Why Professors are creating and using free and open textbooks

USHistoryUNGCollege textbook prices are increasing faster than tuition and inflation. The College Board estimates that students need $1200 per year for textbooks. Based on that number, students in the University System of Georgia (USG) could spend $360,000,000 this year on textbooks. With the high price of textbooks, students often need to wait until their student loan check arrives before buying the textbook, and some students forgo the textbook altogether due to costs.

Some professors have said enough of this already. Today’s technology allows us to create and distribute effective, quality content at practically no cost. So, let’s offer textbooks for free. Let’s create flexible content that gives students multiple formats to choose from. We may be able to offer students the option to print (or purchase a print copy for less than their own cost of printing) or access the content on their tablet, phone, or computer. Maybe students will even save the content forever so that their learning doesn’t stop when the course is over. We could even assign a license that provides the right to adapt and redistribute the work so that both students and teachers have the flexibility they need to teach and learn.

Content that allows for such flexible uses are known as Open Educational Resources (OER). A growing body of empirical research has shown improvements in retention, completion, GPAs and other factors with the use of OERs. Learn more about finding and using open resources with this Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) tutorial. For additional assistance, contact Denise Dimsdale (mdimsdale@gsu.edu), ALG Library Coordinator or George Pullman(gpullman@gsu.edu), ALG Campus Champion.

Check out these OER textbooks in use in some USG courses:

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Faculty Research: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Psychology

Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Weiskopf on the publication of his  book An Introduction to the Philosophy of Psychology (with Fred Adams, Cambridge University Press).

From the publisher:

 Psychology aims to give us a scientific account of how the mind works. But what does it mean to have a science of the mental, and what sort of picture of the mind emerges from our best psychological theories? This book addresses these philosophical puzzles in a way that is accessible to readers with little or no background in psychology or neuroscience. Using clear and detailed case studies and drawing on up-to-date empirical research, it examines perception and action, the link between attention and consciousness, the modularity of mind, how we understand other minds, and the influence of language on thought, as well as the relationship between mind, brain, body, and world. The result is an integrated and comprehensive overview of much of the architecture of the mind, which will be valuable for both students and specialists in philosophy, psychology, and cognitive science.

Dr. Weiskopf is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy. His research involves how empirical research in psychology, neuroscience, and linguistics can illuminate traditional philosophical questions about the mind, and in the foundations of the cognitive sciences, including their methods, theories, and models. Recent publications include:

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Open Education Week (March 9-13)


Image CCBY from http://www.openeducationweek.org/

This week, the GSU library is celebrating Open Education Week.

What is Open Education?

Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide.

What is Open Education Week?

Open Education Week is a global event that happens annually to raise awareness about open education opportunities.

What is the GSU Library doing for Open Education Week?

We’re presenting four short programs:

All sessions in Library North, Classroom 1. The room is located on the first floor of Library North near the coffee shop:

3/10—12:00-12:30pm—Open Education and the Future: Come view David Wiley’s 15 minute TEDxNYED talk followed by discussion.

3/11—3:30-4:00– Locating and using Open Educational Resources.

3/12—3:00-3:30–Affordable Learning Georgia—What the University System of Georgia is doing to promote high quality free or more affordable textbooks and learning materials.

3/13—10:00-10:30–The Impact of Open Educational Resources: We’ll have a brief presentation summarizing research on the impact of OER followed by discussion.

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New Databases: More JoVE

joveThe Georgia State University Library now has access to new JoVE sections.  JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments) is a peer reviewed, PubMed indexed journal devoted to the publication of biological, medical, chemical and physical research in a video format.

New JoVE sections include:

  • JoVE Science Education
    • General Laboratory Techniques
    • Basic Methods in Cellular and Molecular Biology
    • Model Organisms I
    • Model Organisms II
    • Essentials of Neuroscience
    • Essentials of Developmental Biology
    • Essentials of Behavioral Science

JoVE can be accessed by selecting “J” under “A-Z Databases.”

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Pridemore receives award

William_PridemoreWilliam Pridemore, Distinguished University Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, is the recipient of the Gerhard Mueller Distinguished Scholar Award, conferred annually by the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS). Pridemore received the award at the International Section’s Awards Reception in Orlando during ACJS’s annual meeting on March 5, 2015. Pridemore is also the new editor of the International Criminal Justice Review. Here’s a short list of his recent research:

Kaylen, Maria T., and William Alex Pridemore. “Measuring Violent Victimization: Rural, Suburban, And Urban Police Notification And Emergency Room Treatment.Journal Of Rural Studies (2014).

Snowden, Aleksandra J., and William Alex Pridemore. “Off-Premise Alcohol Outlet Characteristics And Violence.” American Journal Of Drug & Alcohol Abuse 40.4 (2014): 327-335.

Pridemore, William Alex, Mitchell B. Chamlin, and Evgeny Andreev. “Reduction In Male Suicide Mortality Following The 2006 Russian Alcohol Policy: An Interrupted Time Series Analysis.American Journal Of Public Health 103.11 (2013): 2021-2026.

Pridemore, William Alex, et al. “The Impact Of A National Alcohol Policy On Deaths Due To Transport Accidents In Russia.” Addiction 108.12 (2013): 2112-2118.

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Web of Science Workshops

web science bannerLearn how to use Web of Science

Web of Science provides you with quick, powerful access to the world’s leading citation databases.  Authoritative, multidisciplinary content covers the highest impact journals worldwide. This database provides access to the highest quality, curated multidisciplinary content.

Workshops will be:

  • Wednesday, March 11, 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
  • Thursday, March 12, 8:30 am – 9:30 am
  • Friday, March 13, 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

All workshops will be in classroom 2, Library North 2nd floor.

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Campus technology and students’ needs: Tell us what’s missing

Library StockStudents, do you have access to the hardware, software,  equipment, and technology support services that you need to complete your coursework? Please take this brief survey and tell us what might be missing.

Faculty, have you wanted to assign a project but changed your mind because the hardware, software, and/or equipment that students needed was not available on campus? Please describe the details in this short survey.

These surveys will be open until the end of March. Your feedback lets us know how to  improve, so please take a few minutes to share your thoughts.

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Thinking about African American History Month: Making It Every Month

Image from the Library of Congress' African American History Month page

Image from the Library of Congress’ African American History Month page

Established in 1976 (as an expansion of Negro History Week, first established by Carter G. Woodson in 1925), African-American History Month has been observed for almost forty years. African-American history is, profoundly, American history: early colonial and Revolutionary-era history is deeply rooted in debates over the establishment of slavery in the new republic, none of which resulted in a definitive end to slavery. That definitive ending did not come until the end of the Civil War, almost a century after the nation’s founding. African-Americans won the right to vote shortly after the Civil War, but saw their rights and claims to citizenship sharply curtailed by other legislation and a significant loophole in the 15th Amendment, which prohibited denying the vote based on “on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude” but said nothing about other means of restricting the vote. Consequently, Southern states were able to use poll taxes, literacy tests, and other requirements to continue to prevent African-Americans from voting, up until the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, almost a hundred years after the 15th Amendment’s ratification.

Slavery and civil rights activism are major points of entry into African-American history, but African-American history involves more than enslavement’s beginning, duration, and end, and more than the struggle for civil rights, important as those histories are. We can also ask questions about African-Americans’ contributions to American culture, to American politics, to every aspect of American history and life. We can identify African-Americans whose contributions may have gone unheralded if not made invisible (check out these Cold-War-era African-American women scientists and mathematicians…). We can ask how the ways in which history is written, how history gets “done”, have worked to downplay African-Americans’ presence and contributions, or limited their presence to a smaller number of undoubtedly important figures, who cannot be downplayed, but whose stories do not have to outweigh other, lesser-told stories.

We can also ask about what kinds of materials are held in archives and Special Collections libraries. Research libraries have emerged which focus specifically on African-American historical collections: the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, a branch of the New York Public Library, is the largest library of this type in the United States. The second-largest library dedicated to African-American historical collections is here in Atlanta: the Auburn Avenue Research Library (currently under expansion), a branch of the Atlanta-Fulton County Public Library is literally just down the street from Georgia State University. Local archives here in Atlanta with significant African-American historical materials, including materials relating to African-American literary figures, include the Atlanta University Center’s Woodruff Library Archives Research Center, Emory University’s Manuscripts, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL), the Atlanta History Center, the National Archives Southeast center, and the Georgia Archives. Reference staff at these organizations can provide more information about their holdings of African-American resources.

S. Florissant Rd. Downtown Ferguson, Missouri,

S. Florissant Rd. Downtown Ferguson, Missouri. CC licensed photo from Flickr user pasa47

Events, locations, names of individuals become keywords and subject terms as time move forward and actions become part of history. Places like Selma, Little Rock, Birmingham, the state of Mississippi, become crucial locations for African-American history, but African-American lives and communities create cultural, social, economic, and political histories across the nation. Names like Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. DuBois, A. Philip Randolph, Emmett Till, Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. become pivotal keywords/figures in American history. But history can and should include ordinary people who live their lives and take up challenges when they are faced with them. As of August 2014, the St. Louis, Missouri suburb Ferguson entered into the nation’s history vocabulary as a flashpoint for racially motivated police brutality and municipal injustice following white police officer Darren Wilson’s shooting of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown. Eric Garner’s death at the hands of a police officer utilizing an illegal chokehold, in addition to Brown’s death and the deaths of other young black men have added to the outcry which began in Ferguson. Fifty years after the Mississippi Summer Project, where young people from around the country traveled to Mississippi to establish “freedom schools” and register local African-Americans to vote, activists from around the country flocked to the predominantly African-American town of Ferguson to provide support and services.

Young people gather at Michael Brown memorial in Ferguson, August 23, 2014. CC image by Flickr user Youth Radio.

Young people gather at Michael Brown memorial in Ferguson, August 23, 2014. CC image by Flickr user Youth Radio.

The Ferguson story continues to play out, with news coming now that the Justice Department is completing a report that is critical of the Ferguson police department’s practice of disproportionately ticketing and arresting African-Americans. In November 2014, when St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch announced that the grand jury had ruled against bringing Wilson to trial, more protests took place in St. Louis County and elsewhere. In his statement, McCulloch suggested that social media had muddied any investigation of the events of August 9 by circulating “various accounts” online; “the town,” said McCulloch, “was filled with speculation and little, if any, solid accurate information.” (For a fascinating version of McCulloch’s statement, annotated by a lawyer, click here).

Whether you agree with McCulloch or not, the internet and social media are rapidly emerging sources of primary-source material. Washington University of St. Louis and the Internet Archive are working to create archives of digital materials relating to the Ferguson protests. The New York Times published documents and evidence presented to the grand jury on the Michael Brown case in Clayton, Missouri, as released by McCulloch; more recently, the Times reported on efforts to preserve the material culture of the Ferguson community, including materials damaged in the protests following Brown’s death and McCulloch’s statement.

Photo at magpielibrarian.com, "An Interview with Scott Bonner, Ferguson Librarian"

Uncredit photo, at magpielibrarian.com, “An Interview with Scott Bonner, Ferguson Librarian”

Ferguson is history in progress; the immediate commentary, reporting, videos, photographs, material culture, and even, arguably, architecture (consider the damaged buildings, or the presence of the Ferguson Public Library, which provided local children a safe place to be when the Ferguson-Florissant School District closed down during the protests) will be the resources historians will study when they write about Ferguson, just as historians survey and analyze primary sources from the events and time when they write about the Nat Turner rebellion, the elections of the first African-American Congressmen during Reconstruction, or Selma.

Here at the GSU Library, we strive to collect secondary resources which will provide information and insight into the breadth and ongoing development of African-American historical scholarship and knowledge. By learning more about African-American history, about the African-Americans who made American history, we can also identify tools, questions, ways of thinking about history that will help us continue to expand our awareness of American history—all year round. In this way, every book or article about African-American history not only expands and deepens our knowledge… it also suggests questions and tools you the reader can use to ask about and learn about and wonder about other African-Americans, and to bring them into the light.

Recently acquired books on African-American history include (but are not limited to!):

Primary-source materials, like autobiographies, diaries, and other resources can also be found in our catalog; if you are looking for autobiographies, diaries, or the published papers of a particular person, search using the “Subject” search and the person’s name (last name first). Newly acquired examples include:

We also have books on African-American history and lives for children. New titles include:

More broadly, the GSU Library offers a number of important primary-source digital collections relating to African-American history. These are available to GSU affiliates:

  • History Vault: Black Freedom I and II: Primary sources related to 20th-century African American history and the Civil Rights Movement, including federal government records, organizational records, and personal papers.
  • Accessible Archives: Includes several collections relevant to African-American history, including
    • “We Were Prepared for the Possibility of Death:” Freedom Riders in the South, 1961
    • African America, Communists, and the National Negro Congress, 1933-1947
    • FBI Surveillance and James Forman and SNCC
    • and others!
  • Black Thought and Culture: Electronic collection focused on the historical development of black culture, containing approximately 100,000 pages of non-fiction writings by major American black leaders (teachers, artists, politicians, religious leaders, athletes, war veterans, entertainers, and other figures) covering 250 years of history.
  • African-American Newspapers: Selection of African-American newspapers published during the 19th century.
  • Atlanta Daily World (1931-2003) and Chicago Defender (1910-1975): Historical African-American newspapers.
  • Slavery, Abolition, and Social Justice: Includes thousands of manuscripts, pamphlets, books, paintings, maps, and images from 1490 to 2007.

And some examples of freely available websites including African-American history primary sources:

Keep celebrating!

Updated to add: Atlanta University Center’s Archives Research Center has been added to the list of local archives with African-American materials; Unknown No Longer has been added to the list of freely available digital primary source sites.

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RESCHEDULED: Qualitative Research Workshop in CURVE

The Logics and Logistics of Qualitative Research: A Framework for Exploring Concepts, Dimensions, and Relationships in Qualitative Data using NVivo Research Software

Dr. Ralph LaRossa and Dr. Mandy Swygart-HobaughWorkshop Leaders: Dr. Ralph LaRossa and Dr. Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh

When: Wednesday, March 11, 11:00am-12:30pm – REGISTER HERE

Where: CURVE (Collaborative University Research & Visualization Environment), Library South 2nd Floor

In this workshop, Dr. Ralph LaRossa, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, and Dr. Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh, Librarian Associate Professor for Sociology, Gerontology, & Data Services, will present both the theoretical-methodological “logics” and the applied-methodological “logistics” of conducting qualitative data analysis (i.e., non-statistical analysis of textual, audio, visual, and/or audiovisual sources).  Dr. LaRossa will discuss the steps involved in building theoretically-rich qualitative analyses.   Dr. Swygart-Hobaugh will outline the specific features of NVivo qualitative research software that complement and facilitate these analyses.   There also will be opportunities for questions and discussion.

This workshop will be especially helpful for faculty and graduate students who are immersed – or about to be immersed – in a qualitative project and would like an overview on how to do qualitative analysis and how to use NVivo in the process.  Those interested in publishing qualitative work and/or applying for grants based on qualitative work will also find it helpful.

Questions?  Email Mandy Swygart-Hobaugh at aswygarthobaugh@gsu.edu

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Fair Use in the Visual Arts: Finally, Some Guidelines!

Fair Use Week

Fair Use Week

It seems like when artists make headlines these days, it’s not because of a record-setting sale price or a dazzling new show, but instead it’s frequently because an artist is facing allegations of copyright infringement. Just last week, for example, the artist Richard Price found himself in legal trouble yet again for repurposing photographer Donald Graham’s image of a Rastafarian without attribution or permission. Shepard Fairey and Jeff Koons are two more artists who have made headlines due to legal battles involving reuse of other artists’ work.

Appropriation in art–the reuse, sampling, and/or remixing of existing works made by others–has been around since early people drew on cave walls… But it’s been a vexatious problem for artists equally as long. When is it OK to appropriate? How much is it OK to borrow? When do I need to seek permission?

Finally, there are some guidelines. The College Art Association (CAA) recently came out with a document to help guide artists and art historians through these complex issues. The Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts “provides members of a community with a clear framework in which to apply fair use with confidence, knowing the shared norms of their field.”

The Code covers various issues involving Fair Use in the arts, such as:

  • Analytic Writing;
  • Teaching about Art;
  • Making Art;
  • Museum Uses; and
  • Online Access to Archival and Special Collections

If the CAA’s document doesn’t answer all your questions, or if you’d like to know more about artists who use (or mis-use) appropriation, we recommend the following:

  • Appropriation (part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s Documents of Contemporary Art series)
    Call number: N6494.A66 A67 2009 | Location: Library North 4
  • Mashup Cultures
    Call number: TK5105.88817 .M37 2010 | Location: Library North 3
  • Encounters: New Art from Old
    Call number: NX456.5.A66 M68 2000 | Location: Library North 4

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