2020 Champion


Congratulations Anna Vershynina!!

Congratulations to Dr. Anna Vershynina for being selected as the Lyryx OER Champion of 2020. Lyryx will be presenting the Faculty of Mathematics at the University of Houston with an award of $1,500 to help further fund OER initiatives.

You can read about these initiatives, along with those of other impactful OER advocates of 2020 below.

Anna Vershynina

Institution: University of Houston

Position: Assistant Professor

Course(s) using OER: Advanced Linear Algebra

Your OER Story:

My name is Anna Vershynina, I’m an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Houston (UH). UH is a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI), and it is one of only three Tier One public research universities in the nation with this designation and the only such institution in Texas. Moreover, the UH serves working middle-class students, most of which are working long hours to put themselves through college.

I strongly believe that education is a right not a privilege, and should be free and only limited by students’ interests and abilities, not their finances. To this end, I only use OER in my classes. Last semester I was teaching Advanced Linear Algebra. A textbook from Lyryx was the most comprehensive and clear, and had the best choices for the topics I found. When I found out that it also came with so many perks, such as online homework, practice problems, and teaching slides, I immediately started advertising it on my department. The first question I was asked every time was “How much is it?” It took a while to convince everyone that it was free for the students, free for the instructor, and free for the university. In fact, it’s not only free for the department, it reduces our costs by not having a grader assigned to the class, since the system grades all homework assignments automatically. The next question that always came was “Then why aren’t we using it already?”

I don’t know about the others, but I definitely will be using Lyryx in the future. I have even requested to teach linear algebra again next year, so I can use the system.

Ian Lundholm

Institution: Milligan College

Position: Assistant professor of mathematics

Course(s) using OER: Linear Algebra

Your OER Story:

I am very satisfied with our OER experience so far. Your text and online homework are of high quality and a fraction of the price of other publishers. I like to save my students money whenever possible because college is already expensive enough as it is. I do use extra resources to enhance my own class, but your curriculum is a solid foundation to build from. In addition to your curriculum, I share YouTube videos (from the channel 3blue1brown) with my students to help them visualize linear transformations and other core topics in Linear Algebra. This semester, I’ve begun creating a Geogebra book with visual demonstrations for my students to accompany our work in your text. If you’re interested, you can check them out here: https://www.geogebra.org/m/hc9fb3zx. So far, they are kinda rough but they are available for the Geogebra community to view. I may work on making them more user friendly over the subsequent years.

Breanne Garrett

Institution: William Penn University
Position: Assistant Teaching Professor of Mathematics
Course(s) using OER: Linear Algebra
Your OER Story:

Our school understands that earning a higher education can be a strain on a lot of deserving college students. There has been a slight nudge for us to look at cost-saving curriculum in all of our classes. I’ve removed physical textbooks and fee based online homework systems from many of my classes. This year I added Linear Algebra to the list. Between Nicholson’s OER text and the Inquiry Oriented Linear Algebra units found here: https://iola.math.vt.edu/, my students are getting a decent conceptual experience of Linear Algebra, beyond just the traditional algorithms and procedures. I also use and encourage them to use websites like Geogebra and the Linear Algebra Toolkit to help them generalize patterns. All of these (free) systems allow my students to dig deeper into the mathematics they are working with and get quick feedback on their thought processes.