Category Archives: Events

Temple University Celebrates Open Education Week 2020

OE Week 2020 Banner

Temple University Libraries is celebrating Open Education Week March 9-13.  Open Education Week is a yearly celebration designed to raise awareness about open educational resources. Open educational resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free to read and reuse. Examples of OER include videos, problem sets, slides, and textbooks.

At Temple, faculty across the schools and colleges are using OER in their classes. Faculty often assign OER in order to make their courses more affordable for students – by choosing an open textbook instead of a commercial textbook, for example, faculty can potentially save students hundreds of dollars a semester. Another benefit for faculty is it that OER are openly licensed, which means that faculty can remix and build upon the content, customizing the material to meet the needs of their particular class.

To mark Open Education Week, Temple University Libraries will be offering the following activities:

Temple OER Faculty Virtual Exhibit
March 9-13, all day
Charles Library, First Floor
This virtual exhibit profiles a few of the many Temple faculty who are using open educational resources in their courses, focusing on current and past Textbook Affordability Project awardees as well as faculty currently publishing open textbooks with North Broad Press. Read additional accounts from more faculty listed on our blog.

Open Education Tools and Methods Posters Series
March 9-13, all day
Charles Library, 3rd Floor, Digital Scholars Studio
Visit our poster series featuring mapping with QGIS, data analysis with R, network analysis with Gephi, 3D modelling with Blender, and simulation learning with PhET. DSS representatives will be present between 12:00-1:00PM to answer any questions.

Using Open Textbooks in the Classroom Workshop
Tuesday, March 10, 12:30-1:30PM
Charles Library, 4th Floor, room 401
We’ll provide an introduction to the world of open educational resources. We’ll discuss how to find high quality open textbooks in your discipline, and show you how these books can be customized to suit the needs of your particular class.
Register at https://library.temple.edu/events/839

Open Education Grad/Faculty Coffee Hour
Wednesday, March 11, 12:00-2:00PM
Charles Library, 4th Floor Graduate and Faculty Study
Join us for coffee hour in the Graduate and Faculty Study in celebration of Open Education Week!

And, a little later in the month, we’ll be featuring a hands-on workshop focused on locating, mixing, and creating open educational course materials with LibreTexts.

Open Education Week is also a great time to learn more about Temple University Libraries’ Textbook Affordability Project which provides awards ranging from $500 to $1500 to faculty for adopting or creating free alternatives to commercial educational resources. Applications will be accepted until March 25.

We hope you will join us for our Open Education Week events!

Highlighting Temple TAP Awardees

As part of Temple University Libraries’ celebration of Open Education Week, we’d like to highlight some of the many Temple faculty who have been awarded a grant via the Textbook Affordability Project to adopt an open textbook, adapt content available through the library, or create an open educational resource/open assignment. Some Temple faculty are also working with our North Broad Press to create an open textbook. Since 2011, the TAP has granted awards to over 85 faculty across nearly every discipline at Temple University and saved students over one million dollars!

Interested in learning more? Take a look at some of these ideas and example projects; reach out to the subject librarian serving your discipline, or for more information on open educational resources (OER), please visit Discovering Open Educational Resources.


Abdullah headshotQuaiser Abdullah, Communication and Social Influence, Klein College of Media and Communication

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
CSI 2401: Intercultural/Cross-Cultural Conflict 

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Primarily to provide accessibility to students (cost and availability).

How did OER help your students?
It definitely saves them money. It allowed all students to have access to the materials (even if they did not have technology at home) they had access on campus or anywhere there was technology available. It allowed them to interact with the materials outside of class without having to carry texts to various places.

Anni headshotEleni Anni, Biology, College of Science and Technology

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
My Textbook Affordability Project award was for a proposal to switch from a textbook based course to a non-textbook taught course which would take advantage of the expanding Open Education Resources. The course BIOL3354: Neural Basis of Behavior is taken by CST majors in Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience, and Biology students, as well as by CLA and Engineering students.

I am using increasingly OERs to supplement the textbook material in the other courses I teach:

    • BIOL3352: Systems Neuroscience 
    • BIOL3358: Cellular & Molecular Neuroscience 
    • BIOL3361: Molecular Neuropharmacology 
    • BIOL3380: Regenerative Biology, a course I designed in 2019 is based entirely on literature articles and OERs

In addition, I have used OERs for BIOL3080: Directed Readings in Molecular Neuropharmacology and supervised Research in Neuroscience projects (BIOL 3082, BIOL 4391, and BIOL 4591).

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Textbooks for a course are usually underused. In my experience only 1/3 of the textbook chapters is used for a course. The content of the remaining 2/3 of the textbook does not align well with our courses. OERs offer a variety of teaching material to fit different levels of learning students in a classroom.

How did OER help your students?
Use of OERs help students save money spent otherwise on underused textbooks which in my field become also outdated in a couple of years.

Brown headshotDavid Brown, Advertising and Public Relations, Klein College of Media and Communication

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I have used open educational resources in my capstone public relations courses…along with my special topics course, “Politics, Power and PR” and our Bateman competition class which is among the most rigorous campaign capstone course that routinely attracts our highest performing public relations students.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
I chose open educational resources because the information in the field is changing so rapidly that most textbooks are obsolete as soon as they are published. By using OER, we get the most current information and expertise in the industry that a student can immediately apply to their work…just as it works in the real world.

How did OER help your students?
Open educational resources helped my students by helping them to refine their research skills while eliminating a financial barrier that often comes with having to buy expensive textbooks that they may not use beyond the class. It also helped me to stay plugged into the most recent scholarly and industry research in keeping my own skills sharp and nimble.

Caliendo headshotGuillermo Caliendo, Communication and Social Influence, Klein College of Media and Communication

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
CSI 3896: Rhetorical Criticism

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Because it makes readings and exercises much more accessible to students.

How did OER help your students?
It has helped my students educationally and financially.

Chang headshotIsabelle Chang, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
My proposals were accepted by the Temple University Library’s Textbook Affordability Project to use open educational resources (OER) for PSYCH 1003: Statistics for Psychology (2017) and PSYCH 0825: Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences (2018). I have now adopted OER for all of my courses this year.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
The benefits of OER go far beyond saving money. The results of studies* based on my own classes show that:

    • Final grades in the OER class were on a par with the traditional textbook class.
    • OER equalize student engagement and performance by narrowing the dispersions of page views, on-time assignment submissions (OTAS), attendance, and final grades.
    • OER increased attendance and lessened excessive dependence on learning management system (LMS) course materials recorded in the traditional class.
    • The indirect effect of attendance on final grades was stronger than the direct effect of OTAS in the OER class, indicating students can better assimilate course content and comprehend lectures when they had access to textbooks, thanks to the “same page” effect. In contrast, attendance could not generate as much of an indirect effect when mediating OTAS on final grades in the traditional textbook class.
    • Furthermore, moderation test results suggest that the availability of textbooks is a factor influencing student course success.

It appears that OER are more important than ever in elevating overall student academic success.

How did OER help your students?
The “same page” effect of OER might be the most beneficial one for students. Instructors can project the text on the projector interchange with their teaching notes on the PowerPoint slides and/or other instructional related technology or devices. Instructors should encourage students to have the OER text on their laptop so that they can follow the instructor on what is being discussed in the lecture and where to locate the full materials in the text. Hence, the instructor and students are on the “same page” which contributes to better assimilation of course content and comprehension of lectures.

*The manuscript of this study has been accepted for publication in one of the journals in higher education. In addition, this study has been presented in the following conferences:

    • AAC&U’s General Education, Pedagogy, and Assessment conference, February 20-22, 2020 in Jacksonville, FL.
    • The 18th Annual Faculty Conference on Teaching Excellence, Center for the Advancement of Teaching, Temple University, January 7, 2020.
    • OpenCon Philly, Temple University, November 1, 2019.

Whitney Collins, Advertising, Klein College of Media and Communication

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
ADV 1004: Introduction to Marketing

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
I was sensitive to two emerging trends. First was the rising costs of a college education of which texts are a component. Second was the availability of quality, online, peer-reviewed open sources. My interest was piqued by Temple University who challenged me to think about how to leverage open educational resources in a meaningful way.

How did OER help your students?
I’d like to think there were several benefits the students experienced, as class evaluations and feedback suggested. Two would be personal finances and academic achievement. (1) Personal finance, meaning for the course there was no investment required for texts. All resources were open and virtual. Students saved money! (2) Academic achievement because over the course of the term the students actually collaborated to write their own Intro to Marketing Primer. This class developed text was a reference for their ‘open book’ final exam – a built-in incentive for them to ensure their work was thorough and accurate. They did a great job!!

Corrales Martin headshotNorma Corrales Martin, Spanish, College of Liberal Arts

*Norma is currently publishing an open textbook with North Broad Press.

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I have used an Open Educational Resource in my Spanish Conversational Review class, a fourth semester class, that stresses conversation using the vocabulary and structures used in previous semesters.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
I have been teaching Spanish using music for more than 20 years. I put together my experience and knowledge of Latin music to create a textbook based entirely on songs that review a particular Spanish structure and that can address a communicative goal.

How did OER help your students?
Some of the students comments had to do with saving money by not buying a textbook, a more targeted learning experience, the syllabus and course materials were together in one place and more real life Spanish.

Hope Culver headshotSherri Hope Culver, Media Studies and Production, Klein College of Media and Communication

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
MSP1655: The Business of Media

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
The course deals with topical issues in the media industry. There is simply no way for a textbook to respond quickly enough to the changes happening in the industry each year.

How did OER help your students?
Of course, the #1 way it helped my students was in cost savings. They didn’t have to purchase a textbook. (Although I did encourage students to assess their own learning methods and print the alternate materials if they felt that would improve their ability to learn.)

It also sent a message to the students that the course and my approach was going to be topical and “of the moment” as much as possible. Using open educational resources allowed us to use sources that dealt with more recent acquisitions or financial situations, changes in media content and programming, etc.

And, students were able to easily access all course materials wherever they were since all materials were available online. It also allowed me to more easily incorporate podcasts and other media content as assignments.

Dzomba headshotBari Dzomba, Health Services Administration and Policy, College of Public Health

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
Master of Science in Health Informatics Program, Course HIM 5129: Health Data Analytics

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
The field of health informatics, and sub-discipline data science is a fast moving field and traditional learning materials such as textbooks quickly become obsolete as new tools and methodologies are designed. It just made sense to utilize open educational resources for this particular course as there is an abundant amount of material available given the very nature of open source software.

How did OER help your students?
Our students will be entering the job market with skills in leading analytics software and methods without any additional cost for the students.

Faunce headshotRob Faunce, English, College of Liberal Arts

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
ENGL 0802: Analytical Reading and Writing
ENGL 0922: Shakespeare in the Movies
ENGL 2696: Technical Writing

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Open educational resources strengthen our classes by allowing students access to sustainably reusable, high-quality materials that enhance their educational experience at no cost.

How did OER help your students?
Students can access material at any time from anyplace in the world, which aligns with our faster-paced and technological-driven world

Flynn headshotNatalie Flynn, Earth and Environmental Science, College of Science and Technology

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
EES 0836: Disasters: Geology V Hollywood
EES 0837: Evolution and Extinction
EES 2001: Physical Geology 

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Over my many years of teaching, I discovered an increasing number of students did not have access to the educational materials. Many science courses require/request more than one textbook due to the lecture/lab style. The lack of access to quality learning materials created an intolerable educational gap that degraded my intended pedagogical style. After various attempts to fill these gaps, I became involved in the Textbook Affordability Project, thanks to Steven Bell and his wonderful team.

How did OER help your students?
As a result of knowing that all of my students have access to quality learning materials, I have been able to incorporate active and student centered learning practices. Students are able (required) to read and review material before and outside of class which allows for richer topic discussions and so much more.

Fukawa-Connelly headshotTim Fukawa-Connelly, Middle Secondary Education, College of Education

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
EDUC 1017: College Algebra

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
I am committed to lowering the cost for students in order to make a high-quality education more affordable and accessible. Moreover, given the plethora of high-quality OER resources that have been developed, especially in mathematics, it makes sense to do so. The College Algebra textbook is typically used for only a semester, and, when it was costing above $100, and, used or rental options were not meaningfully cheaper due to the alignment with the publisher’s online bundle (including an online homework system). The primary work was to find and align our work with another homework portal that would be free to the students!

How did OER help your students?
As always, lowering the barrier to participation allows students immediate access. They all had their text on the first day. They were all able to use the homework portal all semester! Sometimes, in the past, they would register for a free trial which would expire, and then they would be locked out for a while until they could afford to buy access. Or, they would create a second account, and no longer have access to prior work, or… In short, students were more prepared, more able to do their work, and, we’ve been quite happy with the results.

Harper headshotChris Harper, Journalism, Klein College of Media and Communication

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
JRN 3101: Journalism Law and Ethics

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
The cost of textbooks in a law course run nearly $100, which I decided was asking too much for the students to pay. Even the used books ran at least $70.

How did OER help your students?
The main help was elimination of the textbook, but the open educational resource also allowed me to provide digital access to the materials without a copyright problem.

Higgins headshotShawn Higgins, Academic Coordinator for Bridge Program, Temple University Japan

*Shawn is currently publishing an open textbook with North Broad Press.

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
AMST 0862: First Person America
TUJ 1001: Bridge Seminar
TUJ 1002: Academic Research for International Students

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Knowledge shouldn’t be behind a paywall! If people want to learn, then let them learn!

How did OER help your students?
The free e-textbook I wrote replaced a $90 textbook, saving my class of around 20 new students $1,800 each semester. I lightened backpacks and saved trees by adopting a free e-textbook. Less postural imbalance and more carbon dioxide filtering!

Jacobson headshotSara Jacobson, Trial Advocacy, Beasley School of Law

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
We used an open educational resource for the Integrated Trial Advocacy Program, Introduction to Trial Advocacy, and for a section of Introduction to Trial Advocacy that we teach to students from China in our international LLM program each summer.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Once we knew the resource was available, this was an easy choice. We want to save students money where we can.

How did OER help your students?
This helped our students two ways. First and foremost, it saved them the cost of buying the book. Secondly, because the resource was available online, it was available to them any time they had access to the internet, without worrying about whether they had their book with them.

Laufgraben headshotJodie Levine Laufgraben, Policy, Organizational and Leadership Studies, College of Education

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I do not require a textbook in any of my courses. I participated in the Textbook Affordability Project when I created my Introduction to Higher Education course.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
The students in my Introduction to Higher Education course read all primary source documents that are available as open educational resources. There are textbooks that cover the history of higher education but I wanted to expose students to documents that provide students with a sense of what was being written and said about higher education through time. For example, they read the actual charters of institutions, magazine articles about student life on campus and court cases.

How did OER help your students?
Students gained a better sense of the different periods in American Higher Education by reading materials from the different eras. Also, they get exposed to different types of documents from news stories to government reports to videos.

Neel headshotJaclyn Neel, Greek and Roman Classics, College of Liberal Arts

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I use open educational resources to some degree in every class that I teach. If there is an open resource available that is as good as the traditional resource, I will choose open every time.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
OER are more accessible, in every sense of the word. I want my students to not only learn about the many amazing resources available for my discipline (Classics, the ancient world of Greece and Rome), but also to learn how to approach these resources in an informed and educated way. I also want them to be able to share their learning experience with friends and family outside the classroom, and to be able to revisit topics of interest after the semester ends!

How did OER help your students?
Not only do I save students money, but I can also enrich their educational experience. In Latin this year, I was able to introduce short videos. Everyone thinks Latin is a dead language, but in my class we watch movies that let students learn Latin by taking tours of ancient Rome!

Neuber headshotAmanda Neuber, Honors Program

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
Honors Introduction to Psychology

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Three reasons: to help alleviate the significant financial burden of purchasing traditional textbooks – books that are outdated almost as soon as they are printed; to destigmatize the idea that open source materials are less reliable or credible; and, to serve as an advocate for use of open source materials in all Honors classes.

How did OER help your students?
Students were appreciative of an online open-source textbook because of the accessibility, sustainability, and cost savings. Furthermore, since it lives online and could be edited or updated at anytime, the examples used to illustrate theories were current and interesting.

Nypaver headshotAlisha Nypaver, Music Studies, Boyer College of Music and Dance

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I developed an alternative textbook with listening guides for my World Musics and Cultures class and I adopted an OER textbook for the online sections of Exploring Music.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
I used to use a $69 online eBook platform for the Exploring Music courses and every semester I would get emails from students saying that they couldn’t afford the book so the had to drop the course.

How did OER help your students?
The OER book wasn’t perfect, but it provided a solid foundation upon which I could build a more robust and customized book that I was able to embed directly into Canvas. Students really appreciate not having to spend additional money to purchase a text and like the convenience of having everything on one page instead of having to link out to a publisher site.

Phillips headshotJacqueline Phillips, Kinesiology, College of Public Health

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
KINS 1221 & 1222: Principles of Anatomy I and II 

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
My primary goal in choosing an open textbook was to cut down cost for my students. Our former textbook bundle was very expensive and did not match our learning objectives for these courses very well so I looked at integrating an open educational resource as an opportunity to improve several aspects of these courses.

How did OER help your students?
Not only has the affordability of this course greatly increased, but now I have the ability to edit our textbook. This has enabled me to cut out sections of the textbook that are not relevant to our learning objectives while also adding materials to supplement certain topics. Molding our textbook has drastically increased the clarity of focus for students. Now my students have a much easier time reading the text and have overall been more successful with our courses.

Pratt headshotGary Pratt, Intellectual Heritage, College of Liberal Arts

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I’ve use open educational resources in both my Intellectual Heritage I and II courses.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
I try to use open resources as often as possible to reduce the cost of texts, to make the course materials as accessible as possible, and to create opportunities for new ways of learning.

How did OER help your students?
Students were only able to access the materials easily and from almost anywhere. Working with students, we were able to create new and different texts: annotated, interactive, or illustrated editions. In short, students were making the course.

Ramella headshotDaniele Ramella, Chemistry, College of Science and Technology

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
CHEM 1031 and 1032: General Chemistry I and II.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Cost. When I first joined Temple, one semester worth of chemistry materials could cost up to $300 to each student! Thanks to OER, I lowered that cost to about $35 per student. We tracked the academic outcomes and it didn’t make any difference! I eventually moved to some non-OER because it is virtually free to students under a subscription they anyways need to purchase for other classes.

How did OER help your students?
Financially. And removes the disadvantage felt by students who cannot afford traditional textbooks.

Roehl headshotWesley Roehl, Tourism and Hospitality Management, School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I’ve used OER in both undergraduate and graduate level classes. In THM 1311, Business of Tourism and Hospitality Management, all of the assigned material is from OER sources. The same is true in THM 5345, Understanding Tourism in the 21st Century. In another master’s level class, THM 5601, Service Industry Analytics, I use a mix of OER materials and industry-oriented trade paperbacks.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Because of the flexibility they gave me to focus on the content I found most relevant to my course objectives and because of my concern that the price of traditional textbooks was a burden on my students.

How did OER help your students?
I think this strategy helps students by making it easier to expose them to a variety of voices, perspectives, and content beyond what they might experience from a single traditional textbook. The price issue can’t be ignored, either.

Scarpulla headshotMichelle Scarpulla, Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Public Health

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I used open educational resources in SBS3105 Fundamentals of Health Education.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
I decided to do this because I couldn’t find a textbook that covered all of the content I feel is important for this class. All of the textbooks I reviewed had some of it, but none of them included it all. I was already supplementing with online articles and videos, so it just seemed to make more sense to fully implement this in my class.

How did OER help your students?
It has helped my students in a number of ways. First, they do not have to pay for a textbook, which most of them are very grateful for. Secondly, there is no delay in the beginning of the semester while students wait for books they have ordered online to arrive. Finally, it allows for hearing multiple views on a topic. Since there are readings from so many different sources, they are able to “hear” from many different experts on the content.

Udoeyo headshotFelix Udoeyo, Civil and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering

*Felix recently published an open textbook with North Broad Press.

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I have used open educational resources in two of my classes, namely CET 3145: Structural Analysis and CET 3333: Soil Mechanics.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Being aware of the financial burden on our kids in the college, and in a bid to help in a small measure to lighten this burden, I accepted the challenge by the Library to make educational materials affordable to the students via open educational resources.

How did OER help your students?
At the end of the courses, a questionnaire was administered to the students to find out how helpful to their learning were the open educational resources provided. Here are some of their comments:

    • “Using this method was much more effective, straight to the point and with no unnecessary examples.”
    • “It was easier than using textbooks, more accessible and cost effective.”
    • “New materials were accessible.”
    • “Alternative text is more practical and consistent, easy to go through and to understand.”
    • “Did not need to buy textbook, and all information was concise.”
    • “All notes were clear and provided good examples.”

Udoeyo headshotElvis Wagner, Middle Secondary Education, College of Education

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
FLED 5429: Curriculum and Methods in Foreign Language Education

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
This course is part of a two-course sequence. With the other course in the sequence, I assign a textbook. It’s a very good textbook, and I think it’s beneficial for my students. But it’s also very expensive–$125 for a new copy. I was also using a textbook in the FLED 5429 course that I didn’t particularly like, so I decided to ditch the textbook and use a collection of book chapters and journal articles available for free through the library.

How did OER help your students?
The materials I used instead of the textbook work better than the textbook, and it’s much easier to update the materials and also customize the content by swapping out chapters/articles for more recent and/or more relevant material. And it saves the students money!

Wu headshotJingwei Wu, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
I used an open educational resource in teaching my graduate-level College of Public Health core course: Introduction to Biostatistics.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
Both students and instructors will benefit from an open educational resource: students can save a tremendous amount of money on the cost of textbooks and access the augmented class materials at any time; instructors can enjoy freedom and wisdom in selecting and customizing course materials that fit the competencies of their classes.

How did OER help your students?
Unlike teaching with a traditional textbook, using an OpenStax resource (such as Introductory Statistics) and Temple licensed streaming video (Films on Demand) content provides free access to high-quality, peer-reviewed, learning materials. Being Open can increase the transparency of the source material and facilitates more interaction between the instructor and student. In addition, the students indicated that the Open resources were very helpful and would use the materials beyond the end of the course.

Zusai headshotDai Zusai, Economics, College of Liberal Arts

*Dai is currently publishing an open textbook with North Broad Press.

Which course(s) have you integrated an open educational resource?
Mathematics for economics, both for upper undergraduate and first-year graduate students.

Why did you choose an open educational resource?
No single book can meet diverse needs of my students and also our learning goals.
I can guide my students to other resources as problem sets and secondary references,
while writing an open textbook as a backbone to connect them.

How did OER help your students?
Each student finds a book that best fits with the own interests and needs for each part in the course. Besides, incoming students can easily access those open resources in advance and prepare better.

Can Podcasts Save the Academy?

Photo by Alphacolor 13 on Unsplash.
 

The following is a guest post by English and Communication Librarian Kristina De Voe.

Amid the amid the volume of news and information in today’s 24-hour news cycle, how can scholars, researchers, and academic leaders share their knowledge and expertise outside the classroom, laboratory, or institution? More importantly, how can they make that message relevant for a wider public audience?

On Tuesday, February 27, the Libraries hosted a panel of local experts who discussed podcasting as a viable way for scholars, researchers, and academic leaders to amplify and share their work with a wider audience.

The panel included Tom McAllister and Mike Ingram, both Associate Professors of Instruction in the English Department at Temple University and Hosts of Book Fight! podcast; Matt Wray, Associate Professor of Sociology at Temple University; and, Thea Chaloner, Associate Producer, Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Each panelist brought unique perspectives regarding starting, producing, promoting, and participating in podcasts.

With extensive experience in public radio, Thea Chaloner initiated the conversation by highlighting the popularity of podcasts: over 66 million people are listening to podcasts monthly. With over 250,000 podcasts out there, how does one start a (good) podcast, rising above the noise? Chaloner discussed two kinds of podcasts: the two-way (e.g. a relaxed interview or conversation between hosts and guests) and storytelling (e.g. RadioLab, This American Life), pointing out that the two-way is often logistically easier to create as the storytelling podcast usually incorporates background music, sound effects, and additional editing which can be time consuming.

Chaloner indicated that regardless of type, a good podcast needs thematic and narrative structure. Clear connections between episodes help as well as engaging questions that permit guests to paint a picture with words, inviting listeners to lean in to the story as they are washing dishes, commuting to work, or doing something else. The podcast can be niche in scope, too — this can, in fact, help to determine a loyal audience. Chaloner mentioned three free tools to help podcast creators: GarageBand and/or audacity for editing as well as Freesound for accompanying sound effects.

Mike Ingram and Tom McAllister then discussed their motives and considerations for starting their own podcast, Book Fight!. As both are creative writers, they desired to create the kind of program that they would want to listen to — something relaxed with writers bantering about books. While there was a learning curve for them early on, and a need to upgrade their equipment for better sound quality, Mike and Tom eventually found their groove, incorporating various themes (e.g. “Winter of Wayback”) and segments into each 50-70 minute episode.

Both Mike and Tom recognized the value of audience feedback along with building and interacting with their audience via outside channels like Twitter. They have also experimented with different funding models, including small crowdfunding campaigns and, more recently, using Patreon which lets listeners become members and give regular monthly contributions. Contributors then receive a bonus episode each month.

The final panelist, Matt Wray, offered strategies for academics who are podcast guests. Likening the experience to giving interviews to journalists and radio show hosts, Wray noted, however, that the best feature of podcasts is the conversational back and forth between host and guest, highlighting the seeming intimacy with listeners as they’re literally in their audience’s heads.

Wray stressed the importance of doing homework prior to being a guest on a podcast. He noted that, when contacted, potential guests should ask the producer and/or host what role they’re looking for in a guest (e.g. someone to explain, to persuade, to observe, etc.). Based on this information, the guest can let the producer and/or host know what they are comfortable sharing. Further, the guest should also ask for a list of topics and/or questions ahead of time to prepare, in addition to listening to earlier episodes of the podcast so as to get a feel for the program. Prior to the recording of the podcast, the guest should review relevant research — including their own — to avoid embarrassment and ensure that they can summarize key findings succinctly. Wray emphasized the importance of explaining concepts and ideas as if chatting with a neighbor or the dentist. He recommended that academics stick to 1-3 talking points, avoid jargon, and keep all responses short and to the point.

Thanks to everyone who came out to this informative program!

Temple University Celebrates Open Education Week 2017

The week of March 27th is Open Education Week, a global event coordinated by the Open Education Consortium to raise awareness around free and open sharing in education. This movement advocates for free and open access for learners and teachers to a variety of resources, including platforms, course and learning materials, and textbooks. At Temple University Libraries we believe there is value in supporting the advance towards a culture of openness in higher education. For us, Open Education Week is an opportunity to create awareness about the use of open learning resources. When faculty adopt open textbooks, create their own set of alternate learning material, or open up their own learning resources to others, students have a more affordable education and a better learning experience. To mark Open Education Week, Temple University Libraries will be offering the following activities:

Introducing Humanities Commons
Join Nicky Agate from the Modern Language Association to learn more about Humanities Commons. Humanities Commons is a nonprofit network where humanities scholars can share their work in a social, open-access repository, create a professional profile, discuss common interests, and develop new publications. The network is open to anyone working in or adjacent to the humanities. Humanities Commons was designed by scholarly societies in the humanities to serve the needs of humanists as they engage in teaching and research that benefit the larger community. Unlike other social and academic communities, Humanities Commons is open-access, open-source, and nonprofit. It is focused on providing a space to discuss, share, and store cutting-edge research and innovative pedagogy—not on generating profits from users’ intellectual and personal data.
When: Tuesday, 3/28, 3:30 pm
Where: Paley Library, Digital Scholarship Center

Learn About Open Textbooks
Get a hands-on feel for textbooks from OpenStax and talk to librarians about how other faculty are adopting them in their courses.
When: Wednesday, 3/29, 1:00-3:00 pm
Where: Paley Library, First Floor (elevator area)

Research Assignment Revamp
Looking for inspiration for new content for your summer or fall course? Come to our drop-in sessions to meet with librarians and get ideas for new research assignments, quizzes, course materials, slide decks, and more. Librarians will suggest relevant openly available materials that you can remix and reuse and your students can access for free.
When: Tuesday, 3/28 1:00-3:00 pm; Wednesday, 3/29 2:00-4:00 pm; Thursday, 3/30 11:00-1:00 pm
Where: Paley Library, First Floor, Think Tank

Open Education Week is also a great time to learn more about Temple University Libraries’ Textbook Affordability Project which provides $500 awards to faculty to support the adoption of open and alternate textbooks. More information is available at: http://guides.temple.edu/textbookaffordability. The call for proposals ends April 21st.

We hope you will join us for our Open Education Week events. If you have any questions or would like more information about using open educational resources, please contact Steven Bell, Associate University Librarian (bells@temple.edu), or Annie Johnson, Library Publishing and Scholarly Communications Specialist (annie.johnson@temple.edu).

Fair Use Week Recap

Librarian Greg McKinney talks to a student about fair use during Fair Use Week. Photo courtesy of Steven Bell.

Last week was Fair Use Week, a five-day celebration of the fair use doctrine. Libraries across the United States and Canada held events to raise awareness about the important role fair use plays in the lives in students and scholars. Here at Temple, we organized several events.

We kicked the week off with a fair use quiz. Students who passed by the first floor of Paley Library last Monday were asked to test their knowledge of fair use by looking at four well-known court cases and deciding whether or not the use in question was fair. All students who took the quiz were entered to win a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card. In the end, 47 students took the quiz. Overall, our students did an excellent job distinguishing between fair and infringing use.

On Tuesday, we held an event for our library staff. We watched the ACRL webinar, “Using Fair Use to Preserve and Share Disappearing Government Information: A Guide for Rogue Librarians.” This webinar was particularly timely for us, as a number of our librarians are involved with the Data Refuge Project which was started at the University of Pennsylvania. Despite the webinar’s title, the librarians who are working to preserve government information are not “going rogue,” as this action clearly falls within the bounds of fair use.

On Wednesday, Resident Librarian Anastasia Chui led a workshop on copyright and fair use for undergraduates. This Jeopardy-style workshop asked participants a series of questions about different fair use situations they might encounter.

Finally, we interviewed Nikki Miller, Rights and Contracts Coordinator at Temple University Press, about “Fair Use from a Scholarly Publisher’s Perspective,” for this blog.

It was a great week and we look forward to participating again next year.

Are you interested in learning more about fair use? Check out the following resources:

Fair Use Week Evaluator Tool

Thinking Through Fair Use (University of Minnesota)

The Fair Use App

Stanford Copyright and Fair Use

Copyright for Educators

Talking to Students About Textbook Affordability

alt textbook table

Image courtesy of Kaitlyn Mashack.

August 29th marked the beginning of the fall semester at Temple. As students started classes again, we thought it would be the perfect time to talk to them about affordable textbooks. So, we set up a table in the hall of Paley Library, and, armed with some flyers and our brightly-colored display of OpenStax textbooks, got to work. We thought we’d be doing most of the talking, but it turned out our students had a lot to say on this topic. Here are a few of their stories:

One student was very upset when she realized that her psychology textbook was going to cost her $200. She came to the Library to see if we had a copy, and was disappointed when she found out we didn’t have it (the Library has some textbooks in the collection, but doesn’t actively collect them). She told us she could rent a copy of the textbook for around $50, but before she does that she wants to keep trying to find a free copy. What’s the problem with this scenario? Well, while this student looks for a free or low-cost copy, she’s not actually doing the reading in the class. Instead, she’s falling further and further behind.

We also spoke with a biochemistry major who has never bought a textbook. He said he refuses to pay for textbooks because they’re too expensive and he just can’t afford them. He generally relies on Interlibrary Loan to get his textbooks. When it comes to lab manuals, he just photocopies them. He admitted that although this method has worked for him, it’s extremely time consuming. Wouldn’t it be great if instead of trying to track down free copies of his books every semester, he could spend that time studying?

Another student was in the Library looking for a copy of her $250 calculus textbook. Once again, the Library didn’t have it, and she wasn’t sure what to do. She did not have the money to purchase such an expensive book. We pointed her to the Open Textbook Library and found a couple of different options. She said she was going to ask her instructor if she could use one of the open textbooks instead.

To end on a positive note, we were excited to hear from a number of students who are taking a general chemistry class this semester from Professor Michael J. Zdilla. Zdilla assigns his students the Introductory Chemistry textbook from OpenStax. This textbook is available online, and is completely free for students to read, download, and print out. All the students we spoke with were thrilled that they didn’t have to pay for a similar commercial textbook.

Want to learn more about how the Library is supporting the use of affordable textbooks on Temple’s campus? Check out our Alternate Textbook Project.

Interview with Sarah Faye Cohen of the Open Textbook Network

OTN

This week at Temple Libraries, we are hosting Sarah Faye Cohen, the Managing Director of the Open Textbook Network. Based at the University of Minnesota, the Open Textbook Network was founded in 2014 to help promote the use of open textbooks. One way the organizations does this is through their Open Textbook Library, a searchable database of open textbooks from across the disciplines. As of today, the Library contains over 200 textbooks. To be included in the Library, textbooks must be complete works, have an open license, be available as a portable file, and be currently in use at a college, university, scholarly society, or other professional organization. In advance of her talk, Sarah was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about the Open Textbook Network and open textbooks more generally.

How did you get interested in open textbooks?

When I was Associate University Librarian at Cal Poly, we were dealing with incredibly long lines at course reserves. As we were trying to address that challenge and learn more about students’ need for access to textbooks, we were also starting an open education program. When I learned about open textbooks, I saw a real opportunity for the library to support our students and engage our faculty.

What’s one thing every faculty member should know about using an open textbook?

That an open textbook offers them the opportunity to meet their course objectives and engage all the students in their classroom (as opposed to the ones that could afford the book) through the 5Rs: retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute. Every student can access and keep the book, and if you have ideas for how a book can be improved, you can make the change! Creative Commons licenses really are incredible!

How should faculty members evaluate the open textbooks they find on the web?

We hope that they will start by looking at the Open Textbook Library. We encourage faculty to use the reviews in the catalog from faculty at other OTN schools to help them evaluate each book.

Why should a faculty member consider creating his or her own open textbook?

I’m not sure that they should. I hope that a faculty member will consider using an open textbook and then perhaps adapt that book – one of the most powerful, valuable, and important qualities of open – to better fit their course, by incorporating their own research or updating the content.  If there is not a book yet available in their discipline, creating an open book ensures that students have access to their content because it is free, and that fellow faculty can use the book as a basis for their courses.

While open textbooks are free to read, they still cost money to produce. What model do you think best supports the long-term financial stability of open textbook projects? (i.e. foundation money, charging for printed copies, providing career incentives for faculty, etc.)

You’re right, textbooks are expensive to produce and there are a number of different models out there to support the creation of books. I think that the more higher education institutions pool their resources (including financial resources) and expertise to support open, the better.

Finally, what do you think about the recent announcement that Amazon is developing a new platform for open educational resources (OER)?

It’s great that big players like Amazon (and Microsoft and Edmodo) are working to support OER. This is a sign that OER is becoming mainstream. We support any effort that advances open education and improves education.

Understanding Open Educational Resources

openeducation

“Open Education” by opensource.com is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

This week we’re celebrating Open Education Week at Temple University Libraries. The purpose of Open Education Week is to raise awareness about resources, tools, and practices that help increase access to education.

One way faculty can help make education more accessible is by using open educational resources (OER). What are OER? According to UNESCO, OER are “are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or introduced with an open license. The nature of these open materials means that anyone can legally and freely copy, use, adapt and re-share them.” In a recent study, only 15 percent of faculty respondents said they had used OER in their classes. 39 percent of respondents said that they had never even heard of OER!

This lack of faculty awareness is a real problem, because as students know all too well, class materials such as print textbooks can be very expensive. Some students might go further into debt to buy their textbooks, while others just won’t buy them at all. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are a growing number of high-quality open textbooks available in many different disciplines. One example is the American Yawp, a collaboratively-edited American history textbook created by leading academics from around the United States. You can find more open textbooks by searching the Open Textbook Library, OpenStax, and Open SUNY Textbooks.

If you can’t find the right open textbook for your class, consider creating an alternative textbook instead. Alternative textbooks are “textbooks” assembled from both library and open access resources. Unlike traditional textbooks, however, they are completely free for students. In 2011, Temple University Libraries started its Alternate Textbook Project. Each year, faculty can submit proposals for an alternative textbook. Faculty whose proposals are accepted will receive support from the Libraries and an award of $1,000. So far, 46 faculty members from across the University have participated in the project, saving Temple students over $300,000.

Interested in learning more about open and alternative textbooks? Come to our event, “Ditch the Textbook: Exploring Options for Textbook Affordability,” on Wednesday, March 9th @ 12:00 pm in the Paley Library Lecture Hall. Panelists include Temple University student Eitan Laurence, Associate Professor of Art Gerard Brown, Professor of Tourism and Hospitality Management Wesley Roehl, and Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Production Kristine Weatherston. The panel will be moderated by Annie Johnson, Library Publishing and Scholarly Communications Specialist.

Can’t make it to the event? Follow the conversation on Twitter: #openeducationwk.