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USG awards $30,000 to UNG and Kennesaw State to write open-source textbook

2020-03-02-TextbookGrant-1
UNG faculty members Dr. Allison Bailey, Dr. Amber Ignatius and Dr. Katayoun Mobasher and two Kennesaw State University faculty members were awarded an Affordable Learning Georgia Textbook Transformation Grant. The trio in the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis at UNG will collaborate with Kennesaw State faculty to create no-cost or low-cost course materials similar to a textbook for geographic information science courses at the two schools.

The University System of Georgia recently awarded faculty members at the University of North Georgia (UNG) and Kennesaw State University with an Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) Textbook Transformation Grant.

The $30,000 grant will allow five faculty members to create no-cost or low-cost course materials similar to a textbook for geographic information science (GIS) courses at the two schools. Currently, the textbook costs $85 to $99, according to the proposal. The total projected savings per academic year is more than $31,000.

Dr. Amber Ignatius, assistant professor of geography and geospatial science in the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis (IESA) at UNG, said the grant targeted the introductory GIS course at both schools because of its broad reach. More than 350 students enroll in the course in one academic year, according to the proposal.

"This course would effect a lot of students," Ignatius said. "We can expose our majors to the modern technologies that are rapidly developing, and it will allow other departments to access the materials and skills."

Project collaborators from UNG are Ignatius; Dr. Allison Bailey, associate professor of environmental studies in IESA; and Dr. Katayoun Mobasher, professor of geology in IESA. Kennesaw State faculty members Ulrike Ingram and Dr. Mark Patterson round out the five-member team.

"Each of us will be responsible for writing a certain unit, and we can cross-check each other," Ignatius said. "That's the benefit of working in a team."

Another benefit is the open online resource will allow information to be updated as technology advances.

"It's flexible by design," Ignatius said.

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