Seeking relevance

Student finds professor-made resources more applicable to learning

A more affordable cost of living is what drew Daniel Hemphill from Vista, California, to Kansas State University. As a senior in horticultural science, Hemphill has taken many classes that have complementary labs, which require lab manuals that often cost around $150. Hemphill says he doesn’t mind purchasing the manuals, as long as they help bridge the gap of information between the lecture class and the lab. Unfortunately, Hemphill says that many times, that’s not the case.

However, the lab manual for his Soils 305 class taught by Dr. Colby Moorberg was extremely applicable and only cost him $10. That’s because Moorberg created the manual himself using a grant from the Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative, also known as Textbooks 2.0. The grant program provides funding for K-State faculty and instructors to develop affordable alternatives to traditional print textbooks.

“We could tell Dr. Moorberg designed his lab manual specifically for the course,” Hemphill said. “Other lab manuals have made me feel like I have to do a mental jump between what I learn in class and what we do in the lab, whereas Dr. Moorberg’s manual was very applicable to the lab.

“If professors want students to have more of an idea of what is going on in the course, it definitely helps to have resources they’ve put together themselves, specific to their course,” Hemphill said. “I wish all my classes had resources that were made specific for the class by the professor teaching it. I really appreciate the more applicable lab manuals. It makes lab less stressful.”

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