Driving Student Success through Affordable Course Material Symposium To Be Held on March 8

Indiana University Bloomington undergraduate students are estimated to pay $1,034 for course materials each academic year. Said another way, students must work 142 hours at a minimum wage job to purchase their course materials each year. Thus, high course material costs directly impact first generation, food-insecure, and low-income students and their ability to do well in class.

IUB students are estimated to pay $1,034 for books and supplies for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Be part of the solution: http://bit.ly/IUAffordableTextbooks

Image created by IU Press

A national survey of over 2,000 students found that if students cannot afford course materials, 65% of them will avoid renting or buying texts even though they know it may possibly impact their overall success in a course. Almost half of the students surveyed said that the cost of textbooks also “impacted how many/ which classes they took each semester,” potentially affecting student course loads and degree progression (pg. 5).

Affordable and open course materials offer a potential solution to this issue. Affordable course materials are offered to students at a reduced price, often at a fraction of what they would normally pay. IU’s eText program has helped IU instructors integrate affordable course material into their classrooms since 2010. Students play a reduced, flat fee for their eTexts and they are guaranteed access on the first day of the semester, increasing engagement for the entire class. Students retain access to eTexts throughout their time as an IU student.

Similarly, Open Educational Resources (OER) are course materials that are shared under an intellectual property license that explicitly allows others to use and revise them freely. Examples of OER include textbooks, videos, activities, syllabi, and lectures shared under a Creative Commons license. In addition to cost savings, OER have been connected to student retention and completion. A study at Virginia State University found that students who took courses that utilized OER “tended to have higher grades and lower failing and withdrawal rates.” Thus, affordable and open course materials save students money while also helping instructors improve learning outcomes.

Still, many faculty do not know how to find, evaluate, or create affordable and open course material. The Office of Scholarly Publishing and UITS have partnered to hold a day-long Driving Student Success through Affordable Course Material Symposium on March 8, which will explore the connection between course material costs and student success, progression, and retention. The symposium will feature three experts on affordable course material from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Steel Wagstaff (Educational Technology Consultant), Kris Olds (Professor of Geography), and Carrie Nelson (Librarian and Director of Scholarly Communication) will share their experience locating, creating, assessing, and integrating OER and affordable course material into courses in several disciplines.

Morning workshops will explore tools and repositories for finding and creating affordable course materials firsthand. The afternoon panel will provide an overview of current initiatives at IU and UW-Madison and address how course material costs impact students in more depth. The day will conclude with an informal reception, where attendees can meet one-on-one with IU experts to get started on adopting or creating affordable course material in their own courses.

All IU Bloomington instructors interested in course material creation, new forms of pedagogy, and tools for finding and evaluating affordable/ open content are welcome! Space is limited and registration is required by February 16, as lunch is provided.

Instructors interested in working with the Office of Scholarly Publishing to find or create either OER or eTexts can e-mail iusw@indiana.edu.

The Importance of Undergraduate Student Research at IU

This semester I had the privilege of teaching “Academic Editing and Publishing,” a one-credit hour course for the Indiana University Journal of Undergraduate Research (IUJUR) student editorial board. I co-taught the course with a current undergraduate student and the former editor-in-chief of IUJUR, Sonali Mali. The purpose of the course was twofold: to give students a practical skillset for publishing a multidisciplinary undergraduate scholarly journal at Indiana University while also informing students of larger conceptual academic publishing issues.

Striking a balance between practical fundamentals—for example, learning the ins and outs of our publishing platform and evaluating submissions using IUJUR-specific rubrics—with larger concepts was sometimes challenging. Overall, I think that students appreciated the authentic learning experiences that resulted from using an active journal as a tangible example throughout the course.

I learned a lot about myself as an instructor and the importance of librarian perspectives in undergraduate publishing education. Library publishers are experts in ethical publishing practices, open access funding, and various peer review models. Students were most passionate when we discussed the cost of information, open access publishing, and new publishing innovations, including post-publication peer review, data publishing, and including 3D and media in traditional journal publishing. I was excited to talk about these developments in the context of the work that IU Libraries is pursuing and several of the case studies we discussed in class were pulled from work that the Office of Scholarly Publishing (OSP) and IU Press is currently engaged in. 

The Importance of Undergraduate Research

Throughout the course, I learned about the importance of undergraduate research and the integral role that IUJUR editors play as ambassadors for undergraduate research at Indiana University. I kicked off the first session of our course with asking students to articulate why undergraduate research was important. Students shared that IUJUR gave IU students a voice and presence on a research-intensive campus. They explained that an institutional commitment to undergraduate research provided space for all students to ask their own research questions and share their perspectives. They also noted that IUJUR gives student editors and authors access to faculty advisors, tangible career preparation, and opportunities to refine their voice and collaboration skills. Here were a few of my favorite responses from this activity:
undergrad research primes a generation of future researchers

prepares students for grad school and beyond

gives students the ability to take a proactive role in shaping the research climate on campus

These responses align with the growing body of literature that discusses how impactful and effective undergraduate research is. The Council on Undergraduate Research supports institutions of all sizes and missions that provide some kind of undergraduate research opportunity for faculty and students to collaborate on. They have a variety of publications, many of which are freely available to access. Some of the benefits of intensive undergraduate research that CUR has identified include:

Enhances student learning through mentoring relationships with faculty

Increases retention

Increases enrollment in graduate education and provides effective career preparation

Develops critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and intellectual independence

Develops an understanding of research methodology

Promotes an innovation-oriented culture

Similarly, undergraduate research has been called a “high-impact practice” or HIP. George Kuh wrote a landmark paper for the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AACU) on high-impact educational practices in 2008. When researching why intensive undergraduate research, service learning, learning communities, and other learning opportunities were particularly effective, he found several similarities between HIPs (pgs. 14-17), including:

An extensive investment from students

Interaction and relationship building between peers and with faculty to solve “substantive” or real-world problems

Exposure to diverse perspectives and viewpoints

Consistent feedback to foster improvement and growth 

Kuh’s list applies to the intensive work that IUJUR authors and editors do to publish a multidisciplinary journal regularly.

Throughout the course I always tried to come back to our first session and the reasons that students identified for why undergraduate research is important. I can now articulate that the product–the final research output that others can read and cite–is only a piece of the puzzle. The process that IUJUR student editors and authors go through is just as fundamental. The process is where learning takes place. It’s where we train future researchers, scholars, and citizens to think critically about access to research and how we evaluate scholarship. It’s where we build relationships with students that transform their future career paths and broaden and enhance their existing interests. I am thankful to play a small part in the IUJUR student editors’ process and be part of a campus that prioritizes undergraduate research.

Additional resources:

Additional reading on undergraduate research journals:

  • Dawson, D. D., & Marken, L. (2017). Undergraduate Research Journals: Benefits and Good Practices of Involving Students in Content Creation and Other Scholarly Communication Activities. WILU 2017 Conference, University of Alberta. https://ecommons.usask.ca/handle/10388/7899
  • Riehle, C. F. (2014). Collaborators in Course Design: A Librarian and Publisher at the Intersection of Information Literacy and Scholarly Communication. In 2014 LOEX Conference Proceedings. http://docs.lib.purdue.edu/lib_fsdocs/119/
  • Weiner, S., & Watkinson, C. (2014). What do students learn from participation in an undergraduate research journal? Results of an assessment. Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication, 2(2). http://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.1125

Welcome Olivia Wikle and Alex Moon to our staff

We are happy to announce that two interns — Olivia Wikle and Alex Moon — will be joining our staff for the Spring 2018 semester.

Image 1: Photo of Olivia WikleOlivia has a background in digital humanities,
with a special interest in the intersection of literature and music in late eighteenth-century Britain. She will contribute to many of the different pieces that comprise the Scholarly Communication Department’s digital scholarship and publishing programs. Olivia received her M.A. in Musicology from The Ohio State University in 2016 and will complete her Master of Library Science with a specialization in Digital Humanities at Indiana University in May 2018. Olivia also serves as Treasurer of the American Library Association Student Chapter at IU.

Image 2: Photo of Alex Moon

Alex Moon will employ his considerable expertise and a diverse skillset to improve our assessment and analytics efforts. He is a second year masters student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at the IU School Education. Alex  has a background in English literature and dance, and is looking forward to pursuing an additional masters degree in Library and Information Science next year.

We are fortunate to have them aboard. Look for posts later in the semester reporting on their contributions to the work of the Department. Please contact us by email (iusw at indiana dot edu) if you are interested in a future internship with Scholarly Communication.

 

Hiring a Scholarly Communication Assistant

We are looking for an additional part-time assistant to join our dynamic and expanding team in Wells Library. To apply, please send Scholarly Communication Librarian, Sarah Hare (scrissin at indiana dot edu), your resume and a cover letter outlining your interest in this position.

Image 1: Meme of Jean Luc Picard that says “We Are Making Progress!”Details of the Position

Description: Assist the Scholarly Communication department with various projects, including editing and creating library website pages, designing instructional materials, writing blog posts, and assisting the department with other outreach efforts related to open scholarship, copyright, and digital publishing.

Other duties may include digitizing material, writing documentation for the department’s digital publishing program, and securing copyright permissions from authors and publishers in order to deposit materials in the IUScholarWorks institutional repository.

Qualifications: Required: Excellent organizational and communication skills, attention to detail, and the ability to work independently. Currently enrolled as an IU student. Preferred: Experience with managing projects, creating documentation, and designing instructional and marketing material. Some interest or working knowledge in scholarly communication issues, digital publishing, or instruction is desirable but not necessary.

Classification/Pay Rate: Library Assistant ($10.15)
Hours Per Week: 8-10;
Evening/Weekends Required: No;
Open to Students Only: Yes

Our Year in Review

Last December, the Scholarly Communication Department carved time out of our annual retreat to reflect on our successes from 2017 and our goals for the coming year.

Greatest Accomplishments of 2017

Scholarly Communication Major Goals for 2018

  • Complete our implementation of the Open Access Policy to ensure that every IUB faculty member is able to effortlessly make open versions of their journal articles available. You can learn more about our implementation here.
  • Upgrade all the journals we host to the newest version of our publishing software, enabling more streamlined editorial processes and improved user interfaces.
  • Improve and expand website content to better meet user needs – including the development of video tutorials to demonstrate use of our services.
  • Work in collaboration with the OVPR to provide support for researchers publishing in Gold Open Access journals, which often charge article processing fees to authors.
  • Provide more robust support for campus’ data publishing needs
  • Continue to publish weekly blog posts and expand our engagement with the IU research community on social media platforms – starting in 2018 we are tweeting from @iulibraries
  • In partnership with UITS and the eText program, raise awareness about how course material costs affect students and encourage the adoption of affordable course materials