GSC OE Ambassador Projects 2019
Pictured (L-R), Row 1: Susan Bradley, Courtney Rice, Christorpher Benton, Beth Reed. Row 2: Liz Colantuonio, Sarah Batterson, Mercedes Hunt, Tara Treichel, Row 3: Reta Chaffee, Karen White, Steve Covello
Nine GSC faculty attended ATI 2019 which was hosted at Granite State College this year. Each faculty came to the ATI with an idea on how to improve their course and/or save students money by incorporating OER (open educational resources) and/or open pedagogy into their courses with the end goal of having a meaningful impact on the way they teach and the students learn. The following is a summary of those projects.
Sarah Batterson - CRIT501: Critical Inquiry (Undergraduate)
OER (Winter 2020)
Sarah plans to obtain OER resources for CRIT501 and incorporate a more interactive project for information literacy skills. She will start by identifying open education resources to replace the current text. She will also create learning modules to walk students through determining information needed, developing and refining key word searches, and finding valid sources that provide multiple perspectives on specific topic. Ultimately she hopes her project will contribute to lowering resouce costs for students
There were a lot of good parts to the CRIT501 course already, but the book no longer directly addressed the goals of the course. The challenge was finding good sources that also focused on GSC degree outcomes and what we consider the most important aspects of critical thinking.
The ATI conference was really helpful in pooling together so many different experiences and perspectives. The talk on creative commons I think was the most helpful just because I am still learning about the various regulations about copyright in online courses.
My project went fairly smoothly. Once I determined what areas needed revision, I found two main online textbooks to draw from and then incorporated other open access resources to replace copyrighted and non-ADA material.
I think the most challenging part of the project was considering the big picture and what the course needed to deliver. There were many directions the course could take, but it required many conversations with others to “package” everything into a cohesive course that so many students would take. I think the tendency is to jump into searching for material and then building the course around what can be found, but I think it is better to work backwards from the learning outcomes. If the learning outcomes don’t seem to match what you think the course should cover, then it is worth having a conversation with the Director and Assistant Dean to see if they need to be updated. The difficulty is knowing when to stop with the revisions. If it is a full course rebuild, then it will be a much bigger project and involve many more people than if it’s just an OER replacement. I think this is where things get a bit tricky.
On the whole, this was a very positive experience and I particularly enjoyed working with other faculty and staff over that 3-day period. I learned a lot from talking with others and it helped me gain more perspective about course design and OER tools. I think the CRIT501 course is much stronger because of ATI.
Chris Benton - MATH504: Statistics (Undergraduate)
OER (Winter 2020)
Currently MATH504 is one of the top 10 highest enrolled courses at the college. Students enrolled in this course are required to purchase a costly commercial textbook ($180 new.) This project would provide a cost-free option for a total between 50-75 students per term. Because there are multiple sections of this course, the impact is greater.
The overarching plan of my Open Ed Project didn’t particularly change from the start, as I still maintained the goal of implementing and converting an OER textbook into Pressbook format for use in the Math 504 course. This idea seemed simple enough in design, though in actual practice there unforeseen issues that needed to be overcome. In converting the text from Saylor to Pressbook format, none of the equations or symbols copied correctly, and there were also a number of formatting issues. As this is a statistics textbook, practically every page has at least one symbol or equation (or more), so there was an insurmountable amount of editing that had to be done. After much discussion with instructional design, and attempts to make edits to the text, it was determined that this project was no longer feasible. In the meantime, the Saylor text had been incorporated into the course, so at the very least, the students had access to the OER text, and no longer needed to purchase a costly textbook.
As talk of abandoning the plan to convert the text into Pressbook format continued, Steve Covello, whom I had been working with in instructional design, discovered that the Saylor text existed in another format in a GitHub repository. This version of the text was then converted into Pressbook format, with far fewer problems. There were still some formatting issues and occasional errors that needed to be addressed, but all of the formulas and symbols appeared correctly. After making any needed edits to the Pressbook formatted text, the next step will be to modify the text so that it is built specifically for the Math504 course.
As I mentioned previously, there were some challenges that needed to be overcome in regards to this project. Had I known that there were going to be so many issues converting the text into a Pressbook, I may have chosen a different text, or at least one that would’ve been less problematic to convert. That said, having the support of Instructional Design was crucial to this project, as without the GitHub discovery, this project would have been abandoned.
Susan Bradley - EDU740 Capstone (School of Education)
OER or Open Pedagogy
This open education project will be an assignment in the capstone course of my students' process in obtaining their Advanced Endorsement certification in Specific Learning Disabilities. To date these students will not have had any experience or opportunities to participate in an open/assignment/course/project. Therefore besides the open pedagogy assignment, added to Moodle will be Discussion Forums requiring students to utilize Twitter, GSC Facebook, and blog resources plus open education resources. Through this open education project my students will respond to a research assignment on teaching students with learning disabilities how to solve word problems with the focus of a broader audience other than myself or their course colleagues. I expect their research project to utilize higher order thinking strategies of analysis, synthesis, questioning, predicting, and clarifying.
Will be updated at project completion.
Liz Colantuonio - EDU613/704: Teaching Science (School of Education)
OER and Open Pedagogy (Winter 2020)
In EDU 613/704 Strategies for Teaching Science, the course includes traditional assignments and research projects that are disposable and unshared. I would like to open up the course and revise at least one course assignments to include a sharing and collaboration component and bring their work out into the Open.
In addition, I would like to bring the forum discussion board into the Open by replacing the current/traditional forum discussions into a student blogging experience using Word Press and/or including the utilization of Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to expand upon PLCs.
Bringing Science Instruction into the Open
In the Spring of 2019, as a participant in the Granite State College Academic Technology Institute, I set out to update the course, Strategies for Teaching Science, with non disposable assignments that brought teaching and learning for science instruction in grades K-8 into an Open Education environment. Traditional research papers were replaced with hands-on projects that could be used in a classroom environment to directly enhance science instruction in a collaborative learning environment where teachers could learn from one another and share resources to improve the quality of their instruction. STEM units and projects were created and shared through online tools such as Google Classroom, Seesaw and Padlet. Disposal assignments were replaced with hands-on projects and learning experiences that could be shared and discussed while looking at ways to enhance student learning with real life activities that focused on collaboration and competency based projects that evolved over time with constructive feedback from the instructor and classmates.
This experience was fantastic! Open Education and Open Pedagogy assignments have enabled me to refine my teaching skills to include a more collaborative and reflective approach to teaching and learning assignments for elementary aged students. It has given the teacher candidates in my courses to become more reflective practitioners and has allowed them to work more collaboratively to provide constructive criticism and feedback to one another. These things have changed the momentum and energy of the course and have helped to provide a better learning experience for my students.
Mercedes Hunt - MGMT602: Leadership (Undergraduate)
OER and Open Pedagogy (Fall 2019)
Multiple sections of MGMT602 Leadership are offered every term at Granite , yet has traditionally been taught with a hardcopy textbook and has not incorporated open pedagogy techniques. Mercedes would like to replace the textbook with an OER alternative. Here are some goals for her project.
- To search for potential open textbooks or educational resources that could be adapted for the leadership course.
- The implement open pedogological strategies within the existing leadership course
- To rethink the content, syllabus and textbook for the leadership course.
The goal of my project was to completely revamp the MGMT602 Leadership course. Luckily, for my first class, I was able to teach it as a hybrid, meeting every other week, this enabled me to talk to the students in-person and to do a lot of hands-on exercises. The eventual plan was to develop the course into a completely online asynchronous course in a 12-week and 6-week format.
Prior to the fall term (when my course was to start), I wanted to take on the world, I planned to incorporate an open textbook and open pedagogy. I quickly realized that I had bitten off more than I could chew with the project. I started by developing an outline of content that I wanted to cover, and ways that I may want to assess the course. I looked at the table of contents from several textbooks, molded my class into the best of all of them and then started searching for content. Then I spent weeks scouring websites to find an open textbook, only to find that there weren’t any open textbooks that would have worked for the entire class. So, I changed strategies and instead looked for sections of open textbooks that I could potentially piece together to make a course. Yet, when I assessed at the actual content, a lot of it was riddled with typos and grammatical mistakes. After weeks of frustration, I decided that I needed to reenvision my plan.
I stepped back, went back to my initial course outline, took a model course template and then just started plowing through the creation of content week-by-week. I was surprised that a lot of the open articles out there tended to have a listing of qualities with a very high overview, missing the in-depth conversation about the topic. For instance, I wanted to teach my students about servant leadership and found that most sites described servant leadership by the 10 components of servant leadership, 1. Listening, 2. Empathy, 3. Healing, etc. The listings would have been fine if it was simply one topic, but it ended up being the same for most leadership theories. I realized that I had to get very creative with the written content, varying the readings between newspaper articles, open textbook chapters, journal articles and lots of supportive videos.
What came of it, was a very creative, distinctive course that I was very proud of. However, the course prep ended up being so time consuming, that the idea of implementing open pedagogy ended up being a concept to push into a future term. I came to see that I needed to be realistic. I did end up doing a bit of open pedagogy, despite formally removing it as a part of my ATI project. I started the class by telling the students that the class was for them and I wanted regular feedback. I enabled them to share their thoughts, to veto plans and to provide their ideas on the format of the class. The feedback they provided every week was immensely helpful, it enabled me to tailor the course to their needs. During our last class, the students also told me that they appreciated that we adjusted the course as we went and that I allowed flexibility for their unique needs. I also felt that empowering the students, led to more accountability on their parts.
In the end, I can’t wait to teach this course again. Thanks to my previous students, I will be moving some content around, editing the readings a bit and enhancing the course. I also had a student give me a great idea for a final project that I plan to use for the next term. I will be sharing my course with a number of other faculty members, so that it will have more eyes on it, I want it to be as collaborative as possible. For this reason, I also developed extremely detailed lesson plans to share with the course. It is my hope that my leadership course has become a living, breathing course that will continue to grow, mold and improve with continued love.
John Lund - HIS627: Vietnam War (Undergraduate)
OER (Winter 2020)
In this project I will locate, assess, and integrate quality OER that will cover the long history of imperialism and conflict in Vietnam. I aim to reduce reliance on expensive texts while furthering students' critical thinking and writing skills.
The task of creating a version of HIS627 that relies almost exclusively on OER proved to be labor intensive. This did not come as a complete surprise. There are many digital repositories to peruse and assess. While the wealth of materials slowed down the process of selection, it also proved to be a great benefit. This is because the various digital resources capture the many competing voices and perspectives surrounding the war. These multiple viewpoints allow our students to practice their critical reading and thinking skills. (Arguably, the incredibly divisive Vietnam War is a perfect subject for practicing the skills needed to do history.) In addition to digital OER texts, the course also includes visual documents (films). These visual sources permit students to consider the contests over the memory of the Vietnam War.
Beth Reed - PSY601: The Human Brain (Undergraduate)
OER and Open Pedagogy (Fall 2019)
The current course text is dense, dry and expensive. My primary goal is to find a more accessible "text". By accessible I mean factual, but not so dense as to be incomprehensible to undergraduate students who do not have a strong science background, as well as free to them. If not a complete text, at least resources for each module that would replace the content of the text, with the same content. A secondary goal is to locate ideas and resources to make the course activities more engaging and perhaps even add some open pedagogy; a project where they create something living and useful, not a throw away like a paper or powerpoint presentation. Ideally, something where they engage in the greater community at large in their chosen field, using the course as inspiration and an avenue.
My goal changed because it proved to be too lofty to attempt both goals at the same time. Though I have some ideas about creating more open pedagogy in the Human Brain course, I have not added anything to the course yet. Some of the challenges were just plain running out of time (the first part of my goal proved to be much more time consuming than I naively thought it would be, ironically not because of a lack of resources, but rather a plethora of them to sort through and evaluate. Other challenges implementing an open pedagogy project or assignment include finding the right fit (something that is meaningful and not just bells and whistles), matching the students’ need for connection and their comfort with technology. Steve and I are actually trying to figure out if it’s really an aversion to technology or just anything new. My students have been reluctant to attend Zoom meetings in small groups or even one-on-one for help.
Fortunately, I was able to meet my first goal, replacing the $200 text with free, scholarly resources that are accessible to most of my students. The big surprise was how many resources were available. I had no idea, and honestly thought I would be lucky to find a dozen or so. There were hundreds and hundreds. Not all descriptions of content were particularly helpful so I did a lot of skimming of many sources. Finally, I realized I wouldn’t find the perfect resource (at least not in the time I had) and settled for one that had most of what I wanted for content, and then supplemented with articles and TedTalks for specific topics not covered in the text I selected. All resources for the course are now free and available to the students for as long as they want them (they can download the content). I haven’t been able to access the course evaluations from the fall, so I don’t know if any students commented on the text one way or the other. However, this term one of the students enrolled is repeating the course. She commented that she was happy to see the expensive text was no longer required. Some of the students in the fall term, and already this term have mentioned that some of the science has been hard to understand, but that the supplemental materials I added made it more accessible. All in all I consider the first part of my goal successfully met.
If I were to do this another time, I would have a more realistic idea of the scope of a project like this and not try to do so much. Now that I have a serviceable text, my next focus for this course will be making some of the activities more authentic and engaging- aiming for an open pedagogy project or application of the content in a personally meaningful way for the students. Another next step is to invite my department head, and the other instructor who teaches this course to review the changes I have made (the text and supplemental materials) and give me feedback about the quality and substance. My hope is the whole department will adopt this open and free text, or one like it.
Courtney Rice - SCI502: Nutrition, Concepts & Controversies (Undergraduate)
OER (Fall 2019)
For Part 1 (FALL 2019) my goal is to secure an open text resource as part of the SCI 502 Nutrition and Health course revision and imbed this material and other open material (journals/links/"test your knowledge" H5P production) as the main resource content for students. A second long term goal (PART II) is to develop a learning module for evidence-based practice and evaluation of primary research.
We implemented an OER text for Human Nutrition and rewrote the entire course to reflect new assignments, assessments, discussion forums, practice skills, applied exercises, connections to the library and understanding research. Since all of the assignments we wrote used publicly available information and or OPEN journal articles, many of these assignments could be converted to a form of open pedagogy at some point in the future.
Choosing and vetting the open resource text was much more time intensive than we anticipated and we found resources were either on the "Easier" or "Advanced" side of the spectrum. It was a challenge to find material that had enough science and chemistry in it, but was also written in an applied manner that would be beneficial to our students. In the future, we could potentially write our own material, but that is a very long range goal.Clearly this is an area that could benefit the market, as there are some very good science options, but not a wide variety to choose from. There are certain disciplines that are more evolved in this area.
We were able to dramatically cut costs for students, and the course that was developed is a stronger course delivery. This could not have happened without collaboration between faculty, the director, our ID team and other supports such as student support services and the library. We also want to give credit to faculty for their willingness to try something completely new in a very popular course.
Karen White - PM800: Project Management (Graduate)
OER (Spring 2020)
The textbooks for this course are usually expensive (in excess of $150) and are used in just this course for non-project management majors who enroll in it. Furthermore, during the period it takes to write and publish these texts, the material contained is no longer current! For instance the current text has very little discussion on leadership or strategic planning, two skill areas required of successful project managers. A recent search for OER PM content revealed there is very little available at the graduate level of study. Specifically:
- Creation of a graduate-level Introduction to Project Management "textbook".
- Development of a Project Planning Step-by-Step Guide (derivative of textbook)
- Development of a Step-by-Step Guide to Developing a Project Schedule (derivative of textbook)
Will be updated at project completion.