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Affordable resources help students explore the wonders of insects

Posted by struscott | June 5, 2018
Rich Zack holds a specimen case of moths in an aisle of the MT James specimen collection.
Richard Zack, Professor of Entomology (Seth Truscott-WSU Photo)

For college students on a tight budget, textbooks can be a costly burden that puts life-changing courses out of reach.

That’s why Rich Zack, Professor of Entomology and Interim Associate Dean of Academic Programs in the WSU College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS), makes every effort to track down open educational resources—free digital materials, documents and online sources—that allow students to explore his insect science courses without breaking the bank.

To thank him, the Associated Students of Washington State University recently gave Zack their Exceptional Usage of Open Educational Resources Award for 2018.

Through courses like “Entomology 101: Insects and People,” and at his popular edible-insect “Bug Buffets,” Zack introduces students who’ve never explored science careers to a new universe of unusual creatures, natural wonders, and basic concepts that help make science—and insects’ role in our world—relevant to everyone.

By keeping costs of materials down, Zack’s efforts allow WSU students to get more out of their education.

“I’ve always tried to make sure that every student can learn about the amazing and important world of insects,” he said. “Open resources help students save hundreds of dollars every semester. For me, it’s exciting to be able to lower the barrier to learning and help students gain experiences that they might not be able to find, otherwise. It’s something every faculty member can aspire to.”