|Submission Date||June 30, 2017|
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Office of Environmental Policy
In 2015, an effort to promote the use of Open Textbooks at UConn was begun by students in the Undergraduate Student Government (USG) and UConn Public Interest Research Group (UConn PIRG). Those students, along with administrators, academic staff, faculty, and librarians formed a Task Force to further explore Affordable Textbooks. As a result of strong advocacy, awareness building, and efforts by State Representative Gregg Haddad and Senator Mae Flexer, the State Legislature passed Special Act No. 15-18, An Act Concerning the Use of Digital Open-SourceTextbooks in Higher Education (House Bill 6117). In addition, the University Senate passed a resolution put forth by the Senate Student Welfare Committee in support of the Open Textbook Initiative.
House Bill No. 6117 policy can be found here: https://www.cga.ct.gov/2015/ACT/SA/2015SA-00018-R00HB-06117-SA.htm
At UConn, a committee of faculty, students, and administrative staff has secured a grant of nearly $100,000 from the Davis Educational Foundation to introduce open textbooks on campus. The University Libraries led the effort to survey faculty about the use of open textbooks, create online workshops for faculty development, and adapt an existing general chemistry textbook. The resources are made available for a variety of disciplines, ranging from anthropology to statistics.
Since its meager beginning, the OER initiative on campus has affected several thousand students through the adoption of open textbooks and course redesigns to increase affordability. Dr. Edward Neth revised the OpenStax Chemistry textbook to the new title Atoms First Chemistry. Both OpenStax Chemistry books have since been used by more than 2000 students saving them over $200,000. Several faculty have redesigned their courses to make the materials have either no cost or very low cost. In September of 2016, the Provost added $100,000 in award money for faculty who teach large classes to adopt, adapt, or create open textbooks and the UConn Co-op, former independent bookstore at the university, gifted the UConn Library's OER Initiative with $300,000 for future development of open on campus. We have awarded grants to about 15 faculty for adoptions, adaptations, and creation of new textbooks which will be shared with the world when they are completed.
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