Supporting students, enhancing education

K-State chemistry professors utilize funds through the Textbooks 2.0 initiative to support student readiness

Before entering college, students are faced with decisions regarding where they want to study, what they can afford and if they are truly ready for the demanding course load.

Students who take Chemistry I at Kansas State University, however, have the opportunity to further investigate their readiness due in part to the Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative, also known as Textbooks 2.0.

The grant program provides funding for K-State faculty and instructors to develop an affordable alternative to traditional print textbooks. K-State Chemistry I and II professors participated in the initiative, saving around $200 for each of the nearly 1,200 students who enroll per semester.

In addition to the digital textbook, the chemistry department used their funding from the Textbooks 2.0 initiative to purchase a placement exam created by the American Chemical Society to determine student readiness.

“The purpose of this placement exam is to make sure that the students’ background in chemistry and math is adequate for them to succeed in Chemistry I. The results have allowed us to identify ‘at risk’ students at the very beginning of each semester,” said Dr. Yasmin Patell, teaching professor in the K-State chemistry department.

To help under-prepared students improve, students who receive below a 50% on the placement exam are able to enroll in a Chemistry I recitation class, taught by teaching assistants.

“This ensures all students are given a more equal opportunity to do well in Chemistry I. We would not have been able to hire dedicated and experienced teaching assistants for these classes without the financial support from Textbooks 2.0,” said Patell.

Patell said the recitation course for Chemistry I was such a success that students requested another recitation course be offered for Chemistry II. The chemistry department implemented that course for the spring 2020 semester.

“All in all, the quality of our educational freshman program in chemistry has been enhanced since we replaced generic textbooks with more versatile and effective educational resources,” said Patell.

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