South Georgia State College

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Sara Selby, Molly Smith Awarded Second Grant From Affordable Learning Georgia

Two South Georgia State College (SGSC) faculty members have been awarded a second Textbook Transformation Grant from Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG).

Sara Selby, professor of English and academic affairs projects specialist, and Dr. Molly Smith, professor of biology, are using the funding to create an OpenStax textbook for Smith’s microbiology class. The goal of the project is to make the course content, and its delivery, geared more to students studying in allied health fields.

“Traditional microbiology texts are typically too rigorous and massive for students in allied health fields, particularly for a one-semester course offering,” Smith wrote in the pair’s grant proposal. “Instructors generally end up rewriting the text or using only a fraction of the chapters offered.”

Selby and Smith are currently “remixing” the traditional microbiology textbook content with content Smith plans to use, including laboratory materials, in order to better assist this particular student demographic. In addition, the delivery of content will switch to a hybrid format, or 50-50 split between face-to-face and online instruction.

“Allied health students are usually working in an allied health field already,” said Smith. “Transferring this course to a hybrid delivery will be advantageous for them, because it cuts down on physical class time.”

Selby projects the new hybrid format will benefit SGSC as well through increased enrollment.

“The current class size is constrained by lab space, and each semester the class enrollment reaches its maximum early in the registration period,” Selby wrote. “A blended (hybrid) format with multiple lab sections to accompany it will extend the enrollment possibilities.”

According to Selby, multiple lab sections will also allow students to get the classes they need in order to stay on track to graduate.

Smith said the new hybrid course and remixed textbook are projected to be offered during the fall 2017 semester.

ALG is an initiative of the University System of Georgia and California State University. Its purpose is “to promote student success by providing affordable textbook alternatives.” According to the ALG website, 266,412 USG students have saved approximately $35.1 million in textbook expenses since the initiative’s inception in Fiscal Year 2015. For the fall 2016 semester, 1,471 SGSC students saved a total of $319,660.42 in textbook expenses.

Selby and Smith were awarded their first Textbook Transformation Grant in 2015, which allowed them to create the electronic Instructor’s Guide to Concepts of Biology.

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PHOTO: (L-R) Dr. Molly Smith, Sara Selby