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College of Information and Communications


SLIS professor among first to use Open Educational Resources

Posted October 12, 2015
By Haley Hinze, second year M.M.C. student

School of Library and Information Science professor Dr. Darin Freeburg is one of five USC faculty members to receive a SCoer! Faculty Award, sponsored by Student Government and the University Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Committee.  

SCoer! (South Carolina Open Educational Resources) is a new program to the university, built around high-quality learning materials that are freely available online. Instructors who have the opportunity to participate in the program will remove a major hurdle for their students – purchasing potentially expensive textbooks. 

Dr. Freeburg explained that his primary interest in applying for the award “came from an awareness that many students are at a disadvantage in classes because they can’t afford the textbooks in addition to their tuition, room and board, etc.” A 2012 Florida Student Textbook Survey revealed that because of the cost of textbooks, 64 percent of students had not purchased a required text, 45 percent had not registered for a course, and 27 percent had dropped a course. “They just don’t buy it, and it puts them immediately behind. This isn’t fair,” he said.

The five recipients began the program by attending a one-hour workshop hosted by the University Libraries that helped them identify Open Educational Resource materials for their courses. Next, they chose an open access textbook and reviewed it, letting their respective schools make the final decision on whether to use that book in the classroom. Upon program completion in the spring, each instructor will receive a certificate and a $200 monetary award.

Dr. Freeburg’s choice? The Information Literacy User’s Guide, edited by Greg Bobish and Trudi Jacobson. “I chose the text based on a recommendation from Amie Freeman in Thomas Cooper Library, and it seems to hit the primary literacy guidelines we strive for in the Introduction to Information Literacy and Technology class,” he said.

Freeburg is excited for the benefits the SCoer! Faculty Award is bringing to USC, which will become an annual award that cycles each spring.  “Anything we can do to decrease costs for students and still maintain high quality resources is a win.”


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Haley Hinze

Haley Hinze is a second-year Master of Mass Communication student from Greenville, S.C. With interests in public relations and visual communications, she aspires to enter the magazine publishing industry. When she's not in school, you can find her traveling almost anywhere.