East Georgia State College recently received an Affordable Learning Georgia grant from the University System of Georgia. The mission of Affordable Learning Georgia is to promote student success and foster educational equity through supporting the adoption, adaptation, and creation of affordable and open educational resources by USG faculty and professional staff. Since its initiation, the ALG program has saved students more than $60 million, and EGSC was part of this over the years through different departmental grants. Faculty members at EGSC, Dr. Martiana Sega and Dr. Jimmy Wedincamp, applied for the grant that will give access to materials at a lower cost for students. This access contributes to student retention, progression, and graduation.
Introductory Biology, a high enrollment non-major course, will be the focus of this project. In a survey in the Fall of 2020, 97 percent of students in the Biology 1103 course agreed that having a free online textbook would be beneficial. Not having to purchase a textbook for the class will also help students with the financial burden of college. Another important aspect is that all materials are designed with students in mind and licensed under a Creative Commons license. This allows everyone at EGSC or other colleges to modify the materials with the final goal of customizing the information to achieve maximum results.
“This grant is the third ALG grant that Dr. Sega received from the University System of Georgia. Her commitment to promote and use no cost textbooks is outstanding. The combined experience of both Drs. Sega and Wedincamp will assure the success of this grant and will save EGSC students money,” said Dr. David Chevalier, the Interim Dean of the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at EGSC.
The goals of this project include creating learning objectives covered in the Biology 1103 course, develop learning activities, create or find other materials like videos and PowerPoints to include, and develop assessment tools to measure the learning outcomes.
Dr. Martiana Sega and Dr. Jimmy Wedincamp are currently developing materials for students that will fulfill the goals of this project.
EGSC plans to implement the use of the textbook and materials to classes beginning in the Fall of 2021.