Skip to Main Content
Link to CSU Home
Link to CSU Home
Students in the Library

Michael Schwartz Library

Students in the Connection Lounge
Michael Schwartz Library

CSU Affordability Advocates

A guide to highlight the amazing course material affordability champions on our campus.

Affordability Advocate

Candice Vander Weerdt

Candice Vander Weerdt

Assistant College Lecturer

Management Department, College of Business

Course: MGT 301 - Principles of Management

Annual student savings: $40,000




Faculty Winner’s Impressions:

Why did you decide to apply for the Textbook Affordability Grant?

The price for the McGraw-Hill Connect access had risen from $62 to $125 in one semester! I saw some other codes were going for $250! I figured the only way to really protect my students from these price hikes was to move to a free textbook. 

How did the project process go? What advice do you have for other faculty considering applying for a Textbook Affordability Grant?

The project took longer than I had anticipated, and it was a lot of work. I was fortunate to have great resources like Ben Richards and Mandi Goodsett from the CSU Library and Heather Caprette from eLearning. They helped me figure out how to create quality assignments like the ones I was using in Connect. Now that the hard work is done, I really enjoy the way the course is going. Making changes to the course is easier now than it was with Connect and I can see student activity in more detail. 

In terms of advice, I would recommend giving yourself enough time. Perhaps test out some of the big changes before going full OER. I used the whole Fall semester to prepare for the move in Spring. I am glad I did. 

What were the results of your project on student engagement and academic achievement?

I am working on a paper right now looking at OER outcomes. Student grades have not significantly changed, but students are more satisfied with the OER textbook and they report better quality. In terms of anecdotal evidence, several students have expressed gratitude for the free textbook. I used to see one or two students falter or drop during the semester when the free Connect access expired. That did not happen with the OER textbook!!