MTSU University College Staffer Earns Certification to Help Lower Student Textbook and Course Costs


Middle Tennessee State University is on the leading edge when it comes to making classes and textbooks more affordable for students. Because of a new certification in University College, even more courses could soon be offered with little to no textbook cost.

Kim Godwin, an instructional designer for MTSU Online and an instructor in the College of Graduate Studies, recently earned the Creative Commons certificate from This certificate signifies Godwin has a comprehensive knowledge of open education including Open Educational Resources, or OER, and open pedagogy. She completed a 10-week course to become certified.

“I want to educate and prepare faculty members on the use of creative commons and licenses as we continue growing our OER offerings,” said Godwin, who is in her second year as an instructional designer at MTSU. “I thought I had a good grasp on this, but it’s surprising how much there is to learn about copyright in the creative commons space.”

Open Educational Resources “are materials for teaching or learning that are either in the public domain or have been released under a license that allows them to be freely used, changed, or shared with others,” according to Accessible online, these resources also typically provide downloading options for students who prefer a hard copy of the course materials.

With the Creative Commons certification, Godwin will be able to better identify resources and materials that faculty members and students can use for free. Godwin is already doing that in several of her classes.

Through the knowledge gained in earning the creative commons certificate, Godwin says she hopes this can give MTSU students a more equitable opportunity.

“Creative Commons plays a huge role in diversity, equity and inclusion and global cultural awareness,” she said. “I now have a better understanding of ways to protect intellectual property while still providing opportunities for student learning.”

Godwin says a student in one of her courses this spring has already expressed their gratitude about the cost, or lack thereof, of the materials for the class.

“I am hopeful that the more resources students have at their disposal will give way to better retention rates, which will lead to stronger graduation rates,” she said.

For more information about what MTSU is doing with Open Educational Resources, click here.