UA Little Rock researchers showcase benefits of using open educational resources in the classroom

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

University of Arkansas at Little Rock faculty, staff, and students shared their experiences using open educational resources during the Open Education Southern Symposium held Oct. 1-2 at the University of Arkansas.

The symposium, co-sponsored by the University Libraries and Global Campus, connected supporters of open education for presentations, lightning talks, and panel discussions.

Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials in the public domain or introduced with an open license, meaning they can be used freely. Educational materials like textbooks, curriculum, lecture notes, syllabi, assignments, and tests would be open to the public and could be used by students and faculty without cost.

Carol Macheak, research and scholarly communications coordinator, said there is an OER Taskforce on campus that encourages UA Little Rock faculty to consider using open educational resources as a replacement for textbooks and/or supplemental readings.

“Many UA Little Rock students cannot afford to purchase textbooks at the beginning of the semester, which means they are not able to read their assignments for the first 2-4 weeks of class,” Mackeak said. “Other students just can’t afford their textbooks, so they do without or they borrow and make copies or they buy an older edition.”

Edma Delgado-Solozano, assistant professor of Spanish, and students from the Spanish Introduction to Literature and Cultural Studies Class gave a presentation describing their development of materials for an OER textbook, the Antología abierta de literatura hispana. Students who participated in this project include Heather Rodriguez, Daisy Vasquez, Nallely Lopez, and Bryana Herrara.

The textbook is the brainchild of Julie Ward, assistant professor of Spanish from the University of Oklahoma. The textbook is produced with student-generated content through the development of critical editions of canonical texts from Hispanic literature. The goal of this project is to crowd source entries including introductions, annotations in the text, and discussion questions of important literary texts in the public domain.

Additional UA Little Rock faculty and staff to present include:

  •             Cori Schmidtbauer, instructional designer, “Applying Instructional Design Strategies to Incorporate OER and Alternative Textbook Materials into Online Classes”
  •             Robert Belford, professor, “Developing a LibreText and the Application of Web Annotations to Enhance Student Learning”
  •             Brian Ray, assistant professor, “Open Access, Open Development: Creating Local Educational Resources for First-Year Writing”
  •             Amar Kanekar, assistant professor,  “Use of Education Resources in a Quality Matters Certified Community Health Course”
  •             Annie Childers, assistant professor, “OER in Online Developmental Mathematics Classrooms”
  •             Jim Vander Putten, assistant professor, “Move to Active OER Learning: Applying Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy in Education”
  •             Cole Williamson, research and scholarly communications librarian, and Carol Macheak, research and scholarly communications coordinator, “Faculty Incentives to Adopt OER”
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