Tag Archives: David Hunt

More women playing fantasy football

Are you ready for some football?

The first game of the NFL season kicked off Thursday, and with it came the fantasy football madness. With free fantasy football websites and apps making it easier to keep track of statistics, fantasy sports continue to grow in popularity.

However, a recent report from the Fantasy Sports Trade Association shows about a third of the fantasy sports-playing population is female. Even in 2012, the FSTA approximated almost 6 million women participated in fantasy football leagues.

Although this statistic may be surprising to some, Dr. David Hunt, sociology of sport expert and associate professor of sociology at Georgia Regents University, says this is a positive sign as it is proof the playing field is beginning to level out.

“Research shows fantasy sports are moving away from being a male dominated game and, with the Internet giving us new ways to access player stats, more people will join leagues so they can feel more a part of their favorite sport,” said Hunt.

Hunt shared more of his expertise on this topic with The Augusta Chronicle. Click here to view the story.

Hunt is a highly acclaimed sociologist whose work has been featured in several publications such as the American Educational Research Journal and the Sociological Spectrum. His studies on sports and society have garnered him the opportunity to be a presenter at numerous sociologically based meetings throughout the United States and Canada including the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport in Ontario.

Lowering the cost of higher education, one (free) book at a time

Even though students have been complaining about the cost of textbooks for about as long as textbooks have been in use, recent numbers from the American Enterprise Institute paint a shocking picture: an 812 percent increase in the cost of textbooks since 1978. That’s a bigger jump than the increases in tuition, housing, or health care.

And that increase is hitting students in more than just the pocketbook. According to a report issued by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, 65 percent of college students choose not to buy a textbook because it’s too expensive, and 94 percent of those say that they suffer academically because of it.

“They’ve done all kinds of studies and found that oftentimes students can’t afford their textbooks. So they’ll start the class without textbooks, and then they get behind,” said Melissa Johnson, Librarian Assistant Professor. “They’ll start borrowing books, but by then it’s often too late.”

Johnson is the Library Coordinator for Affordable Learning Georgia, an initiative of the University System of Georgia that aims to increase access to a college education by making educational resources more affordable through support of the adoption, adaption, and creation of Open Education Resources (OER), freely accessible, openly licensed materials that are used for educational purposes.

Dr. Robert Bledsoe, Assistant Chair, Department of English and Foreign Languages, is the program’s Campus Champion.

“Students have had to make life choices, and the life choice was not to buy the text book,” he said. “We still walk around with this vision of college as an elite institution, and though that changed in the sixties, we haven’t gotten around to thinking about the situation of the majority of students, who are going to school but maybe have a part-time job with little financial support. At least at the undergraduate level, this is still where we’re very much at.”

To illustrate one of the many frustrations students experience, he picked up a literary anthology that was about as thick as a box of Kleenex.

“We make them buy this, which is actually the shorter version, and they read maybe a tenth of it,” he said. “That’s not a satisfactory feeling.”

When the team-taught humanities program was changed from two four-unit classes to two three-unit classes, the team of instructors took advantage of the opportunity to utilize the Affordable Learning Georgia grant to create and gather their own materials.

Previously, students could spend as much as $500 on books and materials for the course.

Though the move worked for the humanities courses, getting the faculty and students to transition to nontraditional study materials, whether they’re OERs or articles or smaller books, isn’t always easy.

“I think GRU has been much more reliant on textbooks than I remember in my undergraduate education,” Bledsoe said. “At a certain level, a lot of classes just had regular books, where a lot of ours, even upper division classes, tend to rely on anthologies or published textbooks.”

The adjustment to more affordable alternatives tends to be more difficult in the humanities because of copyright issues, Bledsoe said. Unlike their counterparts in the sciences, humanities teachers are often using materials that someone has ownership of – images of art works, recordings of musical performances, or literature. Even translations of classic works in the public domain have issues, since many were published over a hundred years ago, when language was used differently than students are used to it being used now.

While Affordable Learning Georgia is an organized effort to change things at a state level, teachers have been working to alleviate the burden of textbook costs for years.

In December, Dr. David Hunt, Assistant Professor of Sociology, was recognized at the initial meeting of Affordable Learning Georgia’s “Symposium on the Future of the Textbook” for his efforts in adopting the use of an open access textbook for his Sociology 1101 course.

He started using the OpenStax Sociology book during the summer of 2012, and according to the University System of Georgia, he’s saved his students more than $11,000.

Supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rice University among others, OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. They produce several peer-reviewed texts in a variety of formats that are either free or, in the case of a printed book, at cost.

“I started talking to textbook publishers asking if they had anything cheaper, and they started giving cheaper versions. But it still wasn’t really, really cheap,” Hunt said. “Then I was contacted by the OpenStax people to review their intro sociology book. I reviewed three or four chapters for them, and once I saw the quality and the fact that it was free, I said as soon as this is available, I’m going to use it. And I did.”

The reasoning against OERs, that the cost of vetting the authors and the material is expensive, is something Hunt rejects.

“The OpenStax people are doing the exact same thing, so that’s really not an argument,” he said. “They haven’t made that argument because they can’t.”

As Interim Director of Distance Education, Hunt is representative of a new breed of educator. He teaches completely online, and his intro class uses the free sociology book.

“Students have the flexibility to study whenever and wherever they can,” he said. “They don’t have to pay extra money to do it, so to me, it’s gotten to the point where students can learn sociology as they need to instead of how we’re forcing them to.”

The traditional model of education, he said, is “you come and you sit and you listen to me tell you things the way I want to tell you things.” The newer models are, “you come and let’s start exploring some of these things, and you need to be doing it on your own, and here’s how you can do that.”

“That’s a very different model of education, but it’s an exciting one,” he said.

For more information about Affordable Learning Georgia, click here.


Hunt appointed Interim Director for Distance Education

Dr. David HuntDr. H. David Hunt, Assistant Professor of Sociology, was appointed GRU Interim Director for Distance Education effective Aug. 11, 2014. The announcement was made by Provost Gretchen Caughman.

As Interim Director, Dr. Hunt will collaborate closely with administrators and faculty to develop business plans for new online programs and courses. He will be responsible for the administrative implementation and support of online teaching and learning to include ensuring compliance with regulatory and accreditation requirements. In collaboration with the Provost’s Office, Dr. Hunt will provide leadership in the development and implementation of an evolving vision for online learning at GRU that embraces the institution’s multifaceted mission, the educational needs of the state of Georgia, and exemplary online pedagogical practice.

“I appreciate Dr. Hunt’s gracious acceptance of this position and am looking forward to working with him in his role as Interim Director,” says Dr. Caughman.

Dr. Hunt earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University and his doctorate in sociology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.