Tag Archives: OER

Congratulations to the 2023 Textbook Affordability Project Award Recipients!

Collage of headshots of the 2023 Textbook Affordability Project award recipients.
2023 Textbook Affordability Project award recipients

Guest post by Kristina De Voe, English and communication librarian, with the Open Education Group 

The Temple University Libraries are happy to announce our 2023 Textbook Affordability Project grant award recipients:  

  • Norma Corrales-Martin, Spanish and Portuguese, College of Liberal Arts 
  • Marni Cueno, Psychology, Temple University Japan 
  • Graham Dobereiner, Chemistry, College of Science and Technology 
  • Anne Frankel, Social and Behavioral Sciences, College of Public Health  
  • Shuchen Susan Huang, Asian and Middle Eastern Languages and Studies, College of Liberal Arts 
  • Marian Makins, Greek and Roman Classics, College of Liberal Arts 
  • Peter Marshall, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts 
  • Mike McGlin, Greek and Roman Classics, College of Liberal Arts 
  • Adrienne Shaw, Media Studies and Production, Klein College of Media and Communication 
  • Jingwei Wu, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health 

These course instructors have all committed to introducing open educational practices in their classrooms during the upcoming academic year and will be moving forward with project plans to adopt zero-cost learning materials into their courses.  

As part of the grant, awardees will complete training over the summer, participating in a learning community in which they will increase their awareness around open textbooks, open educational practices, and affordable learning materials. They will also have opportunities to develop their projects.  

The Textbook Affordability Project (TAP) is a grant program that awards funds to Temple faculty members who make their courses more affordable for their students by replacing costly educational resources with library-licensed materials or open educational resources (OER), including open textbooks. Alternatively, faculty can receive funds for engaging in other open educational practices, like creating learning objects or replacing a traditional assignment with renewable assignments that center students as creators of knowledge. The call for applications goes out annually in the spring. 

Since 2011, The TAP has granted awards to over 100 faculty across nearly every discipline at Temple University and saved students over one million dollars. 

New Open Textbook: Economics for Life

North Broad Press, the joint Temple University Libraries and Press imprint, has published its fourth open textbook! Economics for Life: Real-World Financial Literacy, by Dr. Donald T. Wargo, is now available open access on the Press’s Manifold platform and on the Press website.

Wargo, Associate Professor of Instruction in the Economics department at Temple University, has for several years taught an undergraduate course on financial literacy as part of Temple’s general education program. In the process of planning for and teaching his course, Wargo realized that not only did his students lack an understanding of financial decision making—including credit card use, making large purchases such as a car or home, and retirement planning. Opportunities for guidance on these major decisions were limited.

Wargo found that the available textbooks on the subject lacked the breadth and depth he believed was necessary to prepare students for the numerous decisions they would be facing, This, coupled with the high cost of the commercial textbook he had been using, led him to submit a proposal for an original open access textbook to North Broad Press. As he noted in his proposal, “Economics for Life: Real-World Financial Literacy is designed to help soon-to-be college graduates emerge into the start of their ‘real lives’ with better comprehension of how to analyze the financial decisions that they will soon have to make.”

With chapters on creating and living within a budget, evaluating and managing debt, and the fundamentals of investing, Economics for Life’s approachable style and accessible content make it an ideal book for anyone looking for practical guidance. Readers will learn how to use financial data to make informed personal finance decisions. The book’s Manifold site also includes a supplemental resource—an article by Wargo on the explanation and impact of the “pandemic recession,” defined as mid-February to mid-April 2020.

About the author

Dr. Donald T. Wargo is an Associate Professor of Instruction in the Economics department at Temple University. His specializations are in Real Estate, Behavioral Economics and Neuroeconomics. Prior to his teaching career, he held executive positions in several large real estate companies in the Philadelphia area, including Vice President of Finance and President. For fifteen of those years, he ran his own development company, Wargo Properties, Inc.

About North Broad Press

North Broad Press publishes peer-reviewed open textbooks by Temple faculty and staff. It operates under the following core principles:

  • We believe that the Libraries and the Press are critical resources for publishing expertise on campus.
  • We believe that the unfettered flow of ideas, scholarship and knowledge is necessary to support learning, clinical practice, and research, and to stimulate creativity and the intellectual enterprise.
  • We support Temple faculty, students, and staff by making their work available to audiences around the world via open access publishing.
  • We believe that the scholarly ecosystem works best when creators retain their copyrights.
  • We believe in experimentation and innovation in academic publishing.
  • We work to decrease the cost of higher education and improve learning outcomes for students by publishing high quality open textbooks and other open educational resources.
  • We believe in the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion, and promote these values through our publications.
  • We commit to making our publications accessible to all who need to use them.
  • We believe place matters. Our publications reflect Temple University and the North Philadelphia community of which we are a part.

Temple University Celebrates Open Education Week 2023

Temple University Libraries is celebrating Open Education Week from February 27 to March 3, 2023. Open Education Week is an annual celebration designed to raise awareness about open educational resources and practices. 

What are Open Educational Resources and Practices? 

Open educational resources (OER) are teaching and learning materials that are free to read and reuse. Examples of OER include videos, images, lab activities, homework assignments, and textbooks. Open educational practices — also known as open pedagogy — use OER to support learning and invite students to be active participants in the teaching and learning environment, engaging in knowledge creation and sharing. 

Faculty who use OER instead of a commercial textbook can help save students hundreds of dollars a semester. Faculty who use OER can revise, remix, and build upon the content created by others, customizing the material to meet the needs of their particular class. This can aid in bringing about a more culturally responsive teaching and learning experience. 

Open Education Week Events & Activities 

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

Contest for Students 

  • Tell Us Your Textbook Affordability Story 
    Submit a true story about the most money you spent on textbooks in one semester. In a paragraph, audio/video clip, graphic design, or some photos, briefly share how this expense impacted you and what that money would have gone towards if you didn’t have to pay for textbooks. 
    You can win a day’s reservation to a study room in Charles Library or Ginsburg Library during final exams! Five winners will be randomly selected from all entries. Deadline to submit: March 17, 2023

Event for Faculty 

  • Waffle OPEN House 
    Our featured faculty event is a tasty one! You’ve heard of Waffle House. Join us on Wednesday, March 1 at Charles Library for Waffle OPEN House.  
    Come to Suite 375 in Charles Library between 10:00 am and 12:00 pm for waffles, pancakes, coffee, and more – along with informal discussions with our librarians about open education practices and how to incorporate them into your instructional practice.   

Online Workshops 

  • Textbook Affordability Project Application Information Session 
    Monday, February 27, 2023 | 12 pm | Register 
    Join us as we discuss the TAP grant award opportunities, application process, requirements, and answer any of your application questions. 
  • Using Open Educational Resources in the Classroom 
    Tuesday, February 28, 2023 | 12 pm | Register 
    In this workshop aimed at faculty and teaching graduate students, we will provide an introduction to the world of open educational resources. We’ll discuss how to find high quality OER in your discipline and show you how these materials can be customized to suit the needs of your particular class and improve student success. 
  • Copyright and Creative Commons 
    Tuesday, February 28, 2023 | 1 pm | Register 
    Join us as we cover the basics of Creative Commons licenses—what they are, how to find CC-licensed material, and how to license your own work. 
  • Sharing Your Teaching and Learning Materials with TUScholarShare 
    Wednesday, March 1, 2023 | 1 pm | Register 
    Temple’s institutional repository, TUScholarShare, provides free online access to textbooks, syllabi, slide decks, tutorials, videos and more created by faculty and staff. In this workshop, you will learn about the benefits of sharing your materials and how to make them open and freely available online to teachers and learners beyond Temple. 
  • How to Promote Your Open Scholarship 
    Thursday, March 2, 2023 12 pm Register 
    This workshop will cover strategies how faculty can promote for promoting their open scholarship. This will cover building a scholarly profile, where to store your work, how to showcase your work on social media, and how to express this hard work in the promotion and tenure process. 

Accepting Applications for the Textbook Affordability Project Grant! 

Open Education Week is also a great time to learn more about Temple University Libraries’ Textbook Affordability Project, which provides grants ranging from $500 to $1,500 to faculty who adopt, adapt, or create free alternatives to commercial educational resources. Engaging in open educational practices, like replacing a traditional assignment with a renewable assignment, is also an option. Applications are being accepted until April 7, 2023. 

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

Faculty Support of Open Education: An Interview with Jules Epstein

This week is Open Access Week, a yearly international celebration that aims to increase awareness about open access. Most academic work is locked up behind a paywall, available only to those who are affiliated with a college or university. Open access (OA) scholarship is completely free to read and reuse. Help us celebrate by showing your support for OA on social media or by attending one of our events

Professor Jules Epstein is the Edward D. Ohlbaum Professor of Law and Director of Advocacy Programs at Temple University Beasley School of Law. He teaches advocacy, criminal law, and evidence courses and is the co-author of an Evidence course book used at other law schools. He recently published Collective Wisdom: One Bit of Advice with NITA. Epstein also works with the Temple trial team students, teaching ‘advanced evidence’ and working with individual students on their evidence, analytical and advocacy skills. Professor Epstein is an advocate for assigning free and low-cost resources to students in his classes to lower the overall debt incurred while attending law school. Epstein recently spoke with Director of the Law Library Michelle Cosby about these efforts.

Tell us about the Integrated Trial Advocacy Program (ITAP) and what open access or free resources you use or assign to your students.

The ITAP program integrates the teaching of courtroom skills with two substantive topics – the Law of Evidence (Fall) and Civil Procedure II (Spring).  For Evidence the free resources I provide are:

  1. A complete evidence textbook that I have authored and make available in chapters class by class across the semester.
  2. A free copy of the federal rules of evidence.
  3. A study guide that I authored.
  4. Evidence “decision trees” that I created.
  5. A mock case file that we use to test our understanding of the evidence rules by applying them to a case file.

Has your work in trial advocacy had a role in your decision to use these resources?

Yes it has. Based on trial experience, I can select the cases and examples that best illustrate the rules the students will rely on and how they are applied. As well, I know from litigation experience that a law school textbook has little or no utility once in practice, and what students need instead are the *statutory* Rules themselves.

What advice would you give to other faculty members looking to move away from traditional textbooks in their courses?

Unless the textbook you assign has exemplary materials for every point you teach, find the cases and other sources that do. Take a year to gather your materials and begin creating a document with case excerpts, hypotheticals, sample transcripts, etc. Once you have them in a Word doc or similar format, it is easy to update.

Are there any free resources, tools, or technologies being used in trial advocacy?

The web is filled with examples of case transcripts, lectures, video clips from courtroom proceedings, recordings from mock trial competitions, and blog posts.  [For the last, see, e.g., https://www2.law.temple.edu/aer/advocacy/ ] Similarly, Zoom and other technologies permit recording and review of student performances.

Is there anything else you wanted to share? 

My final statement is an equitable one: Our students spend an enormous amount of money on their education, and if we can reduce these costs while ensuring quality education, we should. 

Thank you Professor Epstein!

Building Bridges Toward Open Textbooks

Neon sign that says 'Open'
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Happy Open Education Week! During this week, we celebrate and advocate for open educational resources. Open educational resources (also called OER) are defined by the Hewlett Foundation as “teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.” In a nutshell, these are learning materials — like videos, slide decks, podcasts, worksheets, and even textbooks — that are free to access, use, share, and modify in the digital environment without copyright headaches because their creators have given others permission to do so.

Why are open educational resources so important that they are celebrated for an entire week? Their biggest appeal — for students — is they are zero or low-cost! Open textbooks especially can save students hundreds of dollars each semester. For faculty, OER is an opportunity to craft course materials that are highly relevant, current, and meaningful to their discipline. While faculty can remix and modify existing materials, there is also an opportunity for faculty to create new materials or textbooks!

North Broad Press logo

At Temple University Libraries and University Press, we’re lucky to have the North Broad Press imprint. All North Broad Press titles are scholarly works that are peer reviewed and freely available online. View a list of open textbooks in progress, and consider applying to their call for proposals for faculty-authored textbooks, which comes with a stipend of $5,000.

Cover of Bridges open textbookTo learn a little more about why Temple faculty are driven to author an open textbook, we sat down with Shawn Higgins, Academic Coordinator of the Undergraduate Bridge Program at Temple University’s Japan Campus. Shawn is the author of the brand new open textbook, Bridges: United States Academia for First-Generation and International College Students (Temple UP, 2021). This textbook was written for first generation students and English language learners to help them navigate life at United States colleges and universities.

Higgins headshotWe encourage you to listen to this 27-minute interview to learn why Shawn authored this textbook, what it was like to work with North Broad Press, and why open educational resources and open textbooks are so important to Shawn as a faculty member.


Listen to the entire interview or jump to a section that interests you!

  • Why write Bridges as an open textbook  [1:40]
  • Process of producing this textbook with Temple’s North Broad Press [5:58]
  • Discussion of remix elements found in the textbook [10:27]
  • Familiarity with Creative Commons prior to this project [12:12]
  • How the metaphor in the textbook’s title relates to open textbooks/open educational resources [14:14]
  • How faculty and students can use this textbook [18:34]
  • Advice to faculty who might be considering authoring an open textbook [23:40]

If you feel inspired after listening to this interview, please know that you have support here at Temple Libraries! For more information about OER, visit our Discovering Open Educational Resources guide. Contact your subject librarian if you want help locating and implementing OER in your courses. If you’re interested in writing your own open textbook, respond to the call for North Broad Press book proposals.

Don’t forget to check out Shawn’s textbook. You can read the book on your browser or device or download the book in PDF and EPUB formats. Share your thoughts about this book on social media with the hashtag: #bridgestextbook.

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.

Call for Proposals: Temple Faculty-Authored Open Textbooks

North Broad Press is excited to launch our spring 2019 call for open textbook proposals. We’re looking for faculty members to author or edit open textbooks in their fields of study. All Temple University faculty are eligible to apply. Faculty whose proposals are selected will receive a stipend of $5,000.

The application is available here. The deadline for proposals is March 29, 2019. All applicants will be notified by April 15, 2019.

About us
North Broad Press is a joint publishing project between Temple University Press and Temple University Libraries. We publish works of scholarship, both new and reissued, from the Temple University community. Examples include open textbooks written, edited, or compiled by Temple faculty; previously out-of-print books written by Temple faculty or published by the Press; and born digital projects produced by Temple faculty or staff.

What is an open textbook?
An open textbook is a textbook licensed under a Creative Commons license and made available online to be freely used by students, teachers, and members of the public. Print-on-demand copies are also made available at cost. Open textbooks save students money and improve learning outcomes by ensuring that all students have access to their textbook on the first day of class.

What does the work involve?
As author, the faculty member is responsible for writing the text, finding and/or creating suitable images and figures, and clearing any necessary permissions. As editor, the faculty member is responsible for finding contributors, ensuring content requirements and deadlines are met, communicating feedback, and writing an introduction for the volume. Faculty members will keep the copyright to their book and will be able to choose the Creative Commons license that best suits the project.

Will this be peer reviewed?
Yes! All North Broad Press projects go through the peer review process to ensure the accuracy, effectiveness, and appropriateness of the text.

Have questions about your proposal or would like to discuss it before submitting? Please contact Annie Johnson and Mary Rose Muccie.

“We Are the People We Are Waiting For”: Reflections on OpenCon 2018

Jacqueline Phillips and other attendees at OpenCon. Photograph courtesy of Erin McKiernan.

OpenCon is a unique conference that brings together leading early career academic professionals and students from across the world to catalyze action toward a more open system of research and education. This year, Temple University Libraries was proud to sponsor Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Department of Kinesiology (College of Public Health) Jacqueline Phillips to attend OpenCon. The following is a guest post from Dr. Phillips about her experience.

This past weekend I participated in the 2018 OpenCon conference. Since this was my first OpenCon conference I wasn’t very sure of what to expect, but knew it was a gathering of early career professionals with a passion for open access (OA), so I was eager to take part. As a newcomer to the OA world this was my first exposure to an open community beyond my university. Overall, I was completely blown away by the programming and the passion of everyone there to collaborate and better their communities.

Open scholarly work was a new topic I was introduced to at this conference. Although I’ve known about open access journals and the concept of open data, I learned about other ways to make your work open such as posting preprints. Preprints are drafts of manuscripts that are posted online prior to being peer reviewed and formally published. Since a paper can sit in a purgatory-like state for a lengthy amount of time during the standard journal submission process, “pre-printing” enables the author(s) to share their work right away with those in their field. Readers can leave comments or questions, and the paper can be updated with revisions or with a final manuscript after it’s been published. By getting a DOI for a preprint, someone’s work is protected, and others are able to cite the paper. This format enables an early conversation to occur while also helping to connect individuals and advance their work.

As an instructor, my ears always perked up when the topic of open education resources (OER) arose. Strategies on finding already made resources were discussed along with troubleshooting areas of creating resources, like finding or making images (an issue commonly faced in the sciences). Some of the most useful bits of information that I’ll be taking home in this area came through networking and talking to others who have been through this process and were able to provide me with practical tips and wonderful sources. Beyond the making of or incorporation of OER, the discussion that most resonated with me in this area was the importance of student advocacy on campus for OER. A few students were in attendance at OpenCon who spoke about the clubs they were a part of whose mission it is to educate other students about what OER are and how they are impactful. Beyond educating their fellow peers on the subject, they also push for their administration to recognize the importance of the incorporation of OER on campus. This is the type of movement that can help to incentivize faculty to incorporate open materials into their classes, and encourage administration to change the metrics of success that faculty are graded upon for merit or promotion. Student advocacy was a different approach to fostering a cultural change on a campus that seemed to be very successful within these communities.

One particular aspect of the conference I was impressed by was the diversity. Not only the diversity of the attendees, but also presenters and organizers. By having people of different backgrounds and perspectives from around the world involved with all aspects of this event, it contributed to the depth and range of discussions that were held. A topic was presented about how sometimes our mainstream movement to advance OA can inadvertently perpetuate the marginalization of communities this movement aims to help. A lack of diversity at events such as this would only reinforce this oppression; however, I feel the organizers were sensitive to this concept and handled the conference in a way that will help to break down some of these barriers. There was even transparency about the demographics of the conference. The organizers informed us all about the numbers and breakdown of gender, ethnicity, profession etc. of everyone at and involved with the conference. This holds the conference to a higher standard and only helps to make the event even more productive. I hope that we’ll see other conferences begin to incorporate this presentation of the statistics into their events to show commitment to diversity and equity.

The last day of the conference featured a do-a-thon (similar to the concept of a hackathon) where attendees worked in groups to create solutions to particular issues that were brought to the table. All of our work and action plans are available online to the public so that anyone can help and contribute. Overall, I felt very productive at OpenCon. I learned how to use design thinking to solve issues, walked away with actionable items to promote the incorporation of OER, and most importantly, I made connections and became a member of a community that is inspired to collaborate to progress this movement. The conference was closed by Nicole Allen, from SPARC, who left us with the quote: “We are the people we are waiting for.” This perfectly sums of the message I hope to spread to others. We have the ability to break down barriers in education, and now after having attended OpenCon I feel I have more tools to help not only myself, but others accomplish this.

Temple Students Talk Textbooks

Photograph by Emily Toner.

At the start of each academic year, library staff set up a table in Paley to talk to Temple students about their textbooks. Most students don’t know that college textbook prices have risen 1,041 percent since 1977. They just know that textbooks are too expensive.

In order to save money, Temple students employ a number of different strategies. Many take advantage of interlibrary loan or read their textbook at the library on reserve. Some split the cost of the book with other friends in their class. Others look for a pirated version online.

This year, we heard from a neuroscience major who spent $300 on a textbook, and a political science major who spent $200 on a Spanish textbook. A sophomore told us how the textbook in her psychology class cost $200. On the first day of class, the professor asked, “How many of you have the textbook already?” and a number of people raised their hands. She felt embarrassed that she didn’t have the textbook yet, but she simply didn’t have the money to buy it. Several students told us that they ended up dropping a class once they found out the cost of the textbook.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There are a growing number of low and no-cost alternatives to commercial textbooks that can save students money while still providing them with the same or better learning outcomes.

Open Educational Resources (OER) are learning materials that are free to read and reuse. OER can take many different forms, but one of the most common are open textbooks. In many ways, open textbooks are just like regular textbooks: they are written by experts in the field and the content is subjected to rigorous peer review. Some even come with ancillary materials for instructors, such as homework problems or slides.

However, there are also some important differences. First, open textbooks are free to read. How is this possible you may be wondering? Well, instead of making money off of sales, authors of open textbooks are often paid a stipend upfront for their work. Open textbooks are funded by foundations, the federal government, universities, libraries, and other entities who want to ensure that all students have access to the learning materials they need in order to succeed. Second, because they are openly licensed, open textbooks can be revised, repurposed, or reused in order to fit the specifics of the class, all without seeking permission from the copyright holder.

Want to learn more about OER? Have questions about who is using open textbooks in their classes at Temple? Get in touch with your liaison librarian or sign up for one of our upcoming workshops:

“Integrating Open Access Resources Into Your Canvas Course” (10/23/18)

“Using Open Textbooks in the Classroom” (10/25/18)

Using Open Textbooks in the Classroom: An Interview with Graham Dobereiner

This week is Open Education Week, 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 course 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.

One Temple faculty member who is experimenting with using an open textbook in his classes is Assistant Professor of Chemistry Graham Dobereiner. Dr. Dobereiner teaches General Chemistry, a series of two semester-long courses for science majors, pre-professional students, and others in science related fields. In General Chemistry, students have a choice between using two different textbooks: Chemistry, an open textbook published by OpenStax and available for free online, or Principles of Chemistry, a traditional textbook published by Pearson. Dr. Dobereiner agreed to answer a few of our questions about how this works:

You recently surveyed your students to find out their attitudes towards and use of both the OpenStax textbook and the Pearson textbook. What did you find?

Among the 172 students that responded to the survey, course performance was independent of the choice of book. Use of a textbook – any textbook – correlates with performance in the course. Students who reported that they completed all readings received higher grades, regardless of textbook used.

Attitudes towards the open textbook (OpenStax) were mixed. Adoption rates were high: 75% of respondents used OpenStax at some point during the semester and 59% only used OpenStax. But when asked to give advice to students in next year’s class, 40% recommended OpenStax, 24% Principles of Chemistry, and 28% both textbooks.

Were you surprised by these results?

Yes, some results were surprising. We often hear students are hesitant to purchase a traditional textbook, particularly if it isn’t required for a course. But 30% of survey respondents read from the traditional textbook at some point during the semester. 17% of the respondents only read from the traditional textbook, and in general they showed greater satisfaction with their textbook choice – even though their course performance matched the rest of the class.

Other results were sobering. Only 14% of respondents completed all of the assigned readings, and only 10% of OpenStax readers did so.

Will the results of the survey have any impact on how you teach the course next year?

Yes, it may. I want to look at strategies to boost student textbook use. The course syllabus may need to be rearranged; it is currently organized around the traditional textbook, and so the assigned OpenStax readings were out of order, which may have reduced student textbook use.

What would you tell other faculty who are considering using an open textbook?

Free, open textbooks have their advantages, but they are not a panacea. I would encourage faculty to critically evaluate an open textbook just as they would any traditional text.

Thank you Dr. Dobereiner!

Are you interested in learning more about using open textbooks in the classroom? Sign up for one of our upcoming workshops: March 15, 12:00-1:00 pm and March 21, 3:30-4:30. The first 10 instructors who register and write a brief review of an open textbook that is accepted for publication by the Open Textbook Library will receive a $200 stipend.