Washington Post “Why digital natives prefer reading in print…”

A Washington Post article posted 2015 Feb 22, presents evidence that young adults, 20-somethings, prefer print when needing to follow text closely. Online reading is reserved for skimming or cursory reading.The article brings to light the tension between using online course material to provide less expensive options and greater access and the educational needs of students who find online reading less satisfying. See the article at http://go.hawaii.edu/8m .

Posted by Sara Rutter in OER

Summer Zero Textbook-Cost Courses

Check out the list of Zero Textbook-Cost Courses through Outreach College this Summer at Affordability + Accessibility = Zero Textbook-Cost Courses. A special shout-out to Geography, Hawaiian Language, Hawaiian Studies, Mathematics, Samoan Language, and Womens’ Studies as the departments with the most Zero Textbook-Courses this Summer. Zero Textbook-Cost courses are also annotated in the Class Availability as Textbook Cost: 0.

Posted by Sara Rutter in OER

New Student PIRGs report shows student savings in open textbooks

Open Textbooks Student PIRGsA press release at Student PIRGs (Public Interest Research Group) http://www.studentpirgs.org/news/sp/report-open-textbooks-billion-dollar-solution describes the findings of a new Student PIRG research report, Open Textbooks: The Billion-Dollar Solution. The report by The Student PIRGs, edited by Ethan Senack, describes open textbook programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Kansas State University, the University of Minnesota, Tacoma Community College, and the University of Maryland. All support the adoption of existing open textbooks and the use of library licensed materials and all report substantial savings for their students when using open textbooks.

Posted by Sara Rutter in OER, Open Education, Zero Textbook Cost

List of Zero Textbook Cost courses through Outreach College, so far…

We now have 42 courses that will be offered through Outreach College that do not require students to purchase course materials:
Class Number
AMST 350
ANTH 313, ANTH 316, ANTH 350, ANTH 481
BIOC 241, BIOC 341
COM 390
ECON 332
ENG 270, ENG 273
ES 318
ETEC 647b
FDM 411, FDM 491
GEOG 101, GEOG 101L
GEOG 151
HAW 100, HAW101, HAW 102, HAW 201, HAW 202
HIST 321, HIST 322
HON 303
HWST 107
ITM 387K
LAIS 380
LTEC 612
MATH 111, MATH 112, MATH 134
PHIL 100, PHIL 301, PHIL 317
SPED 412
WS 151, WS 345, WS 350, WS 453, WS 481

Posted by Sara Rutter in OER, Open Education, Zero Textbook Cost

OPENPediatrics, a free online education community

See the article introducing this library of openly licensed OPENPEDIATRICS medical animations and illustrations at OPENPediatrics.  Supported by the Boston Children’s Hospital and philanthropic and corporate grants, this collection of videos, and other multimedia, is intended to ensure best practices in pediatric care world-wide.  Materials have CC By NC SA licensing (Creative Commons attribution, non-commercial use, and share-alike).

Posted by Sara Rutter in Creative Commons, OER, Open Access, Open Education

Evidence of OER benefits

David Wiley posted an excellent argument for the benefits of OER in education, including post-secondary or higher education;  see the  2015 Jan. 22 post at http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3743 .  Based on research data Wiley and colleagues collected (paper has been submitted for review), students have lower drop/withdraw rates, more students pass the classes, and students are able to carry more credits in a semester when Open Educational Resources are used in place of textbooks that must be purchased.

Posted by Sara Rutter in OER, Open Education

Faculty Leaders: Michelle Manes, Assoc. Professor in Mathematics

Courtesy of Michelle Manes, 2015

Professor Michelle Manes developed an e-text for Math 111 and Math 112, Math for Elementary Teachers, with Instructor Notes.  In this post she describes the motivations for creating an open e-text for these courses and how this project succeeded.


“The e-book delves into the why behind K-5 mathematics in the new Common Core State Standards (recently adopted by Hawaii).  The focus is on beginning to develop in future teachers profound understanding of fundamental mathematics, always answering not just what’s the answer but how do you know you’re right?”


“With Hawaii (and almost every other state in the country) adopting the Common Core State Standards, we had recently worked with the  College of Education on new syllabi for these classes that would better serve their incoming students.

After a really thorough textbook review, we were having a hard time finding something we felt good about using for the redesigned course.  We wanted a book that was readable by students, usable by faculty and graduate students who weren’t used to teaching this kind of class, included interesting and challenging problems, and focused just on K-5 mathematics (not all of K-8).

Every textbook we examined had some weakness (not enough problems; or the focus was too much on computation and procedure rather than understanding and sense-making; or the text wasn’t readable by students; or it wasn’t clear to instructors what to actually do in class).

Also, we were really worried about the tremendous expense of the textbooks from major publishers.  I have a background in curriculum development, and thought I could pull together my classroom activities into a usable format for both students & instructors, and we could just give it away for free.”


“I had already been teaching the course for several years, and I had a storehouse of activities and assignments that I had been using and sharing with other instructors.  I pulled these together into chapters and wrote surrounding text (meant to be read by the students) and brief instructor notes.  I didn’t do much in the way of formatting or pretty-ing it up.  Then a few graduate students learned iBooks author and created the nice versions from my plain-looking files.

Math 111 (first semester) materials were mostly written during the spring of 2013, completed in the early part of the summer.  Graduate students worked that summer to create the ebooks.  The ebooks have been used for several sections each semester since then, and we make modifications each time, based on instructor and student feedback.  Math 112 (second semester) materials were written before and during Spring of 2014.  I was basically writing one step ahead of our teaching (myself and two other instructors).  I revised them based on student and instructor feedback, and graduate students again worked on the ebook formatting during the summer.

I continue to collect instructor feedback as they teach the course, and between semesters I do updates to the materials as necessary.  This summer, I may do a slightly more substantial revision of the whole course.”



Posted by Sara Rutter in Faculty Leaders, Mathematics, OER, Open Education

TechLogic@UH 2015 and OER

Bill Chismar, Dean of Outreach College, will give a presentation on February 2 at 12:00pm: “Open Educational resources: OER Initiatives at UH.” Register for the TechLogic talks and workshops at http://go.hawaii.edu/nd.

Posted by Sara Rutter in OER

Chronicle posts news about Humanities Open Book

A joint initiative of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities will make highly regarded out of print books in the humanities into free e-books with Creative Commons licenses.  See the Chronicle post and the announcement at NEH, Humanities Open Book: Unlocking Great Books. This is great news for OER as it puts more scholarly content into more people’s hands.

Posted by Sara Rutter in Creative Commons, Humanities, OER, Open Access

Summer session 2015 at Outreach College Manoa

We are gathering information about courses that will be Zero Textbook Costs for students this Summer.  So far,  there are 25 courses that will provide students with the materials they need to perform well in the class.  Here is a list of the classes:

AMST 350; ANTH 313, 316, 350, and 481; COM 390; ECON 332; ES 318; ETEC 647B; GEOL 100 and 100L; HIST 321, 322; HON 303; LAIS 380; LTEC 612; MATH 111, 112, and 134; PHIL 100, 317; SPED 412; WS 151, 345, 350, and 453.

This is a wonderful start for the UH OER movement! Stay tuned for more courses to be listed.

Posted by Sara Rutter in OER