Matt Crump from Brooklyn College creates OER Statistical Methods in Psychological Research
TELL US WHY YOU CHOSE TO ADOPT OPEN RESOURCES, WHAT DID YOU USE BEFORE?
I chose to use open resources for several reasons. Before the CUNY grant I was not aware of OERs. I became aware of them through calls about small incentive money for developing/adopting OERs at Brooklyn College. Although I was unaware of OERs and creative commons licenses, I had already been using free resources for my students. For example, I would use course packs composed of journal articles that could be downloaded from the library. When course packs were not available, I would show students how to purchase old versions of textbooks at steeply discounted rates.
The more I found out about OERs, the more eager I became to use them. For the topic areas I am teaching, I was lucky to find existing content that I could adapt. I could see numerous opportunities to improve the content to suite my specific teaching needs. OERs also provide many ways to deliver content in a digital format, such as web-books, that allow students to engage with content in various ways including reading text, watching movies, and commenting about content in online discussion forums. Additionally, creating OERs in an easily shareable format allows other faculty to adopt and expand upon the materials. Of course, students get the benefit of a zero-textbook cost course. For all of these reasons, OERs were a good way to go.
WHAT HAPPENED THEN? HOW LONG DID IT TAKE TO SWITCH OVER?
For my recent OER development, I created a statistics textbook for undergraduates in Psychology. I had very specific goals in teaching this course, and wanted to tailor the material exactly to my needs. Although there were numerous existing creative commons textbooks that I could have used, I ended up writing almost all of the textbook from scratch (but did remix some content for other sources, which was really helpful). Writing a textbook is a huge undertaking and it took the entire summer. In fact, we wrote another companion textbook, which is a lab manual showing how to solve statistics problems in software. All told it took about 4 months to create the new curriculum. I am currently teaching the new curriculum this fall 2018.
WHAT WAS THE REACTION?
I am very pleased with the result for the statistics course so far. Several statistics instructors in our Department are adopting or are planning to adopt the new materials. This can help with standardizing the curriculum. At the same time, this topic area can be taught in different ways, and because the format of the textbook is modular, it can be further modified by individual faculty to better suite their teaching needs.
Student reactions have been very positive, they really liked not having to pay $200-$300 dollars for a textbook.
I have been sharing the development of this OER resource on social media and have also received positive feedback. I am optimistic these materials will be adopted outside of Brooklyn College, and that other people will contribute to making them even better over time.
In addition to developing OER content, I have been very interested in using open-source software tools for making OER content. For example, I have established a workflow that allows me to write content fairly quickly in a document format called R Markdown. This format let’s me compile my document to various formats including web-books, .pdfs, epubs, presentation slides, and websites. In addition, I host all of the source for creating all of my content on github repositories. The result is that anybody interested in copying the materials can do so by copying the files in the github repository. They can then use the same free software I am using to make changes and additions to the content and recompile the material. I have created tutorials on this process for others wishing to adopt the workflow: https://crumplab.github.io/OER_bookdown/