OER Experiences at Youngstown State University

Dr. Ron Shaklee, Chair and Professor, Geography:

The Department of Geography adopted an open resource text book for our GEOG 2626 World Geography courses. It was adopted for use for Spring 2018. The student response was extremely favorable which was not unexpected. World Geography textbooks (new) cost in excess of $125. Students have e-versions of for sale textbooks that are also expensive. Rental textbooks bring the cost down, but cost is still a factor.

We did have some issues with the textbook choices. One of the options was encyclopedic and contained over 800 pages. The option we selected was not as comprehensive. We felt it covered the material adequately in most cases, but there were areas where we would have liked to see more content. We have come to realize that since both of these texts are open source textbooks, we can have the students download both texts at no cost. We can then assign selected readings from the more comprehensive textbook to overcome instances of brevity in the companion volume. Using both texts is a win-win. The texts can be downloaded to desktops, laptops, or both. The students have access at their convenience and are not required to carry a heavy volume around with them in a book bag. They always have the option of printing out the text if they so desire.

Dr. Shelley Blundell, Assistant Professor, Journalism and Communication Studies:

My experiences using Open Educational Resources have been overwhelmingly positive. Not only has the integration of OER helped save my students money, but it has also encouraged a lot of my students to explore other OER options for courses on their own! Integrating OER books into my courses, in particular, has been very useful for classroom interaction (such as discussions, breakout groupwork, etc.) and I have noted a marked improvement in student use and reading of materials with OER integration. I would recommend OER integration for any faculty member looking to increase student use of and engagement with required reading materials.