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Professors team up with West Library to save students thousands of dollars on textbooks

Kehinde Hopkins
Flyers are posted throughout campus to highlight professors who have saved their students money through implementing open education resources in their curriculum.

Throughout the fall and spring semesters, the library and its staff have encouraged professors to adjust their curriculum and use open education resources to make their classes more affordable and accessible for students.  

Open education resources (OER) are openly licensed resources such as textbooks, syllabi and online tools that are of low to no cost for students. The West Library has launched a Textbook Heroes campaign to highlight professors who have saved students money by implementing OER. Flyers and posters were hung throughout campus to showcase specific professors and the amount of money they’ve saved students.  

Digital Initiatives Librarian Meagan Morris played a big role in implementing the campaign. 

“Being a textbook hero just means that you’re saving your students money,” Morris said. “We want to showcase and show to the students that there are instructors doing their best to make it easy for them and lift the financial burden.” 

Textbook Heroes was launched to commemorate open education week. According to the Open Education Global website, the week is celebrated March 7-11 and works to raise awareness and highlight innovative open education successes worldwide. Collections Management Librarian Arielle Vaverka is the organizer for open education resources at TXWES.  

“The movement is spreading, and quality materials are being made because people are jumping on the bandwagon,” Veverka said. “The Textbook Heroes campaign is just a small microcosm of what’s happening on a larger scale.” 

As part of the Sid Richardson Student Retention Grant awarded to Texas Wesleyan, professors were given the funding to adopt, adapt and even create OER textbooks for the use of both their own students and students worldwide.  

“[Textbook costs] can be make or break for [students’] grades, retention and their ability to stick with a class and actually be successful with it,” Veverka said.  

Library director Elizabeth Howard held similar sentiments.  

“Textbook Heroes are heroes because they are working hard to make college more affordable for our students,” Howard said. “They are reducing the cost of attending college and making it easier for students to stay and graduate.” 

Dr. Carl Smeller, chair of the department of literature and associate professor of English and humanities, is among the professors highlighted by the Textbook Heroes campaign. He saved his Composition II students $1,065 through OER textbooks.  

“I really needed a textbook, so finding [an OER textbook] was really useful,” Smeller said. “I’ve always tried to [make my classes more affordable] in the time that I’ve been teaching here because most of our students don’t come from families that can afford to shell out a lot of money for textbooks.” 

Along with encouraging open education resources, the library and its staff make efforts to save students money in other ways. The library offers textbooks, calculators and chargers for students to check out, a laptop kiosk, free academic articles and journals, paid services such as Grammarly+ and Office 365, and finally, an inter-library loan service and purchase request forms to acquire resources not yet available at the West Library. Visit the West Library circulation desk for more information.  

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About the Contributor
Kehinde Hopkins, Content Producer
Kehinde Hopkins is a freshman English and Mass Communication major at Texas Wesleyan University. Born and raised in Dallas, Kehinde is also a player on the Texas Wesleyan Men's Soccer Team. Deeply fascinated by the boundless gift that is writing, working for the Rambler has afforded him a platform to exercise such. After graduating, he hopes to become a music journalist to further explore his relationship with writing.

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