More Credits – Less Commercial Textbooks

In regards to textbooks, the question has been posed: “Why don’t faculty come together, collaborate, and create their own textbooks and resources for their courses?”

The most common and simple answer is time. Faculty do not perceive having the time to invest in creating and regularly updating course materials. However, a group of faculty may be able to achieve more when collaborating than they think.

Currently, at the University I am employed at, the director of my department has found a way to increase the number of new online courses created through a cohort model. This model allows for multiple faculty members to work together, review work, and give suggestions to one another during the course of the design process. Each faculty member is also given a list of individuals within the university that could assist them in various areas – from media productions to library services.

My question is, can this cohort model be applied to the creation of OERs? While it may not be feasible to do this for every online course, could it be used for the required core courses?

Are we really taking full advantage of the talent and the knowledge of our faculty by using commercial textbooks?

I don’t think that we are.

To me, using commercial textbooks is an indication of the priorities of the faculty in that department. While I do not want to demonize or scrutinize those who use commercial textbooks, I do think it is feasible for faculty to come together to design OERs.

As stated in the week 3 lectures in the edX Introduction to Open Education course, Dr. Wiley discusses the idea of incentives and the alignment of incentives. Faculty currently may not see the benefits of using an OER because they are not being “compensated” for their time. However, if students do not have to pay for course materials, it is more likely that students will take more class, and isn’t that the goal of a University? The university does not get paid for adopting commercial textbooks, the university gets paid for students enrolled in courses.

With all of this in mind, is it really that wild of an concept to have faculty come together and create OERs for their courses?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s