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Four faculty win SCoer awards for 2021

Congratulations to the four recipients of this year’s SCoer faculty awards. These instructors will create or incorporate open educational resources and other free learning resources into their classrooms, exploring innovate new pedagogical practices, and in the process, save their students money.

The winners are Jason O’Kane, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Goran Pavlov, Department of Psychology, Andy Schumpert, Biological Sciences and Kimberly Taylor, College of Nursing.

To participate in the program, the winning faculty members each attend a one-hour workshop hosted by University Libraries to help them identify or create OER materials for their courses. They commit to switching from the use of a traditional textbook to an OER or library-licensed resource in one of their classes. Each winner receives a certificate and a $500 award.

The SCoer award recipients are selected by UofSC Student Government representatives and University Libraries staff.

“The selection committee looks closely at three determining factors: applicants who showed a strong desire to learn the process of finding and using online educational resources, the potential for long-term financial savings for students, and the availability of OER materials on the subject taught,” says Amie Freeman, Scholarly Communication Librarian. “These winners have shown great enthusiasm for using OER in their courses, and we congratulate them.”

"I would like to congratulate this year's SCoer award winners and thank them for taking the steps to make their classes more affordable,” says Emily Dengler, UofSC Student Body Vice President. “With textbook prices sometimes hundreds of dollars each, it puts a burden on students. Open Educational Resources make sure that class materials are available to all students." 

Claire Windsor, UofSC Student Government Senator, says “Open Educational Resources continues to be an excellent initiative to lower economic barriers to higher education. I’m excited to congratulate this year’s winners for the SCoer Faculty Awards and to support new faculty efforts to expand their course materials in an accessible and affordable way.”

Meet this year’s winners:

Jason O’Kane

Professor, Associate Chair of Academics
Department of Computer Science and Engineering
College of Engineering and Computing

“I wrote a free textbook for upper-level robotics courses, but do not have experience identifying, selecting, and utilizing OER created by others, especially for lower-level courses like my UNIX/Linux Fundamentals course. The subject of this course is one that lends itself well to OER, compared to other aspects of computer science, because there is a long history and plenty of free materials. Students have told me that the current traditional textbooks are not helpful, so I suspect that an OER format may both improve learning outcomes and reduce the costs for students.”

Goran Pavlov

InstructIonal Faculty
Department of Psychology
College of Arts & Sciences

“After years of teaching at UofSC, I can clearly identify the potential benefits of using affordable and accessible resources into my own classes. It seems to me that participating in this award program may greatly help me with this transition.”

Andy Schumpert

Instructional Faculty & Lab Coordinator
Biological Sciences
College of Arts & Sciences

“As a first-generation college student myself, I remember the struggle of having to decide between meals or textbooks. I remember the high cost of education being compounded by high textbook costs that seemed to provide just another barrier against an equitable educational experience. Now, as a faculty member at UofSC, I am focused on creating an equitable, anti-racist class for our students, and one of the direct ways I can take action is by offering a zero-cost course, in terms of needed materials. The pandemic has also brought to light the inequities in our community and in higher education. Equity is a concept that means a lot to me, and the more barriers I can help dismantle for the continued and augmented success of our students, the better, and this program will allow me the resources needed to do just that.”

Kimberly Taylor

Assistant Professor
College of Nursing

“I am participating in this award program in order to enhance the overall course delivery modalities, engage students in meaningful learning, and cultivate a desire for students to embrace lifelong learning. I believe using innovative and intriguing strategies will better equip my students for success after college and allow them the opportunity to recognize that there are many ways to continue to grow and learn.”

SCoer faculty awards are announced annually. The next award cycle will be spring 2022.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.