The following is a guest blog post from I-Chia Shih, Assistant Professor of Physiology.
For students who are studying anatomy and physiology (A&P), they know that this subject has a reputation for being a highly intensive class. Imagine if you had to learn A&P during the pandemic when classes went online and everything was shut down! When the pandemic started to affect our lives three years ago, our ways of teaching and learning were forever changed. After a year of the pandemic, Allison Beale (Physiology Lecturer) and I noticed that A&P students were in desperate need of more resources to truly learn the structures and functions of the human body.
We saw an opportunity when the EMC asked if anyone needed help creating instructional videos. Allison and I proposed the development of high-quality OER anatomy videos for human anatomy and physiology. This idea later evolved towards developing videos for all anatomy and physiology students at Leeward CC and beyond, with the intent of providing support materials for an OER lab manual. To create these videos, Allison worked closely with Camden Barruga and his Video Production team from the Educational Media Center (EMC). The EMC staff, including student assistants Theo and Audrey, and Theater staff, helped to set up everything for a multi-camera production including set design, lighting, video and sound in the Media Center Studio. This teamwork, through numerous recording/editing sessions, generated 19 OER demonstration anatomy videos for our A&P students. Check out the PHYL_141L playlist and PHYL_142L playlist of videos. Allison’s goal was to provide students with the necessary resources so that they will be able to watch and learn about the bones, muscles, heart, and other organ systems. In addition, she covered the dissected structures of the sheep brain, sheep heart and cow eye to offer students a closer look at the real structures as if they were dissecting the specimens themselves. These videos are a product of the tremendous amount of effort and passion we put in to help our students learn and reach their professional dreams.
Have an idea for an instructional video or series of videos? Would you like more information on services the EMC Video unit provides? Perhaps a tour of the studio to get the creative juices flowing? Please feel free to contact Camden Barruga at ext. 604 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to collaborating with you to take your project from conception to completion.
My experience developing OER has changed the way I teach and interact with learning materials. I teach classes in botany and agriculture and finding materials that are relevant for Hawai‘i can be a challenge. Teaching these subjects through local examples and incorporating content relevant to Hawai‘i makes learning more relevant to my students.
I started out by just wanting one of my classes to be textbook cost zero (TXT0), which meant the library purchased an electronic copy of the book I was using that students could access for free. This was the only book available for native Hawaiian plants and ecosystems. The main issue was the language used was not very accessible and most of my students were not using the materials. After attending an OER workshop sponsored by our library I got inspired to give OER a try.
In the Spring of 2020 I was a recipient of the Leeward OER Award for a team project with Paula Mejia Velasquez, to create the OER textbook “Botany in Hawaii”. At that moment I thought I could remix some existing OER materials that were available online. Unfortunately, most of the botany materials were not specific to Hawai‘i and it quickly became clear that it would be better to write all 10 chapters from scratch. The intention of the project was to localize the botany materials and make them more relevant and enticing to students.
There are many things that I can talk about regarding this experience producing this OER book. For this blog post I want to focus on the part of the experience that I most enjoyed. One thing I was not expecting is that it would be hard to find illustrations and photos with an open license we could use in the project. Creating illustrations is something I was familiar with, but I I didn’t know how much work it was going to take for a project like this. Learning new software and techniques to make things look good were super challenging, but that’s something I really enjoyed and would like to continue improving on. I think that having illustrations that are locally based make a huge difference for the kind of teaching I do. I think our students can relate to the materials better and become more interested in the subject.
Here is an example of an illustration I put together using a plant that is found in Hawai‘i. After collecting a fresh hau flower, I took it to the lab where I photographed a step by step dissection. Then I used software to do the post editing and add labels. So now my students can learn the terminology related to flowers with a local example.
Here is another example of an illustration that I put together for the stems chapter using a variety of kalo that was grown in the gardens at Leeward. In the text, we include a linkto an illustration using Hawaiian language and knowledge.
I feel really thankful to all the nature photographers that gave me permission to use their images. And to those who release their illustrations through Wikicommons which can be used and adapted by anyone. To highlight the need of sharing resources through an open license, take a look at the example below of an illustration that was put together using my photos as well as photos by other photographers. If you want to make a difference in the OER world, consider sharing your photos with an open license on sites like Flickr or Wikicommons. Photos of everything (not only plants) can be used by those working on OER projects in different disciplines.
A lot of people donated their time to peer review this book. From Leeward CC: Alyssa MacDonald, Annemarie Paikai, Kalei Laimana, Bruce Koebele and Chai Blair-Stahn reviewed the chapters and provided a lot of feedback that we used to improve things. Our library and EMC staff supported me in this long road towards having good OER materials for my classes.
Working with OER is powerful because you can create free materials that can be constantly adapted and improved. My students have also reacted positively which validates my reasons for embarking on this journey in creating local OER materials relevant to Hawai‘i that captures and shares its beauty and uniqueness through the botany lens.
Paula Mejia Velasquez
Creating our Botany OER textbook, “Botany in Hawaii,” has been quite an adventure, one that we hope will provide students with more relatable class materials and access to a more affordable education. In my case, I have converted all my classes to be textbook free for several years now by adopting OER textbooks. I got the inspiration for this from several of the OER workshops offered at Leeward CC. For several years I remixed and modified available OER materials from different sources to tailor them to the specific needs of each one of my classes. Given that there are not many OER Botany textbooks available, at one point I came to the realization that I was creating and modifying a considerable portion of the content instead of just mixing materials. In addition, most Botany textbooks (conventional and OER) often use examples from the mainland, showcasing plants that students have never seen or even heard of, which make them not very relevant to my classes, or even the islands. This is when I teamed up with Daniela to create a Botany textbook that would be focused on Hawaiian plants, presenting examples of local plants and ecosystems, and aiming to better connect our local students to Botany.
Last year, Daniela and I received the Leeward OER Creation Award, and we decided that instead of just remixing and modifying existing OER materials, we would take on the endeavor of developing an original Hawai’i-centric Botany textbook. The journey of creating an OER textbook from scratch has not only been an interesting academic exercise but also an undoubtedly time-taxing venture. As with most side projects, we ended up working crazy hours and trying to carve time from our busy schedules. We are deeply grateful to our colleagues that helped us by reviewing the book: Alyssa MacDonald, Annemarie Paikai, Bruce Koebele, Chai Blair-Stahn and Kalei Laimana, Miles Thomas, as well as to the staff at the Leeward CC library and EMC, and LibreTexts that have supported us in the process.
I really enjoyed the challenge of trying to better communicate the sometimes perceived as “dry” scientific topics in an engaging and approachable language suitable for our students and classes. I have a newly found respect for the science communicators that can make the most advanced scientific findings not only easy to understand, but also seem so cool and appreciated by the general public.
To anybody interested in OER, I would say that one of the biggest virtues of creating, mixing or using OER materials is that they are not immutable products, on the contrary, they can continuously be adapted, improved and tailored to meet the specific need in your classes. There are many possibilities, as you can adopt an OER textbook, or select only chapters or sections of interest, or mix chapters/sections from different textbooks, or even create your own OER materials. It does not matter which route you go, the main idea is to be able to offer free high quality, relevant, relatable and novel materials to our students so that they can achieve their educational goals regardless of their socioeconomic background.
But, what has not changed is my support for OER and the global Open Education movement OER are a component of. There are so many barriers and challenges that our students face on their paths to academic and career success; purchasing an expensive textbook no longer has to be one of them. I now advocate for OER by serving on our campus OER committee along with serving on the Awareness subcommittee. Through my OER committee work, I am grateful for the many opportunities I have been given to share my experiences with OER to our campus and the community, such as being a guest speaker for the Go Open, Go Free Using OER track at the Pacific Region Learning Summit.
After taking the incredibly enriching Go Open, Go Free Using OER workshop series in 2016 and launching two of my courses as “$0 Textbook Cost” soon after, the response I have received from students has been overwhelmingly positive. I have received countless words of gratitude and thanks about going “$0 Textbook Cost” from students and no major critiques. In stark comparison, I used to receive countless complaints about the traditional textbook I used to assign. Furthermore, my success rates have increased since the switch. Although I cannot confidently attribute the increase to my adoption of free resources, many of which are OER, I like to believe that my efforts have made a positive impact.
Ultimately, I wanted to impart a note of encouragement to you. When I first heard about OER in 2013, I immediately became frustrated because I couldn’t find any suitable OER for anthropology. Thus, I abandoned the project until I took the Go Open, Go Free Using OER workshop series, which gave me the confidence and resources I need to take the leap. New OER materials are steadily being created and added to the movement. For example, an organization I am involved with, the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges (SACC), recently released the first peer-reviewed, open access textbook for cultural anthropology called Perspectives: An open invitation to cultural anthropology.
Movements elicit change as the result of the participation of its supporters, so you can contribute to the OER movement too. I am doing my part; I am currently working with a dedicated group of SACC members to produce and edit an OER introductory biological anthropology textbook, which will be the first of its kind. If OER doesn’t work for you at the moment, don’t indefinitely rule it out. The movement keeps growing and evolving, and you can contribute to it, too, so that you can make OER work for you.
The following is a special guest blog post by: Lois-Lynn Deuel, Instructor of Psychology at Leeward CC.
My path to using Open Educational Resources (OER) was not a hasty one. When I taught my first college course 25 years ago, I dutifully selected a well-known textbook for the spine of my course, promptly employed all of the publisher’s bells and whistles and creatively developed colorful PowerPoint presentations to organize my in-class lectures and facilitate student note-taking.
As my experience and expertise increased, a lot of things changed in my instructional style. I started incorporating more active learning activities, stopped using the “death by PowerPoint” approach and adopted a number of flipped classroom techniques. Most importantly, I began a slow drift away from using the textbook as the foundation in my courses.
Why was OER appealing to me?
Each semester, more and more students were not purchasing the textbook, purchasing a really old edition, using a “similar textbook,” or depending on the University of Google. I found the potential of increased access for ALL students to be very appealing.
In a similar vein, access from DAY ONE and continued access long after the course has ended (something that is not possible if students have rented or resold their textbooks) gives students a substantive and permanent resource.
I wasn’t making use of the entire textbook. Each year, I would “require” fewer pages to be read and leave some chapters as “optional reading.”
I was using an increased number of supplements to address shortcomings in the textbook, e.g., short YouTube videos that succinctly explained course concepts, popular literature with meaningful examples, clips from movies, TV shows and the news.
Even with new editions every few years—the information in textbooks was immediately out-of-date. I was making corrections “on the fly,” and sharing stories about cutting-edge research that was YEARS from making it into a textbook.
Last year, I participated in the OER Workshop offered through PRLS. My initial intention was to increase my technical knowledge and learn about more scholarly resources that I could systematically use to beef up the supplementary materials for my courses—like an “OER Lite” to accompany the textbook. As the week progressed, I decided that an OER text along with my existing supplementary materials might be an option. It would certainly save my students money.
Unfortunately, the next thing I came to realize during the PRLS week was that there were no existing OER texts for Developmental Psychology. If I wanted something better for my students (i.e., higher quality, up-to-date, more relevant, better explanations and examples, more efficient or concentrated learning), I was going to have to make it myself—an OER mash-up using hundreds of different resources.
The PRLS workshop on OER gave me the confidence to try (WARNING: Junie, Wayde, and Leanne are really sweet, helpful and persuasive!). So, I decided to take the plunge.
The following is a special guest blog post by: Kimo Burgess, Leeward CC student, Student Government Senator Fall 2017 – Spring 2018.
There are many benefits when it comes to taking OER or $0 cost textbook courses. When I first entered Leeward Community College several semesters ago, I didn’t realize how outrageously expensive textbooks could actually be. I thought textbooks would generally cost around $20 to $30, but I was flabbergasted to realize that textbooks can cost up to $150 and above. Having to pay for books in addition to tuition is ridiculous. As an average college student, I have to pay for a bus pass that is priced at $250 a semester and tuition that is $2500 every year. The most I have spent on textbooks during one semester was $500. That $500 can be better spent on transportation and even alleviate the cost of living.
OER and $0 cost textbook courses offer many benefits such as financial and academic freedom, the unburden of carrying heavy textbooks, and not having to worry about whether it’s in stock at the bookstore or on Amazon. Though there are benefits with $0 cost textbooks and OER courses, access to computers or an online device can be difficult for some.
When I entered an OER course during my second semester at Leeward Community College, I felt liberated not having to carry a heavy textbook with me every time. It’s efficient and cheaper for professors to go OER. It can be irksome for both the professor and the students if they need a required reading/textbook that can be possibly out of stock in the bookstore or even unavailable at the library. Having Ebooks (electronic books) introduced as course material can make school life a lot more simple and sustainable, too. Ask yourself this question, “Why would I need to buy an expensive book when I can just read it for free?” I hope in the future that Leeward Community College offers more OER courses because it makes college life and work a whole lot easier.
Here are some statistics on Leeward’s Textbook Cost: $0 courses for Spring 2018. Let’s help more of our students, like Kimo, by offering more textbook cost: $0 courses!
In the spirit of Open Education Week, UH Manoa is hosting some wonderful events. Check them out on their website. If you are available, you are encouraged to register for the various sessions that are taking place on Thursday, March 8 at the Manoa campus. Here is the link to the livestream channel on YouTube if you wish to view the sessions on that day. Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani (University Teaching Fellow in Open Studies and a Psychology Professor, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, B.C., Canada) will be the keynote speaker and will also be conducting a hands-on workshop about strategies and resources to redesign course assignments.
In the afternoon at 2:30, our own Wayde Oshiro, Head Librarian, will be part of the closing session that highlights the potential for OER to improve outcomes and the learning experiences for UH system students.
In addition, UH West Oahu will be celebrating Open Education Week with the following workshop on Tuesday, March 6 from 1 – 2 pm.
OER: Affordable Course Content
Dr. Gloria Niles and Dr. Tom Scheiding
Open Educational Resources (OER) are sources of information that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. Learn how OER is being implemented at UHWO and across the UH System.
Both the UH Manoa and UH West Oahu sessions will be recorded and we will be posting recording at a later date.
Join the Leeward CC OER Committee in celebrating Open Education Week, starting today, March 5th until March 9th! This week, you’ll receive a special daily email to inform you about topics in open education, particularly those related to our campus about Open Educational Resources (OER) and textbook cost $0.
Open education encompasses resources, tools and practices that employ a framework of open sharing to improve educational access and effectiveness worldwide.
The idea of free and open sharing in education is not new. In fact, sharing is probably the most basic characteristic of education: education is sharing knowledge, insights and information with others, upon which new knowledge, skills, ideas and understanding can be built.
Open is key; open allows not just access, but the freedom to modify and use materials, information and networks so education can be personalized to individual users or woven together in new ways for diverse audiences, large and small.
Here’s a quick re-cap on what’s happening with Open Educational Resources (OER) at Leeward CC.
Open Textbook Network
The Open Textbook Network (OTN) is an alliance of over 600 higher education institutions promoting access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks. OTN maintains the Open Textbook Library, a collection of 453 peer-reviewed open textbooks. The UHCC system recently joined this growing community of open education advocates. Our membership allows UHCC OER advocates to participate in discussions with regional and national leaders, share best practices with other members, and tap into the collective expertise of the network. A highlight this year is an upcoming visit by two presenters from OTN coinciding with HSSI, March 28-29. A presentation is planned for Day 1 and a train-the-trainer workshop on Day 2. The all-day workshop at Honolulu CC is for individuals who will return to their home campuses as open textbook advocates and provide faculty with training opportunities. We are excited to participate in this network and share our successes with colleagues around the U.S.
Spring 2018 Textbook Cost: $0
Preliminary, we now have 273 sections at Leeward that are “textbook cost: $0” leading to a savings of $459,826 and a total savings to-date of $2,087,575. “Textbook cost: $0” “is a designation for a class that does not require students to purchase any course materials out-of-pocket. Classes may use a variety of Open Educational Resources (OERs), online resources, library resources, and faculty-authored materials to replace commercially-produced textbooks” (Go Open, Go Free).
“Go Open, Go Free Using OER” Spring 2018 Workshop
Are you interested in OER or going OER? Register today for the upcoming workshop series from February 13 to March 20 at 1:00 PM -2:30 PM. In this six-week workshop series, participants will learn about no-cost and Open Educational Resources (OER) which have the potential to replace costly commercial textbooks and other course materials.
Articulating the value of OER in higher education
Distinguishing between openly licensed, public domain, and copyrighted materials
Finding OER in your subject area
Understanding the differences in Creative Commons license types
Combining different types of Creative Commons licensed materials
Adding a Creative Commons license to your own work