Reed May 5, 2017
Textbook Hero

During Open Education Week, an international celebration of the impact open education has on teaching and learning, UTA Libraries asked students to nominate a Textbook Hero for a chance to win a $50 gift card. Our Textbook Heroes are teachers whose thoughtful selection of free or low-cost educational resources has a positive impact on UTA students. We’re excited to announce that Ellen Dinh is our first gift card winner for her nomination of Dr. Jonathan Abel.

Dr. Jonathan Abel, Adjunct Instructor, Department of HistoryDr. Abel uses U.S. History, an open textbook published by OpenStax, in his History 1311 and 1312 courses. The digital version of the book is free, though students who prefer a bound hard copy can purchase one for ~ $50. Since adopting the book in his courses this semester, Dr. Abel has saved students an estimated $25,000. “I never used textbooks when I was an undergraduate if I could avoid it, in large part because of the cost and their lack of utility,” Dr. Abel said. “I want to pass that on to students in my classes, and the availability of open source books on makes that easy and simple.  Their US History text is peer-reviewed and just as effective as a traditional, paid text.  Basically, I don't believe students should have to buy a book that the course will not use as a primary teaching medium - it's just a bad ROI.”

UTA Libraries are delighted to include Dr. Abel in our first cohort of UTA Textbook Heroes, and we’re looking for more teachers who have adopted similar resources in their courses. If you’re a UTA instructor who uses open educational resources or other affordable options in your course(s), please tell us about it. If you haven’t used these types of resources in your course but are interested in giving them a shot, take a look at the Libraries’ new UTA CARES grant program, which provides up to $5,000 to support projects that advance the practice of open education.

If you’re a student who has taken classes with teachers who saved you money on textbooks, nominate them as a Textbook Hero for a chance to win a $50 gift card. Nominations will be accepted until 4 p.m. on Friday, May 12, via our online form or Twitter using #UTAtextbookhero. Be sure to include a description of how you were impacted by the use of free or low-cost resources. A winner will be announced shortly after nominations close.