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Campus-wide effort targets student textbook costs

BUS 101 adopts free open educational resource in place of traditional textbook

Written by Vince Frieden, Coordinator of Strategic Communications, University Libraries
Video by Nick Kneer, Communications Specialist, University Libraries

Carla Myers still remembers that sinking feeling she experienced each fall as an undergraduate leaving her campus bookstore.Carla Myers, scholarly communications coordinator for Miami University Libraries, views the customized open educational resource textbook she helped Business 101 instructor Cindy Oakenfull adopt.

“I put myself through college, and I remember working all these jobs during the summer to have enough money,” Myers recalled. “I’d pay my tuition bill with a little money left over, and then I’d leave the bookstore in tears because I didn't have enough to cover all my textbooks. It was frustrating and disappointing for someone who really wanted to be a good student.”

Now the coordinator of scholarly communications within the Miami University Libraries, Myers finds herself part of a collaborative effort – involving faculty, the Provost’s Office and counterparts in the University Libraries – to minimize the financial impact of textbooks and course materials on Miami’s students.

These efforts come at a time when families are struggling with the rising costs of higher education and as rampant inflation in the textbook industry is outpacing that of even medical care.

“In order to offer an extraordinary educational experience, we need a diverse array of learners who come from all backgrounds, including varying family incomes,” Associate Provost Carolyn Haynes noted. “To gain that diversity, we are committed to doing everything we can to reduce the overall cost of a college education. That includes reducing textbook costs, which have risen by 1,000 percent over the past four decades.”

Exploring affordable alternatives

Central to this focus is the promotion and adoption of Open Educational Resources (OERs), educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of OERs means that anyone can legally copy, use, adapt and re-share them at no cost. 

To date, Miami’s textbook affordability efforts have included the formation of a faculty Open Educational Resource/Affordability Committee and the introduction of a series of grant-eligible OER faculty programs to inform, encourage and support faculty in exploring, implementing and even creating OER options.

Those efforts registered a signature achievement at the start of the fall semester when the BUS 101 Foundations of Business course – a First-Year Integrated Core course enrolling an estimated 600 students per semester – adopted an OER in place of a traditional textbook. Cindy Oakenfull, assistant lecturer within the Farmer School of Business and the faculty-lead for BUS 101, collaborated with Myers and business librarian Susan Hurst during the summer to identify and customize the OER.

Cindy Oakenfull

“In selecting the textbook for Business 101 and realizing that the cost of those materials was going to affect 1,000-plus students, we were really challenged to think about how we could reduce that financial impact,” Oakenfull said. “The OER options available were equal if not superior to the ones I reviewed from various publishers. When you combine the quality of the material with the ability to customize it specifically for our needs and the cost savings, it was really an easy choice.”

A customized version of the OER, featuring only the chapters needed for the course, is available for students to download via the university’s Canvas platform. Students can read the text online, download and print it, or even have a version professionally printed at a fraction of the cost of a traditional textbook.

Building momentum

The concept is catching on. According to Haynes, faculty are utilizing OERs and related alternatives to eliminate or dramatically reduce course material costs in more than 20 courses. OERs are not an option for every course, and the Libraries also support alternatives:King Library

  • Textbooks on Reserve: Textbooks for many of Miami’s most enrolled classes are available for checkout at University Libraries’ locations. This program is possible through a combination of faculty placing extra copies of their textbooks on reserve and #MoveInMiami donor support.
     
  • Course Pack Consultation Service: Supports faculty in replacing printed readings-based course packs with materials that are already freely accessible through Libraries' resources.
     
  • Alternate Textbook Program: Assists faculty in developing a reading list of resources freely available through the University Libraries’ purchased electronic collections, legal online resources and selections made in compliance with U.S. copyright law.

Regardless of the means, the outcome of an affordable, quality education matters to Miami students.

This past summer, the Associated Student Government co-presented the inaugural Affordable Education Leader Award to Andrew Paluch, assistant professor of chemical, paper and biomedical engineering, who created his own free, open resource textbook for a computational methods course. According to Paluch, the goal is about more than dollars and cents.

“My driving force in coming to Miami was the dedication to undergraduate education,” Paluch said. “My perspective is not necessarily that this is me saving students money. This is a resource or tool we can develop to improve the education of our students and ensure they have access to the resources they need ... I see Miami as a place where we can excel in this field and be national leaders. ”

To learn more about textbook and course material affordability options, contact Carla Myers, coordinator of scholarly communications, at myersc2@MiamiOH.edu or 513-529-3935.

 

Libraries offer free access to The Wall Street Journal

Active your free Wall Street Journal membershipFor the first time, the Miami University Libraries are pleased to offer complimentary electronic memberships to The Wall Street Journal for all current students, faculty and staff.

With access to the world’s latest news, business insight, and expert commentary, every reader has the power to fuel their ambition with The Wall Street Journal. Each activated account comes with access to WSJ.com, the WSJ mobile app, curated newsletters, and WSJ+, an exclusive experience with access to special events, discounts, and travel destinations.

Miami students, faculty and staff can activate their complimentary membership by visiting WSJ.com/MiamiOH, logging into the school portal and creating an account on the registration page. 

Those who currently pay for membership may call 1-800-JOURNAL, and mention they are switching to their membership provided by Miami University of Ohio. Partial refunds will be dispersed.

The University Libraries reach beyond physical walls by creating 24/7 online access to more than 500 online databases, journals and more. Students, faculty and staff can also create free online accounts for the New York Times.

The world is truly at your fingertips.

Next Game Night set for Sept. 29 at Wertz Art & Architecture Library

Library Game Nights

4 reasons you should check out a Libraries Game Night

The University Libraries are opening up the games collection and supplying free food for five Library Game Nights this fall. Join in the fun with your fellow Miamians and choose from a large variety of board, tabletop, and card games from classic to contemporary. No experience is required, and all students, faculty, staff and families are welcome.

The schedule of remaining Game Nights follows:

Students play board games at tables in Wertz Art & Architecture Library in Alumni Hall

Saturday, Sept. 29 – 6-10 p.m.
Wertz Art & Architecture Library (7 Alumni Hall)

Friday, Oct. 19 – 6-10 p.m.
B.E.S.T. Library (Laws Hall)

Saturday, Nov. 10 – 4 p.m. - midnight
King Library

Saturday, Dec. 1 – 6-10 p.m.
B.E.S.T. Library (Laws Hall)

In case you need convincing, here are four reasons to check out a Library Game Night:

  1. Game Nights travel to each Miami University library
    Miami University is home to four library locations, all with their unique features and specialties. As you visit for a Game Night, you might end up finding your new favorite study spot.
  2. There’s great – and free – food
    Every proper game night features great food, and the Libraries’ Game Nights are no exception. To fuel your gaming session, we’re providing a variety of free food and snacks.
  3. Everyone’s welcome
    These laid-back events are great for both beginners and experienced players – just pull up a chair and join the fun. Libraries staff will be happy to help set up and explain games.
  4. You can continue the fun after the night is over
    If you find your new favorite game at a Game Night, chances are you can check it out from the Library. The Instructional Materials Center (IMC) in King Library maintains a collection of games available for checkout.

Libraries post another strong MoveInMiami showing

#MoveInMiami: They unpack. We give back. August 23, 2018. 20 hours and 22 minutes. 2,022 donors. One amazing day of Love and Honor! MoveInMiami.org

The Miami University Libraries posted another strong showing during the #MoveInMiami day-of-giving campaign, with preliminary numbers showing 70-plus donors contributing more than $9,000 to Libraries’ funding priorities.

Processing on the more than 4,400 gifts received during the overall #MoveInMiami effort continues, and the final Libraries total is expected to trend higher. Over the past four years, donors have contributed more than $30,000 to Libraries funds and initiatives during #MoveInMiami.

The bulk of this generosity has been dedicated to the Textbook Initiative, which purchases textbooks for high-enrollment courses and makes them available via checkout to students, and the Technology Support Fund, which enhances the technology resources the Libraries are able to make available to students.

“Each year I’m amazed at the contributions our donors are willing to step up and provide to the University Libraries,” said Jerome Conley, dean and university librarian. “We want to provide our students the opportunity to succeed in all their chosen fields of human endeavor, and thanks to your support, we are able to make those dreams come true.”

To learn more about #MoveInMiami and its university-wide impact, visit MoveInMiami.org.

8 ways your University Libraries give you a competitive edge

Welcome, class of 2022!

By Vince Frieden, strategic communications coordinator, University Libraries

Congratulations to the Class of 2022 on your admission into Miami University and the start of what will be four tremendous years of learning, personal growth, and great friends and memories.

Of course, the transition to college and the intensity of college-level classes and coursework can be daunting at times. That’s why we are here – to serve you and ensure you have what you need to thrive academically and for the rest of your lives. We stand ready to meet you where you are and help guide you to where you want to be.

Start marking your calendars for the Libraries' fall workshop series. We're here to kick start your academic success with tips and resources on citing sources, avoiding plagiarism, spotting fake news and more.

In the meantime, prepare yourself with our first-year student LibGuide and these eight great ways the University Libraries can help you ace the next four years.

  1. Your new best friend. You don’t have to be a research ninja to step into our dojo. We’ve got a librarian specializing in just about any subject you can imagine, and our famously friendly staff lives to connect you with the guidance and resources you need. All you’ve got to do is ASK US.
     
  2. We offer a world of resources … literally. If we don’t have that book, article or other media you’re looking for within our catalog, we can track it down and get it to you. We’ve gone all the way to Australia to track down that hard-to-find article!
     
  3. Check the tech. From basics like phone chargers, laptops and iPads to cameras and tripods, the Libraries offer a range of technologies for checkout. Our in-house computers and labs also offer free access to many of the high-end, specialty software you need. We even offer 3D printing!
     
  4. Not just brick and mortar. Our University Libraries are at your fingertips, wherever and whenever you are. In addition to the ability to chat online with our librarians, our website offers access to more than 500 online databases to enhance your research.
     
  5. Before you buy that textbook … Textbooks for many of Miami’s most popular courses are available for in-library checkout. If buying that textbook is going to be a stretch financially, check with us first to see if we have it available.
     
  6. A space that’s just right. From the energetic buzz of King Café’ to the quiet study areas in each of our four branch locations, there is a library space made for you. Need to get together on a group project? Reserve one of our study rooms.
     
  7. Four great locations. King Library is, well … (you made it into Miami, so we’ll let you fill in the blank), but there are also three other great locations that offer our core library services and their own unique vibes and collections. King is there for you 24/7, but don’t let four years pass without checking out our other great locations.
  8. Follow us! Get great tips from our librarians and updates about upcoming events and workshops by following the University Libraries on social media – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

Kick start your academic success with the Libraries’ fall workshop series

Fall workshop series offers tips and tools for scholarly success

The Miami University Libraries have teamed up with the Rinella Learning Center and are here to support your scholarly pursuits with a series of nine workshops covering a wide range of topics from citing sources and navigating copyright law to mobile apps and 3D printing.

The series kicked off with “Apps for Academic Success” on Wednesday, Aug. 29 and runs through Oct. 10, when it concludes with “Present like a Pro.” Pre-registration is available through the Rinella Learning Center, but please feel free to drop by!

The schedule of remaining workshops follows:

How Not to Cheat
Wednesday, Sept. 26 – 5-6 p.m.
King AIS (134)
Are you terrified of accidentally plagiarizing parts of your research paper? Do you wonder if you’re citing correctly or citing enough? Put your mind at ease with “How Not to Cheat,” where we’ll cover how to properly cite sources and avoid plagiarism.

Citing in APA Style
Monday, Oct. 1 – 5-6 p.m.
B.E.S.T. Library (Laws 116)
New to using the American Psychological Association (APA) citation style? We’ll take you step-by-step through this method of citing sources.

Citing in MLA Style
Wednesday, Oct. 3 – 5-6 p.m.
King AIS (134)
New to using the Modern Language Association (MLA) citation style? We’ll take you step-by-step through this method of citing sources.

Present like a Pro
Wednesday, Oct. 10 – 5-6 p.m.
King AIS (134)
Does the thought of giving a presentation keep you up at night? What about speaking on behalf of your group in class, or taking a leadership role in your club or organization that requires speaking skills? If any of these scenarios give you nightmares, never fear! This workshop introduces strategies and resources for improving your communication and leadership skills. You’ll leave well on your way to presenting like a pro.

Help MOVE the University Libraries on Thursday, August 23

#MoveInMiami: They unpack. We give back. August 23, 2018. 20 hours and 22 minutes. 2,022 donors. One amazing day of Love and Honor! MoveInMiami.org

The big day is here! 

Regardless of the time and the tool, the heart of our University Libraries remains the same. We reach beyond majors (and the ability to pay) to empower our students with the resources and skills they need to thrive academically and for the rest of their lives.

We are excited to offer two great initiatives for your #MoveInMiami consideration:


Give to the Libraries Textbook Initiative: Save dozens of students hundreds of dollars each by contributing toward the acquisition of high-demand textbooks to be made available for checkout. Our goal is 50 donors. Learn about the Textbook Initiative!

Give to the Libraries Technology Support Fund/Laser-cutter/engraver: Yes, we're buying a laser. Enhance the cutting-edge technology our students can access by contributing to this exciting tool and its many possibilities, which benefit students from a variety of majors. See this amazing tool in action!

To learn more about #MoveInMiami and track the campaign’s overall success, visit MoveInMiami.org.

Morgan announced as social sciences librarian

Morgan announced as social sciences librarian

by Nick Kneer, communications specialist

 

The Miami University Libraries are pleased to welcome Abi Morgan to the Advise & Instruct Department, where she began as social sciences librarian on July 2.

Morgan provides library services including consultation, instruction and collection development for faculty and students in social sciences departments across the College of Education, Health, and Society; the Farmer School of Business; and the College of Arts and Sciences.

“We’re excited to be able to position the library to provide additional subject specialist capacity for the Farmer School of Business as well as the Department of Teacher Education,” said Kevin Messner, head of Advise & Instruct.

Morgan holds a bachelor’s in history and anthropology from Ohio University, a master’s in library and information science from the University of Maryland, College Park and a master’s in adolescent and young adult education from Ohio University. She most recently served as senior library technician at Miami’s Wertz Art & Architecture Library since July 2017.

Prior to joining Miami, Morgan worked as librarian and project manager with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and served as interim Upper School library assistant at Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. She also taught World Studies and U.S. History as a long-term substitute at Miller High School.

“Abi has a terrific breadth of experience in the applied social sciences between her classroom experience in middle and high school teaching and her prior role as a federal government librarian. It is a bonus that she starts her new role already acquainted with Miami and the library system,” said Messner.

“This role is a wonderful opportunity to utilize all my previous work experiences and enhance my connections with the great library team at Miami. I’m excited to spend more time on instruction and to collaborate with students, faculty and staff on their research,” said Morgan.

Morgan works out of B.E.S.T. Library in 219E Laws Hall and can be reached at morgan55@miamioh.edu or 529-2789.

New Special Collections exhibit explores Miami during Cold War era

We Were There

Miami in the Cold War

From the threat of nuclear war to Korea and Vietnam to unrest on campus, the Cold War years marked a notable and turbulent time in Miami University history.

A new exhibit in the Walter Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives, located in King Library 321, explores the various chapters and sides of this era through photos, letters, memorabilia and even a children’s game.

In this three-minute video, Elizabeth Maurer, library technician in the Havighurst Special Collections & University Archives, introduces “We Were There: Miami in the Cold War” and talks about a few notable items and their place in Miami history.

“We Were There: Miami in the Cold War” is available for viewing – free of charge – in King Library room 321. The Havighurst Special Collections and University Archives are open 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Monday-Friday.

Libraries announce addition of two student success librarians

Libraries announce addition of two student success librarians

By Vince Frieden, strategic communications coordinator

With a renewed focus on connecting with new students and bolstering support of other key student constituencies, the Miami University Libraries are excited to announce the hiring of two new student success librarians within the Advise & Instruct Department.

Laura Birkenhauer, a 2010 Miami alumna who began with the University Libraries in 2011, assumes the role of student success librarian for campus engagement. Nate Floyd, an academic resident librarian at Miami since 2017 continues his Miami Libraries’ tenure as student success librarian for foundational learning. Both began their new roles on June 1.

“The emphasis on student success and engagement is not new to the University Libraries,” said Lindsay Miller, assistant head of Advise & Instruct. “These new positions increase our capacity to create meaningful, welcoming and supportive experiences for students engaging with Miami’s library services and resources. Their voices also will represent the Libraries in campus-wide discussions about student success.”

As student success librarian for campus engagement, Birkenhauer supports students via classroom instruction, workshops, events and other initiatives. She will collaborate closely with campus partners to enhance student engagement, success and academic well-being. The role seeks to enhance outreach to key campus constituencies, including first-generation students, international students, veterans and others.

Birkenhauer holds a bachelor’s from Miami and an M.L.I.S. from Kent State University. She joined the University Libraries as a senior library technician in 2011 and has served as academic resident librarian since October 2016. Much of her residency was dedicated to providing instruction, developing innovative programming and fostering campus partnerships to better serve first-year and at-risk student populations.

“Laura has already demonstrated her ability to thrive in this role,” Miller said. “She brings high levels of professionalism and enthusiasm to the position, and we are excited both by the ideas she brings to the table and her demonstrated ability to turn great ideas into realities.”

Birkenhauer works out of 214 King Library and can be reached at crosbylm@MiamiOH.edu or 529-4148.

As student success librarian for foundational learning, Floyd supports the student transition from high school to college with a focus on integrating research skills and information literacy into the first-year student curriculum. He will also build upon programming and services that orient students to the University Libraries and engage them as active users of library resources.

Floyd holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Marshall University, an M.L.S. from Indiana University, and is nearing completion of a doctorate in mass communication from IU. For the past year, he has served the Miami Libraries by developing instructional sessions in information and media literacy.

“Nate’s interest, experience and enthusiasm make him a great addition,” Miller said. “His background in information literacy and journalism allow him to introduce and instill these skills to students in interactive and engaging ways. He has been impressive in the ways he has been able to keep up with and adapt to how changes in technology are reshaping this landscape.”

Floyd works out of 215 King Library and can be reached at floydns@MiamiOH.edu or 529-4187.

“We are excited about these hires and the directions in which they will lead the futures of the Miami University Libraries and the Advise & Instruct department,” said Kevin Messner, head, Advise & Instruct. “Nate and Laura both offer insightful perspectives and direct experience in relation to student needs in and outside the classroom. Their roles and their abilities will actively build and contribute to Libraries’ and university programming.”