2016 Cohort

In our first round, the Affordable Learning Exchange funded 17 projects from diverse areas across three Ohio State campuses. Together, these projects will save students nearly $1 million by Spring 2017.

Meet the participants of the Spring 2016 ALX Cohort.


Managed by: University Libraries

University Libraries, the Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE) and Undergraduate Student Government (USG) have partnered to sponsor this opportunity for faculty to explore the adoption of low- or no-cost course materials for classes at Ohio State.

Robyn Warhol | English

A project to replace required books in English 4542 “The Nineteenth-Century British Novel” with a website of free versions of the novels that replicate the way the novels appeared in serialized form.

Elizabeth Weiser | English, Newark Campus

A project to replace a textbook for English 3271 “Structure of the English Language” with online readings in Carmen and videos from free and OSU-licensed databases.

Christin E. Burd and Craig J. Burd | Molecular Genetics

A project to replace a textbook for MolGen 5300 “Cancer Biology” with publicly available scientific articles (many from PubMed) and online video tutorials.

Elena Foulis | Spanish and Portuguese

A project to replace a textbook for Spanish 3450 “Intro. to the Study of Literature & Culture in Spanish: Reading Texts” with online primary and secondary texts and media.

Halil Sezen | Civil, Environmental and Geodetic Engineering

A project to replace the textbook for CE 4350 and 5350 “Reinforced Concrete Design I and II”  with limited fair use excerpts from the text in Carmen combined with expanded lecture notes and free or library-licensed readings.

Leah Wahlin | Engineering Education Innovation Center

A project to replace a current textbook for ENGR 2367 “American Attitudes about Technology” with a newly created textbook that is free for Ohio State students using free and OSU-licensed resources.

Bart Snapp | Mathematics

A project to replace the current textbook for Math 1151 (Calculus I) with a newly created open textbook.

David Adams | English, Lima Campus

A project to replace a current textbook for English 2261 “Introduction to Fiction” with a customized set of stories and critical apparatus.

Karl Ola Ahlqvist | Geography

A project to replace the textbook for GEOG 2750 “World Regional Geography” with a combination of online texts, video and other resources using a digital globe (such as Google Earth) as the organizing platform.



Managed by: ODEE

With the Affordable Learning Open Impact and Exploration grants, the Office of Distance Education and eLearning will partner with faculty to implement open, free and low-cost alternatives to conventional textbooks, lab manuals and other learning materials in classes of all sizes at Ohio State.

Open Impact Grants

Bart Snapp and Jim Fowler | Mathematics

Professors Snapp and Fowler head the transformation of a three-semester sequence calculus textbook. The switch to a free, open-source interactive textbook containing content for differential, integral and multi-variable calculus would be adopted by the Department of Mathematics for the courses Math 1151, 1152, 1161.0x, 1172, 2152, 2162.0x, 2173 and 2177. Their goal is to produce this textbook for four sections of Math 1151, four sections of 1152 and three sections of 1152, which together enroll about 2050 students in two semesters. Snapp and Fowler are also open to sharing the textbook with other universities, such as Columbus State Community College, as well as Columbus area high schools.

Potential savings: average $130/student * 2050 = $266,500 annually

Darcy Hartman | Economics

In her course on the Principles of Macroeconomics, Professor Hartman intends to implement a digital textbook to lower student expenses and widen the range of freely available online resources to students. Because this is a general education course required in many majors, the impact of producing a low-cost digital textbook allows for savings for over 600 students per semester. Hartman anticipates this project could allow for conversion of her online and honors courses to digital resources, as well.

Potential savings: average $142.50/student * 1300 = $185,250 annually

Exploration Grant

Melissa Beers | Psychology

Dr. Beers will lead a team to create digital resources for Psychology 2367.01, a second-level writing general education course. Because it fulfills a GE requirement, the course draws students from outside the major and would effect over 500 students per year enrolling in the course. Moreover, it would effect the 400 students annually enrolled in Psychology 3325, for which the resources would also be used. Beers suggests that in addition to the savings, this would offer students a more accurate and helpful representation of course content. Because only 3-9% of students found the previous textbook the most helpful course resource (and 15-20% found it the least helpful resource), Beers asserts digital resources would offer more relevant information in a more interactive and helpful format.

Potential savings: $80-106/student * 900 (2 courses) = $72,000 - $95,400 annually​

Jasmine Roberts | Communication

Professor Roberts will create an interactive textbook for Communications 2321, Writing for Strategic Communication. The textbook would serve as the primary text for Communications 2321. The course typically enroll about 180 students annually. Roberts plans to supplement the project by utilizing the iBook digital format, e-book version, class blogs and an iTunes U course. Furthermore, she hope the interactive format of the text will foster a better foundation for learning in future classes, as well as inspire more engagement among students.

Potential savings: $89/student * 180 = $16,020 annually

Dennis Shaffer | Psychology, Mansfield Campus

Professor Dennis Shaffer plans to replace the statistics textbook Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences with self-published materials. Replacing the textbook would allow Shaffer to include new material integral to teaching his courses, as well as introduce free online resources that would allow students to better prepare for the course. Shaffer foresees this change as having an impact on several groups of students: psychology majors across all Ohio State campuses, psychology majors specifically attending the Mansfield campus, students taking the advanced statistics course Psychology 3321, and Columbus students taking courses at the Mansfield campus during the summer semester.

Potential savings: $370.90/student * 40 = $14,836 annually



Managed by: ODEE

Book Launch participants create interactive digital textbook resources for use in classes at Ohio State and beyond. Cohorts begin in January and June, and publish for use the following semester.

Tami Augustine | College of Education and Human Ecology

Social Studies Methods for Middle Childhood Education

Project highlights:

  • Free, easily accessible, and easily edited
  • Benefits teachers without proper experience teaching social studies
  • Creates an interactive interface and relies heavily on non-text features such as audio and video elements
  • Will be created in conjunction with iTunes U for social studies methods for middle childhood education, open to the public

Wider impact:

  • Affordable for students and allows them to continue accessing the knowledge after graduation
  • Able to be updated with little to no cost, which is essential for the rapidly changing field
  • Assists teachers with little or no experience teaching social studies at the 4th and 5th grade level
  • Adds to the department’s goals of increasing distance learning

Clayton Funk | Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy

Digital Supplement to Course AAEP 1600

Project highlights:

  • Book will serve as an interactive supplement to existing open course content for Arts Administration, Education, and Policy (AAEP) 1600
  • Will provide interactive learning activities for students challenging typical learning
  • Will utilize audio and video media in project-based lessons
  • Allows for assessment of student progress through multiple-choice quizzes

Wider impact:

  • Mainly to be used by first and second year undergraduate students enrolled in AAEP 1600, across academic disciplines at Ohio State
  • Will impact about 600-700 students per semester, as well as 150 online students over the seven-week summer course
  • Guided image interactives and self-assessment will support the analysis of visual and musical forms, as well as facilitate reflection on students’ learning
  • Will provide an updated, more engaging format for the course when offered online
  • First goal toward providing completely open content for the course

Nicole Kwiek | College of Pharmacy

Digital Lab Manual to Course PHR 4600

Project highlights:

  • Comprehensive, interactive pharmaceutical science laboratory manual maximizing multimedia-based opportunities
  • Will deepen students’ knowledge of scientific inquiry and allow them to develop manual skills
  • Guides students through experiments with a step-by-step exploration of laboratory techniques using video and audio content, 3-D objects and photo galleries

Wider impact:

  • Created for students enrolled in the BA in Pharmaceutical Sciences (BSPS) Program accompanying the PHR4600 course
  • Aim to be supplemented by lectures and laboratory exercises in the PHR4600 course
  • Will be assisted by the IT group in The College of Pharmacy at Ohio State

Bridget Smith | Department of Linguistics

Analyzing the Sounds of Languages

Project highlights:

  • Partnership with Professor Mary Beckman
  • Will utilize R, an open resource software environment for statistical computing and graphical data exploration
  • Allows students to access “the sounds of language” through videos, showing readers how best to utilize this open resource program
  • Will be created for both iBook and ePub format

Wider impact:

  • Created for students enrolled in Linguistics 2051, but may also be utilized by anyone for a basic introduction to quantitative methods in linguistics and speech science
  • Allows for savings for students enrolling in the course to earn their Data Analysis GE credit as well
  • Will replace the Carmen textbook and PDF materials with one comprehensive book
  • May be adopted for other departments at Ohio State utilizing the same content