Textbooks 2.0 and All In for K-State: Motivated to save students money

Dr. Colby Moorberg, assistant professor in the College of Agriculture, knows digital resources save students money, inspire teaching and promote critical thinking

Memories of struggling to pay for college inspired Dr. Colby Moorberg, assistant professor of soil science in the Department of Agronomy, to create ways to lessen the financial burden of his students. “I put myself through undergraduate college on student loans and a small scholarship,” Moorberg said. “I remember having to pay up to $700 on textbooks one semester, and I thought to myself, if I’m ever in a position, I’m going to do what I can to reduce the costs students incur when they go through college.”

Moorberg was true to his word. Utilizing grants from the Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative, also known as Textbooks 2.0 at Kansas State University, he has created two digital resources for his students, meaning they don’t have to buy traditional, expensive textbooks. The first book, a lab manual, saves students $165, and the second, an annotated bibliography on soil and water conservation, saves them more than $100.

Another great aspect of these Textbook 2.0 resources is how they create a more integrated teaching and learning experience for Moorberg and his students. “Once all the work of putting these sources together is done, it’s actually easier to teach my class because the content is customized to what I want to teach, the lessons I want to do, the activities I want to use in class — it’s all ready to go the way I like it.”

In producing the digital Soil and Water Conservation annotated bibliography, Moorberg enlisted the help of his students as a way to teach them about research and finding credible sources. “Students were not just absorbing the content we provide them; they were actually creating the content themselves,” he said. “I let the students choose a topic. Then they went and found credible information sources, annotated those citations, and were attributed as co-authors on the chapters they contributed to.

“The nice thing with digital textbooks is, we can always create new, updated versions. I view the textbook as a living document,” Moorberg said. “There are things that weren’t covered in the first edition that I’d like to address later on, so I see those as possible projects for students in future semesters.”

Support K-State students by supporting the Textbooks 2.0 during All In for K-State, March 24, 2021. You can request a concierge reminder when you click that link!

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