Chemistry professor’s video touts use of e-text

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May 15, 2017

Henry Jakubowski

Professor Henry Jakubowski is the author of an online textbook, "Biochemistry Online: An Approach Based on Chemical Logic."

Photo: Tommy O'Laughlin '13

You don’t need a college degree to know that the price of college textbooks continues to rise at a pace vastly exceeding inflation.

“This impacts first generation and under-represented students more, and that’s not fair or equitable,” said Henry Jakubowski, professor of chemistry at CSB/SJU, in a new video. “Let’s address the problem.”

Jakubowski, who has written an e-text, “Biochemistry Online,” has produced a three-minute video touting the use of online books. His video, which is live May 15-22, is part of the STEM For All Video Showcase, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The showcase is an effort to show innovative work broadening participation and access to STEM fields of study (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). A total of 171 videos will be featured in the showcase from grant recipients, and the NSF is encouraging people to watch the videos and leave comments.

Jakubowski’s video documents the advantages of online books - being able to show complex and interactive 3D images of biomolecules, to display interactive graphs that change in real time and the ability to add new information and topics as they appear in research literature.

His online book has received almost 1.5 million hits through his CSB/SJU site and a mirror site through BioLibre texts, developed by Delmar Larsen at the University of California, Davis.

Oh, and did we mention the book is free?

“I believe we have a moral responsibility to allow equitable and fair access to available knowledge,” Jakubowski said. “Free textbooks allow that.”

“Biochemistry Online” is available through CSB/SJU