Chico Affordable Learning Solutions (CAL$)

Jim Mensching

Using the free book production tool Pressbooks, which is built on top of the popular WordPress software, Dr. Mensching developed a new textbook for his BIS 105 course, and updated a textbook he had previously written for BS 496 and provides to his students at no cost.

Reflecting on his experience in TAP, Dr. Mensching wrote:
"I am a very strong believer in using customized textbooks in our courses. It is difficult to get students to do the readings for class, that is just the way this current generation operates. Custom textbooks can be designed specifically for a course and can be a big motivator for the students to read the text before class since it directly relates to all of the course content. I have had students tell me that unlike the other courses they take reading the text really helps them understand the material. It also allows us to introduce material that directly relates to the CSUC experience and our specific curriculum. While it is a huge amount of work with very little academic recognition, the effort is worth it with respect to the quality of the course."

Jim Mensching's Initial Project Summary

Initial proposal idea for replacing current textbook or lowering textbook cost.
To write two textbooks.  One for BSIS 105, the first course for BIS majors and the other for BSIS 496, the capstone course for BIS majors.

Savings, if you can estimate, to students overall.
This semester the BSIS 105 class had 22 students.  The previous textbook cost about $60 and mine is free.  Hence the savings are about $1,320.

This semester the BSIS 496 class had 23 students.  All competing texts cost over $200.  Hence the estimated savings is about $4,600.

Of course, both texts will be used in subsequent semesters and will produce even more savings.

How you are complying with copyright law if using copyright protected materials?
I own the copyright and it is all original material.

How you are addressing accessibility of course materials?
The books are available in Blackboard to all registered students.  The books are available in multiple formats for the students' convenience.

Name of co-helper(s), Librarians and/or ITCs
I hired a graduating BIS major, Sarah Barrera.  She did a fantastic job in formatting the work and doing research.  Also Peter DiFalco was a great technical help in dealing with Pressbooks, YouTube and other areas.  James Tyler helped us with copyright issues and locating diagrams and figures that were available to us.