Susan Wood, Professor CC of English, was the first at Leeward CC and in the UHCC system to create an open, online course for English 100: Composition I, which provides students with zero textbook cost, and allows anyone to re-use and re-mix her materials under the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license. With assistance from the Leeward CC Library, Susan found and used Open Educational Resources (OER) and her own content for the content modules. Rachael Inake, from the Educational Media Center worked with Susan in planning and developing the content modules, putting the content in a weekly modules format using Google Sites, and publishing it as a template site for other Leeward CC ENG 100 instructors (or anyone) to re-use and re-mix under the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license. Susan also created a companion Laulima course site for instructors to copy to use with the weekly modules site. Susan and Rachael also created an Instructor’s Guide to help instructors put the course together.
The following is a guest post from Susan Wood.
I was fortunate to be granted a sabbatical for Spring 2015. Part of the project that I proposed in my sabbatical application was to create an online ENG 100 course using Google Apps for Education that would be available for lecturers (or anyone) to use if they were assigned to teach an online ENG 100. After that project was approved, I was approached by both Kay Caldwell and Leanne Riseley and asked to consider creating the course using Open Educational Resources (OER). I knew very little about OER but have always used textbook cost as a major factor when choosing a textbook, so I decided it would be a worthwhile addition to the project. I did not realize at that point what an adventure I would have in the world of OER.
My first exposure to OER was a video on the Leeward CC Open Educational Resources Guide. In the video, which has since been replaced by Jayne Bopp’s wonderful video, an instructor in social sciences effusively talked about how she decided textbooks were too expensive for her students, so she found a fantastic OER textbook, pasted the link to the textbook into her course website, and proceeded to teach her course from this free resource. She made it sound so easy… all I needed to do was find the perfect OER textbook for ENG 100 and I would be on my way!
However, after weeks of searching and reading, I realized that there was no perfect ENG 100 textbook. I did find some OER ENG 100 textbooks, but some were really long and cumbersome, some were poorly written (ironic, I know), some didn’t cover the range of material we cover in ENG 100, and some were incomplete. It was then I realized I would have to create the course using a re-mix of content from several of the textbooks.
My next step was to pick the best of the content from the textbooks I found. I bookmarked the three textbooks that had material that I thought would best fit in a Leeward CC ENG 100 course, and then I set to work. I wrote an outline of the course and then proceeded to search through the OER textbooks and pull materials that I then revised as needed to fit the course objectives.
Collecting course content was a mostly enjoyable process because I got to explore what others teach in first-year writing courses. It was also professionally invigorating to read through so many different approaches to teaching first-year writing. At times, though, collecting content was frustrating when I could not find what I needed– so I had to create some content myself. Luckily, I had Rachael Inake to help me with the technical aspects of creating Google Slides, YouTube videos, and PowToons, and I was able to use these tools and more to create content. All in all, the experience of choosing, re-mixing, and creating OER was a very positive one.
The ENG 100 course is now finished and I am very pleased with how it turned out. I am excited to use the course for the first time this summer and will use it again in the Fall. I am also really excited that my students don’t have to buy a textbook. In past semesters, some students would go for weeks or even the entire semester without a textbook because they could not afford all of the textbooks for all of their courses. I am thrilled that I can now offer a course that does not burden students with the cost of a textbook. OER makes that possible.
Below are a few screenshots of the ENG 100 OER course materials.
Susan’s materials available for accessing, copying, re-mixing, and re-using, under the CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license:
- ENG 100 OER Instructor’s Guide to put the course together: http://tinyurl.com/eng100-oer-instructor-guide
- ENG 100 OER learning modules website template: https://sites.google.com/a/hawaii.edu/lee-oer-eng100/
- ENG 100 Laulima course site
We are applaud Susan’s hard work and effort in creating this valuable resource for Leeward CC faculty/lecturers and students, the UH system, and the OER community!