I have two adventures: (1) I adopted John Belshaw’s Canadian history textbooks in 2016-17 for my survey course. Changing textbooks can be a big project for such a large course. Overall, the experience was a terrific success. (2) I was so inspired by my experience with Belshaw’s open textbook that I co-authored a companion open textbook in Canadian history with Tom Peace from Huron College. We are now using this new textbook in our courses.
The open textbooks that I use are more flexible for teaching and truly modular. I can easily make selections that are directly relevant to the topics I cover in class. Students do not read anything beyond what is relevant to the course. Students also have easier access to the open textbook as it is available in multiple digital and print formats. The next open textbook that I co-authored has interactive elements that promote active reading exercises. This has been quite successful thus far.
eCampusOntario is adding to Sean’s story. He also created a fabulous visual syllabus using the expertise of Ken Hui, a Graphic Designer. It provides an engaging and informative snapshot of course activities, requirements, and resources.
Giulia Forsythe in her role as Connector and Collaborator extraordinaire offered to provide feedback on behalf of some of the many teaching faculty with whom she has worked to create, adapt, and adopt open educational resources (OER).
Before their move to open, faculty were using expensive texts and ones that were ill-suited and inappropriate for the Canadian university undergraduate experience. A quote from history professors, Danny Samson and Michael Driedger, “the experience has been productive for us as teachers because it has encouraged us to rethink our entire philosophy and practice of teaching”.
Brock remains committed to OER and Open pedagogy and having the support of eCampusOntario is integral to remaining on the agenda of Senior Administration and Senate.
Open textbook adoption is a great opportunity for students to gain access to learning materials at no charge. It means easy access for students and teachers. Adopting an open textbook means there is no cost to students, saving them money for essentials. It ensures students all have their learning materials from week 1 to set them up for success. Open textbooks are even more beneficial when they are accompanied by slides, a test bank, videos, and games or simulations.