In response to rising prices and the falling quality of college textbooks, a Lakeland professor has taken a step to making at least one book more affordable for his students. His effort has gained the attention of fellow educators, and Ohio’s education chancellor has taken note.
Lakeland Mathematics Professor Dr. Carl Stitz, was recently named among the outstanding faculty at University System of Ohio institutions who have creatively integrated digital content into their courses. The Faculty Innovation Award was created by Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut in 2009 to stimulate the creation of innovative and affordable instructional materials for students in the University System of Ohio.
Stitz co-authored “College Algebra” with fellow math colleague Dr. Jeff Zeager of Lorain County Community College, who was recognized alongside Stitz by Chancellor Fingerhut.
The textbook is available online at www.stitz-zeager.com, for students to download for free. Printed versions are available through www.lulu.com for the cost of printing and binding (which is less than $20 per book as opposed to more than $100 for traditional textbooks).
The Free College Algebra Textbook initially began as part of the Stitz-Zeager Open Source Precalculus Project, which the duo launched in response to the high cost o f college textbooks for their students. They also felt that much of the mathematical rigor in traditional textbooks diminished over the years, thereby robbing students of valuable mathematical learning.
Their solution was to co-author their own college algebra book, offer it free to students and faculty, and develop it in a way for anyone in the world to adapt it to their needs. Stitz and Zeager have received positive feedback from colleagues across the state, nation, and from as far away as The Netherlands.
“The college is very proud of Dr. Stitz and his noble cause to publish such a high calibre electronic algebra textbook and offer it to anyone free of charge,” said Dr. Frederick Law, executive vice president and provost at Lakeland. “By declining offers from publishers, he is committed to providing students with free access to the book.”
Several national college textbook outlets have pursued the authors to publish their work. However, they have declined all offers in order to maintain their original vision of creating a high-quality, content textbook that is within reach and accessible to the average college student.
Dr. Stitz is entering his 10th year teaching at Lakeland and is the recipient of the college's 2010 Distinguished Service Award for Faculty.
About the Award In order to award and stimulate the creation of innovative, affordable instructional materials for students in the University System of Ohio, Chancellor Eric D. Fingerhut has created the University System of Ohio Faculty Innovator Awards. Each winning recipient will receive a $1,000 cash award for using technological innovation to reduce the cost of textbooks to students. Funds for the program come from the Ohio Learning Network (OLN) Investment Fund. OLN is a consortium of Ohio colleges and universities dedicated to using technology in teaching and learning, as well as promoting shared statewide resources.
Photo Caption: L-R Chancellor Eric Fingerhut, Dr. Jeff Zeager, Dr. Carl Stitz, & Ohio First Lady Frances Strickland