The 2014-15 Alt-Textbook OERs are out and being used in courses this semester! Projects from the first round span nine schools and departments, represent innovative strategies for pedagogical change, and have collectively saved NCSU students more than $250,000 in 2015.
Alt-Textbook projects from the first round include:
- BIO105: Biology in the Modern World
Dr. Jennifer Landin's course is targeted at science and non-science students, making it difficult to find a textbook for all students. Dr. Landin's print-on-demand textbook for BIO105 includes relevant articles and book chapters, as well as multimedia, online content. This content is carefully curated to be accessible for all audiences. It includes popular articles and videos for students to read and apply the information from class to real-world situations, as well as book chapters and content created by the instructor specifically for the course. This textbook links scientific concepts to scenarios so students have a more complete understanding of course concepts.
- BIT410/510: Core Technologies in Molecular Biology
In the biotechnology field, methodologies evolve at a rapid pace, and traditional biotechnology textbooks often become outdated even before making it to print. To enhancestudent learning and eliminate an additional financial burden to NCSU students, Dr. Sabrina Robertson, Dr. Carlos Goller, and BIT have created a student-driven, biotechnology open educational resource (OER). The BIT OER is a dynamic online educational platform for all things biotechnology-related. The unique content on this site is created and evaluated by teams of students working together to provide an innovative, freely accessible educational resource for the local, national, and international biotechnology community. Click here to explore the BIT Alt-Textbook.
- CH226: Organic Chemistry I Lab
Dr. Maria T. Gallardo-Williams wanted to improve instruction in laboratory practices to the over 3,000 students who enroll in organic chemistry labs at the university each year. The resulting product, Student-Made Audiovisuals Reinforcing Techniques (S.M.A.R.T.), is a set of short videos created by undergraduate students to supplement learning in organic chemistry labs.Each video is fully captioned and showcases a single laboratory technique. Most videos are under 2 minutes. Dr. Gallardo-Williams managed the project, but students worked together to design and create the videos, using social media to crowdsource topics and design. They can be accessed from the course site, on YouTube, or by scanning a QR code on the actual lab equipment. The videos produced measurable improvements in student learning, as well as significant cost-savings for students in Chemistry courses.
- ECD561: Strategies for Clinical Assessment in Counseling
All students in this course must purchase the most recent version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM), but there is strong need for a value-added supplement focusing on wellness, empathy, and treatment planning for specific diagnoses. Dr. Adria Shipp and Dr. Michael Evans collaborated to create a desktop and mobile accessible web resource that functions as a knowledge repository. Students can access resources related to diagnosis and treatment of mental health disorders, including video clips and research related to evidence-based interventions. Students enrolled in any course requiring the DSM can use this resource, instead of purchasing supplementary textbooks.
- ECI515: Online Collaborations in Education
Dr. Michael Evans wanted to incorporate the pedagogies and ethos of online, connected, and participatory learning into this distance education course. Using GitHub, he created a prototype, crowd-sourced educational resource. This resource engages graduate students in teh collaborative writing of an academic resource that serves the pedagogy of connected, participatory learning, and has the potential to reach an audience beyond the course. It also established a precedent for understanding the learning dynamics, assessment challenges, and workflow complexities associated with a crowd-sourced, rigorously-researched scholarly resource in a higher education setting. Finally, it documents and formalizes the tools, processes, and products of academic crowd-sourcing. The crowd-sourced prototype is now published and distributed as an Open Educational Resource for desktop and mobile devices.
- FLE201: Oral Communication in English for International Students
Each year, more international students come to NC State than any other univversity in the state. For many of them, English is a foreign language. Juliana Kocsis, who teaches these students, developed an opensource textbook for upper-intermediate to advanced English as a Foreign Language (EFL) students. This project draws from existing materials such as those found on Merlot, to create a cohesive and structured set of resources. In developing a more sequenced, focused group of resources for an EFL classroom, this project benefits not only the changing population of international students at NC State, but also students around the world who study English as a foreign language, as well as ESL/EFL instructors around the world. Click here to explore the Oral Communication in English Alt-Textbook.
- MA225: Foundations in Advanced Mathematics
MA225 is required by majors in mathematics, statistics, and mathematics education, so Dr. Andrew Cooper wanted to design a resource that helped students from all disciplines understand how the course concepts are relevent to them. The new, e-published course notes incorporate examples, ideas, and issues from all three areas. They are synergistic with active learning and inquiry-guided pedagogies. These notes are vertically integrated with the NCSU Mathematics Curriculum. The resource also includes online, computer-graded homework problems, linked to the text, providing instant feedback with text support.
- PRT238: Diversity and Inclusion in Parks, Recreation, and Sport Management
PRT238 is a required course for all PRTM undergraduate students, around 340 students in multiple sections a year. Yet there was no standard textbook for this course. Further, the topics of this course change rapidly, making it difficult to find up-to-date resources. Janell Moretz wanted to offer instructors and students of this course and similar courses at other institutions a current and complete resource. This Alt-Textbook includes relevant chapters from various textbooks, innovative and interactive online simulations, current news articles, published journal articles, and video lectures from guest speakers and professors. It is an engaging set of resources, allowing students to gain hands-on experience and challenges them to think critically and solve problems. Click here to explore the Diversity and Inclusion in PRTM Alt-Textbook.
- ST/CSC495: Introduction to Data Science
Dr. Alyson Wilson's Introduction to Data Science course is an upper-year, interdisciplinary course, taken by students with heterogeneous backgrounds. The course is largely hands-on, and needs course materials that supplement the learning experience. This Alt-Textbook includes readings that provide "leveling" background, real-world context, and supplementary details for each topic. This includes a compilation of pre-existing Open Educational Resources on basic topics, as well as more specialized resources. Since data science is a rapidly evolving field, the Alt-Textbook provides the ability to update course materials each year. Click here to explore the Introduction to Data Science Alt-Textbook.