Spanish faculty win UTA Libraries grants to publish free textbooks

Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020

The UTA Cares Grant Program, sponsored by UTA Libraries, awarded six faculty in the Department of Modern Languages a total of $18,000 to create open educational resources for Spanish language courses. The resources, two original textbooks, will be available for students to use starting in fall 2021. 

Open educational resources (OER) are research, learning, and teaching materials within the public domain or that have open licensing which permits free access, use, and adaptation with limited or no restrictions. 

"It is our desire to create freely accessible textbooks to help our students manage their education expenses as they pursue a college degree," says Jinny Choi, associate professor and section head of the Spanish program. "Given the increasing costs of traditional textbooks and decreasing financial support of public schools, we believe that the need for OER materials is critical."

Choi, in collaboration with Amy Austin, assistant professor of instruction, and Ignacio Ruiz-Pérez, professor and chair of the Department of Modern Languages, received an $8,000 award to create an open-access textbook for SPAN 3315: Spanish Composition. The textbook will be an expansion of a resource developed by Ruiz-Pérez and several student leaders of the Spanish Writing Center titled Manual de Redacción, a project funded by UTA Libraries in 2018.

Choi received a second grant of $10,000 with collaborators A. Raymond Elliott, professor and chair of the Department of Linguistics and TESOL, and Sonia Kania, associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Modern Languages, to write and publish a textbook for SPAN 3316: Spanish Language Study. Upon completion next summer, theirs will be the first OER textbook on the subject, and they hope it will serve as a model for other OER materials in the broader field of Spanish linguistics. 

"The creation of this textbook for SPAN 3316 will result in a combined savings of $7,300 each semester by all students in the course," says Choi. "As UTA is a Hispanic-Serving Institution, we are committed to serving our Latinx students, as well as others interested in Hispanic culture, by providing this textbook at no cost."

Applications for UTA Cares grant awards are competitive, and preference is given to projects which foster collaboration, promote interdisciplinary connections, and demonstrate the ability to have a significant impact on the student population. 

This is the third round of UTA Cares grants awarded to faculty from the Department of Modern Languages. In 2017, the program's inaugural year, Alicia Soueid, senior lecturer and coordinator of lower-level French, was awarded $5,000 for her proposal, "Content-Based French Language: An OER Creation Project."