/Cheaper textbooks: SGA hears from OER committee
Graphic by Bell Jackson

Cheaper textbooks: SGA hears from OER committee

By Jacob Gross

The SGA senate opened their meeting on Feb. 4 with Dr. Charlotte Ford, Director of Carmichael Library, and Dr. Lolita Kincaid, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family and Consumer Sciences, discussing the efforts to reduce college textbook and classroom material costs.  

Both Ford and Kincaid are part of UM’s Open Education Resources committee.  

OER, or open educational resources, are online free collegiate level educational resources. The goal of introducing OER is so students are not forced to buy expensive textbooks, which adds to students’ financial strain.   

Ford shared the results of the OER committee’s schoolwide survey on how much students spent on textbooks, and their opinion on Open educational resources. 328 students responded to the online survey, and 42% of respondents said that they avoided purchasing textbooks altogether. The committee plans to show the results of the survey to professors in the coming spring to incentivize them to switch to OER.  

When asked why more faculty were not using OER in class, Ford said that the faculty would lose time preparing new resources for classes because they would have to transition from textbooks that they are familiar with. Ford expressed that she wants to help faculty to attempt using OER for a class before they make a decision on whether to switch.   

For this academic year, Ford shared that their committee had received a grant from Alabama to lessen textbook costs. The library used these funds to purchase as many textbooks for general education courses as possible. These texts can be checked out for two hours at a time and can only be used in the library. 

After hearing from Ford and Kincaid, SGA had several announcements, including that The Black Heritage Committee is planning a movie night for Black History Month on Feb. 27. They will be showing “King Richard” at 3 p.m. in Palmer Auditorium.  

AnaKate Andrasko, President of SGA, announced that KFC will no longer be accepting Falcon Flex Points. She mentioned that KFC would be replaced with another restaurant but did not say what that would be.  

The senate also passed a bill that allocates funds to replace the volleyball net in the sand court, which is located by the tennis courts.  

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Jacob Gross is a writer for The Alabamian. He is an English major with a creative writing minor. He has played guitar for a few years and really enjoys painting even though he believes he is bad at it.