Online textbook grants save money, promote success for Georgia Gwinnett College students

Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) students will save a projected $585,000 in textbook costs, thanks to more than $66,000 in Textbook Transformation Grants. GGC faculty members will use the money to create open-source textbooks, learning materials and other resources online. 

Offered through Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG), the grant program is designed to increase the availability of affordable alternatives to traditional textbooks. Research conducted by the College Board suggests that college students paid more than $1,200 to purchase textbooks and supplies in the 2018-19 academic year.

It takes about a year to build and test the online materials according to Dr. Hyesung Park. The assistant professor of information technology, who, along with her team, earned one of the three grants awarded to GGC, said a lot goes into the creation of these resources. 

“We work to align the online books and resources to meet course outcomes, while being accessible, engaging and targeted to meet the needs of our students,” she said.
Assistant professor of information technology, Dr. Umar Khokhar and his team also earned a grant. Khokhar said the online textbooks and resource materials can contribute to student success.
“The students really like to have online materials, which they can access from anywhere,” he said. “In addition to that, no-cost solutions also save money and I believe this also increases the students’ retention as well.”

In a recent survey, students gave high marks to the online materials. 

“It’s very easy to access and I could access it anywhere, plus very organized, so I could find what I needed in a few seconds,” wrote one student.

“I like that it was written by our professors with their knowledge and experience and that there was no cost to the book,” another student wrote.

The University System of Georgia and GALILEO, Georgia’s Virtual Library, reported award amounts ranged from $2,400 to $30,000 for each project proposal. In this round of funding, GGC garnered the highest grant award total for its three projects.

GGC officials said this round of grant awards brings the college’s ALG award total to more than $370,000 and represents a total cost savings of $2.7 million for GGC students since the program began in 2015.

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