Stewart Library and Health Sciences Team Up to Cut Costs for Students
Toward the end of 2019, Weber State’s Department of Health Sciences began evaluating the online course materials made available to their students. They particularly focused on materials used for HTHS 1110 and HTHS 1111, two prerequisite classes all WSU students studying health-related programs must take focusing on human anatomy and physiology.
Upwards of 1,500 students sign up for the courses each year, with the number steadily increasing.
The department’s conclusion: The content of the online course materials was not of the highest learning quality for its students. Faculty began exploring the idea of creating better-designed materials on their own.
In December 2019, they got to work. Seven health sciences faculty members began writing new online text and course modules. Twenty individual learning modules were selected and created. For each module, new images were adopted, PowerPoint presentations were redesigned and recorded lectures were updated. In addition, over 3,500 exam questions were revised. Students in HTHS 1110 began using the new materials during the summer 2020 semester, while the HTHS 1111 materials were being prepared for rollout in the fall.
The project was funded by the Stewart Library, the Stewart Education Foundation and Weber State’s Provost’s Office. The updated materials cost $24 per student, saving each student more than $275.
The department’s top priority in this project was creating quality content for its students, followed by keeping the cost inexpensive. The estimated savings over a 10-year period is more than $4 million.
Faculty members, such as James Cohen, assistant professor of botany, have also partnered with the library by switching to ebooks, another strategy to save students’ textbook costs. “I want to make sure that students are able to participate in class starting on day one by having access to a licensed ebook and make sure that access to the text is not a barrier for students being able to fully engage in class,” Cohen said.