Category Archives: OER

Kelsie Aguilera’s OER Journey with Anthropology

The following is a special guest blog post by Kelsie Aguilera, Anthropology instructor at Leeward CC.

kelsie-aguilera-oer-2016-2jn0m6d-300x258I first became aware of Open Access (OA) my first week working here at Leeward CC. My office mate at the time was Jayne P. Bopp, instructor in Sociology. Over the course of that first week sharing an office with Jayne, I noticed that she seemed to have found a magical way to avoid all the customary beginning of the semester drama revolving around textbooks. The customary beginning of the semester drama revolving around textbooks includes, but is not limited to, the following student gripes:

  • “Not knowing” what book is needed even though the syllabus clearly indicates the required textbook.
  • Not being able to afford the textbook.
  • Lamenting about not only having to buy an expensive textbook, but also having to read the textbook in spite of being far more adapted to acquiring information on demand (like a Google search) and via more interactive avenues (like educational videos on YouTube).
  • Seeing little value in textbooks. This idea is so pervasive among students that many avoid buying their required textbooks all together. For example, my older brother recently graduated from a well-known community college on the mainland and always boasts that he managed to acquire a B.S. in Education with a ‘B’ average, without ever buying a single required textbook!
  • Unwillingness to commit to my course with full 100% effort in the beginning of the semester because of “not having the book yet”.

Mind you, this list does not even touch upon the multitude of possible instructor gripes!

I soon learned from Jayne that this seemingly magical way of avoiding textbook drama was through providing Open Educational Resources (OERs) to students rather than assigning a traditional (paid) textbook. She then showed me how to search for free, open textbooks as well as how to make them available to my students. Unfortunately, I could not find an anthropology OER textbook, as anthropology is not one of the more “popular” college disciplines like psychology, math, and writing. I quickly abandoned my OER dreams until last Spring semester, when I took the Go Open, Go Free Using OER workshop series at Leeward CC, facilitated by the EMC and Library. If you’re interested, this workshop series will be offered again in the spring semester. Register at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/go-open-go-free-using-oer-spring-2017-registration-28872347970.

In the workshop series, I was guided through the process of curating a set of my own free, OERs. I learned that I no longer had to wait around for a perfect OER textbook to materialize; I could collect my course OERs myself! I loved the freedom and creativity involved in being able to pick and choose my course materials. With a traditional textbook, I disliked that so much of the content covered in the textbook was content that did not align with my Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs), and therefore, I would never assess. Why assign a dense textbook chocked full of material that is irrelevant to the goals of the course? With OERs, I was able to choose a set of relevant and diverse resources – academic journal articles, podcasts from NPR, latest blogs from professional anthropologists currently out in the field, and information from credible anthropological websites like National Geographic. I am lucky that in my discipline of anthropology, many of us have made a commitment to Open Access. In fact, many anthropologists are starting to avoid the traditional publishing route and make their research openly available. And yes, much of these resources that I now assign as part of my set of OERs have earned the esteem of being “peer reviewed”. And no, not a single student from any of the six course sections that I have transitioned to OER in has complained about not having access to online resources.

I personally believe that my ultimate goal with my introductory level anthropology courses here at Leeward CC is to inspire students to have a life-long appreciation and understanding of anthropology, whatever their academic or career paths may be. I personally believe that adapting to student needs by providing curated, relevant, and credible OERs in a variety of content types was an important step in helping me work towards this goal.

OER Benefits for Students

By: Cara Chang, Writing Instructor at Leeward CC. Video produced by: Michele Mahi, Speech Instructor at Leeward CC. Special thanks to Michele’s COM 210H students for sharing their views on OER.

Students from Speech Instructor, Michele Mahi’s COM 210H class, candidly share why they appreciate using Open Educational Resources (OERs) in her class. In sum, students appreciate Michele’s incorporation of OER materials in the course because:

  • The text is available 24-7, so there is no excuse as to why students can’t do their homework.
  • It is free, which means students can focus on paying for their classes and not the added cost of textbooks.
  • The textbook is tailored to the course.
  • It is relevant for the class and provides many different perspectives.
  • It encourages the instructor to curate excellent materials for the content of the course, which means that he/she is involved and invested in the making of the course.
  • It is more fun than reading a textbook.
  • It is convenient and easily accessible.
  • It is easy to share information with others.
  • It is reflective of the “real world” which requires the use of technology.
  • It is environmentally friendly.
  • It is exciting and encourages learning!

View the video to see Michele’s students’ testimonies of why they like and how they have benefited from using OER in their COM 210H class.

Bureau of Labor Statistics: interactive graph shows 87.5% cost increase for college textbooks 2006-2016

The Economics Daily of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has an informative interactive graph of consumer price indexes for tuition and school frees from January 2006-July 2016.  While tuition and fees have risen 63 percent, college textbooks have risen 87.5%. See the graph and data at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/college-tuition-and-fees-increase-63-percent-since-january-2006.htm

Amazon Jumps into Digital Ed Resource Business; Starts with OER

OER is becoming more mainstream with Amazon expanding into the OER market.

Amazon has expanded its footing in the education arena with a new service that allows teachers to search for, curate, share, review and access digital resources for use in the classroom. The program is intended to help reduce the amount of time teachers spend online hunting down learning materials for their students.

 

Link to full article

Go Open, Go Free Using OER begins May 16 at Leeward

For a second year in a row, the Leeward CC Educational Media Center and the Library are facilitating a week long OER training at the annual Pacific Region Learning Summit on Leeward’s Pearl City campus .  The Go Open, Go Free Using OER track provides faculty with an intensive introduction to OER. Participants learn the benefits of adopting OERs, where to find them, how to license and attribute them, and how to share OERs in the UH OER repository. Throughout the week and beyond, individualized support is provided by Leeward instructional designers and librarians.

The ability to reduce higher education costs for students continues to be the main motivating factor for Leeward CC faculty switching from expensive commercial publisher materials to OERs.  In the process of transitioning to OER, faculty discover the benefits to adoption can go far beyond just the cost savings. The flexibility inherent in OERs offers them an opportunity to transform their teaching and free themselves from the restrictions and limitations of the traditional textbook model. This is the true power and greatest potential of the OER movement today.

Textbook Cost: $0 FAQ

Wayde Oshiro head librarian of Leeward Community College posted a great FAQ about the Textbook Cost: $0 note that you may see in some campus Class Availability lists. Leeward, Kapiolani, and Honoulu Community Colleges are posting this information for courses that faculty have identified as Textbook Cost: $0. This is great information for students and is one piece in making higher education more affordable for students.

OER and Student Success

Recent studies show that Open Educational Resources (OER) may have an impact on student success. The UHCC has adopted OER as a strategy to support student success by reducing educational costs for students. In step with national trends, a Spring 2015 survey of students at Leeward CC revealed that fifty-five percent of the 987 respondents had chosen, at least once, not to purchase a required textbook due to cost. A 2014 Babson OER report showed that cost is the least important factor when faculty select teaching resources; proven efficacy is the most important factor for faculty.  The report also shows that 73.4% of the faculty feel OER is either superior or equivalent in quality to traditional resources.  Based on recent studies, it appears that OERs have a positive impact on student completion, retention, and achievement.

Kapiolani CC Librarians, Susan Kazama and Sunyeen Pai, and Leeward CC Librarian, Wayde Oshiro, shared the results of recent studies examining the impact of OER and student success with attendees at the 7th Hawaii Strategy Institute on March 4-5 at Kapiolani Community College.   A list of the referenced studies is available at the end of the presentation.

Open Educational Resources and Student Success

HSI_2016_OER_Student_Success_photo

New Student PIRGs report on the impact of textbook costs in higher education

Covering the Cost (report by Student PIRGs)A new Student PIRGs report (just posted February 3, 2016) looks at the financial impact of textbook costs on students ability to attain a post-secondary education.  From  Covering the Cost, key findings from a sample size of 4, 704 students from 132 schools in 26 states, include:

  • Almost one-third (30%) of students replied that they had used financial aid to pay for their textbooks.
  • For those that used financial aid, the amount of financial aid dollars they put toward purchasing textbooks was more than $300 on average per semester.
  • Textbook prices disproportionately impact community college students: 50% of students report using financial aid for books at community colleges, compared to 28% at 4 year public schools. And, on average, community college students use more financial aid than their peers at 4 year schools.

Survey of UH Faculty shows interest in Open Educational Resources

Here is the link to download the full report and/or the executive summary: OER & University of Hawaii Assessment Survey.

Beginning in the spring of 2014, the University of Hawaii (UH) Outreach College and the Information Technology Services joined efforts to promote the use, selection, and creation of OER across the UH System. Because the use of OER is still in the early stages, the University of Hawaii Open Educational Resources Team felt it was important to learn how and why instructional faculty and staff across the UH System wanted to interact with OER. Beth Tillinghast, librarian and project leader for ScholarSpace (our digital commons) created, distributed, and analyzed the survey, which was sent to UH faculty electronically in Spring 2015.

How OER is saving students money at Leeward CC

Leeward CC starts 2016 with 148 Textbook Cost: $0 classes with a combined enrollment of 2,643 students.   Estimated cost savings for students this semester is $131,334.

A Textbook Cost: $0 designation means that an instructor does not require students in their class to purchase textbooks, supplemental course materials, or access codes.  Faculty teaching a Textbook Cost: $0 class incorporate Open Educational Resources (OERs) and other freely available materials to replace costly commercial textbooks.  Leeward CC faculty use OpenStax and other OERs, library-purchased e-books and streaming videos, faculty-authored materials, and a variety of open web resources to use the Textbook Cost: $0 designation.

The money Leeward CC students are saving through the Textbook Cost: $0 program reduces the overall cost of their education. Students can immediately apply any cost savings towards their living expenses and it reduces the need for part-time jobs or having to work more hours.  Students can even use the savings to help pay for additional classes which potentially reduces time to completion.

Since Leeward CC faculty started replacing commercial textbooks with OERs and zero-cost resources students have saved nearly $300,000!

Leeward CC Textbook Cost: $0 Classes

Leeward CC Student Testimonials and Survey Results

Open Educational Resources @ Leeward CC website