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Friday, October 22 • 10:00am - 10:25am
Collaborative Open Textbook Development Through Student Engagement: An Innovative Approach to OER

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The growing popularity of Open Educational Resources (OER) has led to a proliferation of projects by institutions large and small to create open textbooks and ancillary materials. While the last few years has seen an increasing effort to peer-review open textbooks and ensure that they meet the quality standards of faculty, little has been done to examine if these materials are suitable to the needs of students. This issue is important because educational research in the last two decades has revealed a steady decline in student use of textbooks and a decline in their perception of the value of course readings. Research on OER design is still in its infancy, and many OER creators lack funding or knowhow to engage in research on students.

This presentation highlights “Collaborative open textbook writing”, a low-cost, innovative solution to conducting educational research on the design of open textbooks and ancillary materials. Occurring throughout the process to develop open textbooks, the approach takes advantage of creative inquiry, a program that allows students to earn course credit while taking part in research projects under the guidance of faculty members.

Collaborative open textbook writing involves an open textbook developer recruiting a small group of students in a subject that they want to create a textbook for, engaging them in periodic discussions on the design of a textbook and ancillary materials, and seeking their feedback on parts of the textbook as these are being written. The developer at first treats the students as subjects of research, using discussions to assess their learning behavior, but gradually trains them in instructional design so that they are more able to articulate their needs for a textbook and become advisors in designing and reviewing textbooks.

The presenter demonstrates the applicability of this approach to a variety of educational institutions, and its value in designing textbooks that are inclusive and engaging to students from majority and under-represented of backgrounds through a discussion of its application in a project to develop open textbooks and ancillary materials on robotics education for the technical college and undergraduate level. This project involves three institutions in South Carolina, a technical college, a small historical black college and an R-1 university. The presenters, the Principal Investigator, educational researcher and a graduate student assistant for the project point out the benefits of the approach through an overview of how it will be implemented.

After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:
  • Appreciate the need to include student perspectives and voices into open textbook development
  • Understand the basics of the collaborative open textbook writing approach
  • Learn approaches to assessing student learning behavior and preferences for textbooks and ancillary materials
  • Learn how to apply these approaches to open textbook and OER creation projects

avatar for D Matthew Boyer

D Matthew Boyer

Research Associate Professor, Clemson University
Research Associate Professor, Department of Engineering & Science EducationEducational Proposal Writer, Office of the Associate Dean for Research
avatar for Yang Wu

Yang Wu

Open Resource Librarian, Clemson University

Leah Wiitablake

Graduate Research Assistant, Clemson University

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Friday October 22, 2021 10:00am - 10:25am EDT
Room C