Good morning, post long weekend.
Fifth in our ongoing series on Camosun’s Open Sustainability Project, as I finally catch up with the amazing faculty project stories I have collected so far (three more interviews to go!), is Pooja Gupta. Pooja teaches upgrading math, and for this project she has been working on adapting an existing open textbook, splitting it into three textbooks and creating ancillary materials to support instructors using them – specifically creating PowerPoints and open math problems for student self-study using an open system called MyOpenMath.
Pooja tells me that her Open journey “started with searching for a suitable open textbook that I could use with my upgrading math students, but there were none. In addition, I was using Pearson MyMathLab for teaching my online math sections, but we had concerns about student privacy where student data was being stored. More traditional textbooks are expensive, and the editions change frequently which always made me anxious because I worried about how students who bought that $200 textbook would afford a brand-new edition. So, there were multiple reasons leading me to look for something more sustainable and less expensive for students.”
Reducing costs for students was the biggest incentive for Pooja to work with Open Educational Resources (OER) mainly because the courses she works with are tuition-free, and it seemed unreasonable to ask students to purchase expensive textbooks when they are expecting free courses. She does note, however, that even with open textbooks “if a student prints them, that can still be expensive because these are huge books. I work in a department where we see a huge economic divide, from international students from wealthy families to students for whom buying a textbook means losing a week’s worth of meals. Sometimes choosing a textbook for a course can be a bit emotional because there is such a huge divide, and one solution does not work for everyone. Even when using digital texts, I am constantly concerned about students. Will they be able to access it? How are we going to support them? But sometimes you just have to do the best you can at a given time.”
Pooja has faced many challenges along the way in this project, but the biggest was the inability to find a reliable open online tool she could use to create a math test bank. “There aren’t many options that are adaptive, and the only platform I had available initially in which to build questions was D2L which is not open. So that was my biggest challenge: finding an open platform that would work across the country, and in different countries, which would randomly generate questions. There were paid subscription services everywhere, but nothing open source.” Finally, she settled on the MyOpenMath platform.
As you can probably guess, Pooja is not one to give up and one of the biggest lessons she learned in moving into OER is persistence. “This process of finding and getting MyMathLab to work with D2L has been going on for at least 5 years. But if you keep asking questions and talking to people, then things happen. So, I kept prodding and poking and kept at it – being persistent really paid off.”
As for advice Pooja has for other faculty wanting to explore the world of Open Education, she says first, “make sure to vet the content of any open textbook you want to adapt because it might work for one group of students, but not another.” But don’t limit yourself to one book. “Find multiple open textbooks. Don’t be afraid to put them together and make it your own, add your own personality into it. In addition, be mindful of the copyright and creative commons licences. If you don’t know how to attribute licenced content, connect with a librarian. And finally, don’t rush the process of finding the right open textbooks, because it is not going to happen overnight, and give yourself time to work with the materials before you pilot them with your students. Also, knowing that there is a lack of editors in the OER world, I have committed to improve my resources on an ongoing basis.”
Like other faculty involved with our Open Sustainability Project, Pooja plans to keep working with OER. But she first wants to complete her current project working with her test bank in MyOpenMath before exploring more open options, like H5P, to support her in bringing math to life for her students.
Third in our ongoing series on Camosun’s Open Sustainability Project, and sadly delayed for an inexcusable number of months (apologies for this), is Stephanie Ingraham. Stephanie teaches physics, and specifically for this project, she has been working on developing an open textbook for the Physics of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy course in the Medical Radiography (MRT) program.
This course is unique, she says, telling me that it “covers some introductory physics topics like electromagnetic radiation, the structure of matter, electricity and magnetism, but then goes into topics that are specific to medical imaging. For example, X-ray production, the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter, radiographic and nuclear imaging, the biological effects of radiation, and the physics behind radiation therapy, sonography, and MRI. So though it’s designed for students in the MRT program, it covers the physics of other imaging topics too.” And like many of the courses taught by our Open Sustainability grant holders, there isn’t a textbook out there currently covering all these topics.
Stephanie’s hope is to include not only text-based content, but also images, examples, practice problems, and homework for students in her textbook, with the idea that it could be used by courses similar to her own course, but also by courses that cover one or more of the individual topics included in her textbook – and this being an open textbook means pieces can be taken and adapted as needed.
Aside from creating a needed resource to support the course Stephanie teaches, one of the inspirations behind wanting to create an open textbook is providing access to materials for students. “I think we’re moving as a society towards free education and more freely available information. I also know that costs are a barrier for students, so helping to reduce those costs is very important to me.”
Stephanie has faced a few challenges after embarking on this project. “First was COVID, because that delayed everything and changed my work pattern. In the end, it wasn’t possible to take release time to work on the project when I had originally planned.” But at the same time, Stephanie sees the pivot to online learning due to COVID as also a positive, because now she has been immersed in online teaching and has a better idea how an online resource could support her students. “The other challenges I have mainly involve designing or finding images and data tables that are exactly what I want – but that’s manageable and kind of fun.”
Stephanie tells me that while working on this project, she’s learned “the value of being organized and planning everything. Keeping lists of the open resources used, making to-do lists and schedules, all help me to stay on track.” She also has learned the value of having a team to support the project. “I had already started working on materials before the grant opportunity came up and working on my own was very daunting. In the terms when I didn’t have a lot of designated time to work on the project, it has been helpful to have some regular check-ins, to hear what the other grant recipients are working on, and to learn about different tools (like H5P and Pressbooks) because that has made me more excited about the project.”
Some advice Stephanie would have for anyone wanting to start this kind of project is, “you should definitely go for it. We’re moving towards sharing knowledge for free and creating digital resources that are accessible, for example including text-to-speech options and high contrast images. There are so many great benefits in creating these open resources.” But she also cautions to take some time to search for what is already available out there. “See if there’s something you can start with or get ideas from to take back to your own projects.” And ask for help. “Maybe someone else is wondering the same thing as you, or reach out just to get some feedback on what you’re working on.” And finally, “it’ll take longer than you think!”
What does the future look like for Stephanie in terms of open? “To start with, this open textbook that I’m working on will ideally be used in May of 2022 when this course runs next. But that is just the beginning. I imagine revising and adding things to the textbook in the future, and there are other open resources for Physics that my department has been considering adopting. Depending on what is available, we may decide to develop more of our own open online resources in the future.”
The second Open Sustainability Project story I have for you is Michelle Clement’s. Michelle teaches in Marketing, in the School of Business at Camosun, and has been using Open Education Resources (OER) for a number of years already. So it was a natural lead into this project – deciding to revise an existing open textbook for one of her courses.
Initially, Michelle had a different textbook in mind, but when she took a closer look she realized that someone else had just updated it the year before. So, she decided instead that she would revise an open text called The Power of Selling. There were many reasons for her choice: first, it was over 600 pages long, and she really felt it needed to be streamlined; second, it was out of date – about 10 years old, and you can imagine how many things have changed in marketing over 10 years; and third, “two other people teach this course that this book is targeted for…I was just trying to think of the value for open education.”
Michelle went through the existing textbook chapter by chapter, checking content and references, making sure everything was current and correct. “I read through, I [checked for validity] of the subject matter, and [realized I] needed to add information on privacy and social media: everything that ten years ago [didn’t’ really exist].” She also reorganized the chapters, making sure the format was more what students were used to, writing two new chapters, adding learning outcomes where they were missing, changing all the language to be gender neutral, adding study questions, and taking out instructor suggestions which she didn’t feel were relevant for students (instructor resources are one of the things she is hoping to add back in in the future.) When she was finished, 600 pages had become just over 200!
Michelle encountered some challenges along the way. Finding images and visuals that are Creative Commons licenced, and specific to your content, can sometimes be difficult. And creating your own visuals can be time consuming. As a result, she didn’t add as many images this time around, but has plans to find/create more in the future. “If I can just create even one more [visual] per chapter, then it will make it a little more engaging than just the written word.” Another challenge she sees beyond the revision process, is encouraging other faculty to adopt an open textbook. This is where the instructor resources, which she is planning to add this spring, come into play – having PowerPoints, quiz questions, etc. along with the textbook is hugely helpful especially for Term faculty, or new faculty who have not taught a course before.
Michelle piloted the revised textbook last fall, adding it as a PDF file into her D2L course site. Eventually she will move it into Pressbooks to share it back, but she wanted to see how it worked for her students, and was able to get some feedback from them during the term. She reflects now, as a takeaway from all the work she did, that “when you write the textbook, you know it really well” which she sees also as a positive from a student’s perspective.
If Michelle could give someone advice about revising an open textbook, she says to “prepare for it to be bigger than you think!” Of course, while it’s important to allocate the right amount of time for a project like this, be prepared for it to take more time. She also advises to “have a really good sense of what you’re trying to do first.” Have a plan, make sure you are consistent with your design, and keep it simple. She says it also helps if you enjoy research – “you do need to enjoy having that meander through the library.” Finally, Michelle also advises to enlist someone to proof your revisions, to “just have another set of eyes on it.”
Michelle says she has been, and still is, “full on open.” She uses OER, library resources, or her own materials for most of her courses, reminding us that “you can actually teach around a topic and don’t necessarily have to teach around a textbook.” She will be continuing her work on The Power of Selling this spring (adding images and working on an instructor resource guide), but also is considering revising another open textbook, one for Marketing 110, in the future.
Just over one year ago, eight projects were funded to develop/redevelop their courses using open educational resources (OER) and open educational practices (OEP). This funding came from a grant awarded to Camosun College from BCcampus, and has brought together 11 faculty members, librarians, copyright experts, instructional designers, curriculum developers, indigenization specialists, and others to work on the projects. In this panel session, some of the faculty developers will talk about their projects and the benefits they are bringing to their students, and to Camosun.
I don’t know if you remember a year ago, well…maybe I’ll leave it at that. Suffice it to say that while at that time, one year ago, the projects were to have been concluded by the end of this term, unexpected events have pushed the deadlines for completion until the end of this year. That being said, all 8 projects are underway in spite of the challenges faculty have faced moving their regular teaching online.
In this post, I am going to tell you a little bit about the eight funded projects, and in subsequent posts, I will be telling you the stories of the project journeys in the words of the faculty members creating the resources, open textbooks, etc.
Sarah Erdelyi, Jana Suraci, and Alex Purdy – Development of a Resource Package for Patient Management for Allied Health
The development of a resource package for this course, incorporating OER, would eliminate the need to require commercial textbooks and provide a learning resource for students that is highly relevant and focused to meet their needs. This course is shared among three programs in the Allied Health & Technologies Department, including Certified Medical Laboratory Assistant, Medical Radiography, and Sonography, and this package of resources will support these varied allied health contexts. Because the current textbook required for Medical Radiography is not suitable for the other allied health programs, the student experience differs greatly by program, so the development of a resource package would also ensure consistency of the student experience. In addition to the cost savings to students, we believe the students would benefit greatly from a common resource that considers the Canadian context and emphasizes the specific competencies related to their professional certification in a way that is learner-centric and applied.
Michelle Clement – Revising an Existing Marketing Open Textbook
This Digital Marketing Open textbook is severely outdated, having been published in 2013. The cases, links, and social media chapters in particular need updating, as well as individual topics in current chapters around internet security, ethical marketing online, marketing social and environmental injustices digitally, and cultural inclusion in online marketing. It would also be beneficial to create instructor resources. So this was a proposal for adapting an existing OER to produce a no cost to students required textbook. Michelle’s hope was also that sections would provide good background for other marketing classes, and that there would be there is potential to grow its use outside of her current course. While the textbook Michelle ultimately revised was a different one than she originally planned, she did take an existing 600-page textbook and reduce it to approximately 200 pages, updating and reorganizing content as proposed. She has future plans to add instructor resources and visuals to her revision before moving it into Pressbooks to share back with the world.
Pooja Gupta – Adapt an Existing Math OER
Pooja’s objective was to adapt the OER Key Concepts of Intermediate Level Math by Meizhong Wong for her online intermediate math section for adult learners. The scope of this project was to include adaptations to the original open textbook as well as create ancillary resources such as lesson videos, question video solutions, PowerPoints, quizzes/quiz bank, interactive videos, etc. Due to copyright restrictions on the content she has currently been using, it has not been possible to adapt to the changing needs of her students. The adapted version and ancillary resources would have the following benefits: significant financial savings for students; the ability to embed these resources into a learning management system (LMS); and ease of access for students through having the materials open online, and within the LMS students are already accessing.
Peggy Hunter – Human Anatomy WordPress Site Revisions
Laboratory study of human anatomy typically utilize an assortment of models and slides, and student access to these resources is often very limited. Institutions that have these models and slides in their labs cannot typically provide access to these materials outside of laboratory classroom time. Other institutions do not offer labs or laboratory resources, and students have no access to human anatomy models and slides. To facilitate the study and review of anatomy laboratory content at Camosun, Peggy has developed a study website (in WordPress) that provides access to all of the models and slides commonly used in first year human anatomy labs. The website, designed so students can test their knowledge of human anatomy lab content outside of the laboratory setting, is currently used extensively by first year anatomy students in the Health Science and Exercise Science programs, provides valuable access to anatomy models and slides outside of classroom time, and facilitates self-review of laboratory content. The goal of this project was to update the website content to enhance user interface with the end goal of making this laboratory study website available as an open resource for students of human anatomy everywhere. The latter would facilitate expanded use by students of anatomy at Camosun (in nursing, sport education, athletic therapy, dental hygiene, massage therapy, etc.). Moreover, this Camosun resource would be a valuable contribution to the global open learning community.
Stephanie Ingraham – Create Open Textbook for the Physics of Medical Imaging
For the past three years, Stephanie has been teaching a Physics course for students in the Medical Radiography program at Camosun College, The Physics of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy. This course is very unique, and there is a limited selection of textbooks and materials that suit the course curriculum meaning that previously, textbooks or course packs purchased by students have been used. Her goal was instead, to create an open textbook on BCcampus which would provide a simple, free method of allowing students access to resources for the course. The textbook would also include sections on general Physics topics, which will be available for use in introductory Physics courses. The development of this textbook would also involve carefully creating accessible content for all types of learners such as voice to text capabilities, transcription of images, and ideal visual contrast. As of now, there are no other OER that cover this selection of topics specific to the Physics of medical imaging and radiation therapy. Hopefully this will become a useful, free resource for Camosun college students as well as an open resource for students interested in the field of Medical Physics.
Brian Coey – Developing/Revising Materials for Sheet Metal Programs
Currently in the Sheet Metal program, students are required to purchase textbooks for foundation training and level one apprentice training. The program loans textbooks, no longer in print, for apprentice levels two through four. Unfortunately, this is a problem for the students as they have very little reference material once they finish their training at Camosun, and they must rely on notes and outside resources to prepare for further training and Interprovincial (Red Seal) exams. This also creates a difficult situation because once the program runs out of textbooks, they have no other resources at hand to lend out. Brian’s project was to allow him to create new and update current Level 1 material, including student and instructor resources, in an open textbook format through Pressbooks. A combination of open textbooks, course modules, multimedia resources, web resources and videos would all be added to the already existing resources, to create an open learning resource, available to students whenever needed.
Sandra Carr – Developing/Revising Materials for Joinery (Woodworking) Program
The BC Joinery modules have not been revised since 1988, and some sections are outdated. Visually, they lack imagery that portrays modern tools, and some sections refer to a textbook that is very dated, possibly out of print. While existing open Trades textbooks contain relevant material, they contain topics not applicable to woodworking, and there are topic-specific areas which either require expansion, or completely new materials to fill gaps. There is no textbook for woodworking machinery, which makes up a significant portion of term 1 learning outcomes, and currently Sandra is using a mix of photocopied handouts to support her students. Her proposal was to write an open textbook Describe Woodworking Machines and Their Use, as well as edit the existing Common Core materials for use in her program. She would use this textbook in her course, but it could also find an audience with other trades, foundation programs, Women in Trades, Continuing Education, and high schools. Video tutorials would also be created to cover selected topics based on the specific projects students complete in the program.
Liz Morch – Developing Modules to Support Nutrition Content for Various Programs
Liz had begun to design online modules for her nutrition course in Dental Hygiene , but recognized the need to provide flexibility in how and when students access course content. After searching BCcampus and Creative Commons, she was unable to find existing open content relating to nutrition which would be applicable to her course. Her project, therefore was to develop modules for use, not only in her course, but as resources for faculty who teach any nutrition courses. The modules will also have evaluation tools in the form of online assessments. While some individual components are available through Health Canada, students require more information, in the form of text-based content, images, and interactive components to support their learning.
Last week the Educational Technology Users Group (ETUG) ran a Cooking with H5P webinar which gave participants a great overview of how H5P works, and how to get started exploring it on your own. I encourage you to check out the recording.
What is H5P?
H5P (HTML-5-Package; https://h5p.org/) is plugin tool that enables faculty, instructional designers, etc. to develop creative, dynamic and responsive web-based content, activities, and assessments without having to have advanced technical expertise. H5P is an open-source tool, which means faculty can share their H5P objects with anyone – or adapt H5P objects developed by someone else – without being limited to a specific proprietary tool or platform.
Some of the benefits of H5P include:
- Increased student engagement. H5P allows you to develop a variety of responsive and interactive objects, including image Hotspots, Branching Scenarios, Flashcards, Dialog Cards, Interactive Video, and Speak the Words
- Opportunities for students to develop their own interactive objects. H5P provides students the opportunity to create their own H5P objects for sharing back as assessments or as learning objects for their fellow students.
- Open tool, open licenses. H5P objects can be Creative Commons-licenced, supporting the 5 Rs of Open Education Resources (OER) Reuse, Retain, Revise, Remix, Redistribute.. You can access templates, and adapt & reuse freely shared, CC-licenced H5P objects and resources from institutions world-wide, including from a wide network of users right here in British Columbia.
- Accessibility compliance. H5P is dedicated to ensuring that all its objects meet, or are on track to meet, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). A complete list of content-type accessibility is kept up-to-date by H5P.com at Content Type Recommendations.
Last week, I was excited to see on the Open Education Challenge site, a challenge called “How do I find a Creative Commons licensed image to use in my course materials or presentations”.
I wanted to share with you here the resources presented on this site, and to give you a few more.
- Creative Commons image search – to search for licensed and public domain works
- Unsplash– photos that are free to use, no permission required but attribution appreciated
- Pexels– stock photos that are free to use, attribution is not required, adaptation is permitted
- The Noun Project – Creative Commons-licensed icons
In addition to these resources, our Camosun Library also has some great resources and tips for finding and using images online.
- Start with the Open Culture tab on the Open Libguide. Here you will find links to sources of copyright-friendly images and music.
- And explore the Art History Libguide, but make sure to know what the copyright licencing is for any images you find – ask one of our friendly librarians if you’re not sure!
- Find some guidance on how to use images under Fair Dealing at the Copyright Libguide.
- And also on the Copyright Libguide, you will find some tips for posting images (etc.) on D2L.
Have other sources? Add to the comments!
New to open education? Want to learn more and find out how you could use open educational resources (OER) in your teaching? Follow along with the Open Education Challenge.
While it’s too late to register for official participation (meaning you won’t get regular email reminders), the challenge is, as the title would suggest, open, so follow along and give the bi-weekly challenges a try!
Want to know more about open education at Camosun College, or just want to talk more about OER and how they might work in your teaching? Email Emily Schudel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Some of you may know that last term, I completed the Creative Commons certificate. It was an amazing course, and I highly recommend it to everyone. A great example of how to open assignments up so that you are meeting outcomes through a variety of assessment choices (leaving it up to the learners to decide which assessment type is good for them), as well as a great example of using various online technologies to support learners in how they interacted with the course material.
For the certificate, I completed a number of assignments, all of which are available on one of my personal blog sites, but I thought for this final Open Education Week post, I would share my final assignment with you, an online workshop entitled Integrating Creative Commons Material into your Course(s).
I will be working on revising this workshop for delivery at Camosun this spring (as an asynchronous, self-paced workshop), and would invite anyone out there to provide feedback to me. If you have any words of wisdom or suggestions for me, please either comment on this post, or email me at Schudele@camosun.ca.
Thanks for joining me this Open Education Week 2020! I will continue to share posts on Open with you regularly, so please keep visiting!
In this world of sky-rocketing costs for students (textbooks being only one of the many budgetary items facing students), integrating Open Educational Resources (OERs) (and other no-cost resources) into your courses can go a long way towards helping students continue, and succeed in, their studies.
On the Douglas College Library Open Libguide site, you can read about and listen to some of the ways OERs are supporting students.
BCcampus has produced the OER Student Toolkit which outlines ways students can advocate for the adoption of OERs at their institutions.
Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) programs across the world have really begun to make an impact on reducing costs for students. The Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources relates some of these Impact Stories told by students in their own words.
Speaking of ZTC, you can learn more about what institutions in BC are doing by visiting the BCcampus ZTC page, or searching for individual institutions’ work, for example, the ZTC impact at Kwantlen Polytechnic.
Finally, for a discussion around the pedagogical impact on students through the use of OER, check out Christina Hendrick’s post Engaging Students with OER.
Want to know more about how creating, adapting, or adopting OER can support your students? Email eLearning Support to arrange to talk to an instructional designer.