Learning with Technology

for Teaching

March 8, 2018
by Rachael Inake

Kelsie’s OER Journey Continues

The following is a special guest blog post by: Kelsie Aguilera, Instructor of Anthropology, OER committee member, and graduate of the Go Open, Go Free Using OER workshop series.

Kelsie Aguilera profile

During the fall semester of 2016, I first shared with you my Open Educational Resources (OER) journey through a special guest blog post. I now wish to update you because some things have changed!

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.

March 7, 2018
by Rachael Inake

Why OER Was Appealing for Me

The following is a special guest blog post by: Lois-Lynn Deuel, Instructor of Psychology at Leeward CC.

Lois-Lynn Deuel profileMy 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.

March 6, 2018
by Rachael Inake

A Student’s Perspective on OER and Textbook Cost: $0

The following is a special guest blog post by: Kimo Burgess, Leeward CC student, Student Government Senator Fall 2017 – Spring 2018.

Kimo Burgess profileThere 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!

March 5, 2018
by Rachael Inake

UH System Open Education Week Activities

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.

Open Education Week 2018 UH events calendar

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
Location: E109

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.

March 4, 2018
by Rachael Inake

It’s Open Education Week 2018!

Open Education Week 2018 logo

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.

– from Open Education Week at https://www.openeducationweek.org/page/what-is-open-education

To start the week off, we compiled a few articles and resources to introduce you to Open Educational Resources (OER).

OER Myths

These are some common myths about OER:

  1. OER are just free resources
  2. There’s no such thing as a free resource
  3. OER course labels punish faculty who haven’t adopted open resources
  4. Publishers are going to fight this
  5. The bookstore is going to fight this

Read why these are myths here.

OER Textbooks for Your Course

One way to start using OER is to find an OER textbook. Curious if there’s one for your course? Check out Leeward’s OER LibGuide for OER textbooks. On the OER LibGuide you’ll also find a lot of useful information and resources.

What are you waiting for?

In this funny short video, OpenStax, a non-profit company that creates peer-reviewed, openly licensed textbooks, shares reasons for why you should use OpenStax.

March 24, 2017
by Rachael Inake

National Open Education Week

This concludes Leeward CC’s Open Education Week! Thank you for reading our blog posts and getting involved whether it may be in spreading awareness, inquiring for more information, using OER materials in your courses, or other things. Feel free to contact the friendly librarians on campus if you’re interested in utilizing open and/or OER materials in your courses.

If you’re interested in more, you can also check out how UH Manoa celebrated Open Education Week:

UHM Open Education Week Summary: Students at the Front

Lastly, if you’d like to get more involved, nationally, visit the Open Education Week’s website for other events – https://www.openeducationweek.org/events.

Mahalo, on behalf of the Leeward CC OER Committee!

March 23, 2017
by Wayde Oshiro

What You Should Know About Publishers and their Amazing Discounted Prices

According to Pearson’s website, 64% of students surveyed are opting out of buying course materials and this “decision is having a negative impact on [their] choices,” which include “taking fewer courses per semester, not registering for a course, dropping a course, failing a course.” Leeward students reported similar, though, slightly lower percentages in our own textbook survey back in 2015. Our students are making the same hard choices as college students everywhere, even when the choices they make are detrimental to their academic success.

Pearson provides a complex diagram (to view, click the link and scroll down the page) showing the many decisions students make before they actually get their hands on a textbook. The interesting thing about this chart is that it leaves the obvious out of the picture – purchasing a textbook from the bookstore. It’s been clear for a while now that many students avoid the easiest way to get their textbooks because they can’t or won’t pay the retail prices.

Publishers are responsible for this situation. Their sky-high prices enabled by captive markets have allowed them to gouge students year after year.  Students are going through extraordinary means to acquire textbooks at more affordable prices and the publishers are with them every step of the way, erecting barriers to protect their revenue. Is this endless cat and mouse game helping us create the ideal climate for learning?

How is this impacting the publishers and why you should care

The current system is breaking down. Students are choosing not to buy their textbooks and the publishers are feeling the pinch. Revenues for the largest textbook publisher are down by double digits in 2016. According to Coram Williams, CFO, Pearson PLC:

[O]ur US higher education courseware business declined an unprecedented 18%, driven by three factors.

Firstly, enrolments were again weaker than our expectations, driven by pressures in the for-profit and community college channels.

Secondly, we saw a bigger-than-anticipated impact from rental.

And thirdly, and largest of all, at around two-thirds of the total, or 12%, we saw a significant inventory correction in the sales channel.

To recap, enrollments fell, alternative textbook acquisition models rose, and students are not buying textbooks from traditional retailers.

The publishers are responding to the changes in the marketplace. At a February 2017 conference call with investors, Kevin Capitani, President, North America, Pearson PLC, said “the year is shaping up fantastic,”

So we’re actually expanding what we’re doing in terms of how we’re going to attack the market at an institution or an administrator level, in addition to adoption level selling, which will remain incredibly important. But also, more direct to the consumer or the customer and the student. And if we set the business unit in higher ed particularly in that manner, we’ll be able to attack it a lot better, more comprehensive, and drive, let’s say, additional revenue at different points in the year, rather than just the adoption selling at two key intervals at each semester.

Beware of publishers bearing gifts

The digital direct access (DDA) strategy adopted by Pearson North America is one attempt to recapture revenue lost when students acquire textbooks through alternative methods and/or decide to not purchase them at all. The promise is affordability and access, but at what cost?

The language used by OER proponents and the publisher’s is becoming disquietly similar, but clearly the objectives are not. We are educators seeking to impart knowledge and help our students succeed in life. Ultimately, publishers are in the business to make a profit and students are the market. Students become even more valuable customers when they aren’t given a choice. You might say they don’t have a choice now when an instructor requires a textbook, but of course they have choices with used books, textbook rentals, book sharing, course reserves, etc. However, individual freedom to obtain lower priced course materials vanishes with the digital delivery model. Digital course materials are available only through a publisher’s proprietary (closed) platform. They control the content, the delivery, and the access. Sure, they might offer discounted prices, but you have to wonder why they couldn’t offer the same discounts in the first place with print textbooks. And just how long will the low prices last?

DDA programs automatically charge students for course materials at the time of enrollment. It’s not an opt-in, but an opt-out model. The opt-out is presented as a choice, but is it a real one? What happens when a student decides to opt-out? There is no secondary market for used digital textbooks or access codes. Without access to course materials, the student is in same bind as before trying to succeed when one of the essential requirements for succeeding is not available to them.

The sole purpose of DDA is to ensure steady, guaranteed revenue for the publisher. Minimum enrollment requirements ensure that the model also preserves the existing print textbook market. With DDA, publishers promise a near 100% sell-through rate for the program. Let’s say the e-text and platform access is priced at $50 (50% off the price for the print).  For a course with 100 students this will generate $5,000 in revenue.  The print version of the same textbook priced at $100 with a 50% sell-through rate (only half the students purchase it retail) generates the same revenue. The discount offered will never jeopardize what remains of the print market.  In other words, the discount received is in exchange for guaranteeing 100% sell-through rates to the publisher. What kind of bargain is this?

So what now?

Ultimately, the choice is yours. Just know that other options exist for course materials besides the traditional publishers. OER doesn’t require negotiating prices at all.  There are no access codes and the material is available to students indefinitely. You can even customize the material to better suit your students and your teaching needs. OER is developed by dedicated educators who decided that reliance on for-profit companies to develop educational materials leads to unaffordable prices, questionable practices, and lack of innovation. With OER, you are in control of the material, the teaching, and the learning.

If you looked for OER before but were not able to find materials that were satisfactory to you, don’t give up! Ask a librarian for help, they’re excellent searchers. And if nothing is available today it just means someone is hard at work developing great material they will share with you tomorrow.  That’s the beauty of OER, it’s a global collective of educators working for the common good. Lastly, don’t forget to ask your colleagues who made the switch. They are the best people to address your questions and concerns.

OER is becoming a greater threat to the publishing industry, John Fallon, CEO, Pearson PLC:

We’re also dealing with some potentially very disruptive threats. Currently, the negative impact that we’ve seen from OER is small, but it’s growing.

Indeed, OER may still be small but it’s a quickly growing movement. OER enables educators to collaboratively develop and distribute the materials needed to ensure affordable and equitable access to education for all students without compromise.

March 22, 2017
by junie

OER Saved My Life

The following is a guest blog post by Borjana Lubura-Winchester, Geography Lecturer, Leeward Community College.

Aloha, my name is Borjana and I am a Geography lecturer at Leeward CC and the UH Manoa. Originally, I am from Sarajevo, Bosnia and a proud Leeward CC/Manoa graduate. First time I have learned about OER was last semester from our librarian Junie Hayashi. My students complained about high cost of the textbook I was using for one of my classes. In addition to high cost, I was using a very small portion of the book and could not find any alternative. I was constantly ‘bombarded’ with different publishers and offers via email or knocking on my office door, but nothing even close to what I wanted. Finally, I decided to create my own textbook and asked Junie for help. During our first meeting, Junie started telling me about OER and creative commons, licenses, copyright, etc. Oh boy, it was so overwhelming to me. I did not understand anything. I ‘jumped’ into compiling the resources week by week. Pretty soon I learned how hard process that could be. The OER workshop saved my life!

Participation in the OER workshop made a whole difference for me and my students. From the early start, the students did not have to worry about the textbook. There were no complains about ‘late Amazon arrivals’ or waits for the financial aid to ‘kick in.’ The material was immediately available online and ready to use. I cannot say that I was not skeptic at first about credibility and availability of the sources. However, the OER workshop and its facilitators Leanne, Junie and Wade helped me to get on a right path of finding sources I never knew existed before. The facilitators were patient with many of my questions and always willing to provide guidance for my subject matter. I discovered a well of available pictures, podcasts, documentaries, lectures, textbooks and various articles. Also, I realized that there is a completely new world of the community of authors who put hard work into creating these materials, yet enable them for anyone to use. At first, I did not want to share MY hard work, but (after participating in the workshop) I changed my attitude. Once my textbook is complete to the standard I feel comfortable with, I will upload it for use in the OER.

Finding sources is not an easy job. Giving the appropriate credit and using the appropriate attributions is crucial. Weekly homework and in-class activities with my colleagues helped me understand the process better. The teamwork cleared up any confusion and gave me the confirmation of how to find/attribute sources correctly. The facilitators had ‘easy to follow’ weekly assignments with the list of compiled instructions, links and directions for us to successfully complete the task.

Throughout the OER workshop I created my ‘road map’ toward OER courses. Because of the OER workshop, I am able to offer the rest of my classes with the OER for upcoming Fall 2017. I must admit, I am glad that there is the summer break coming up where I can spend a lot more time searching and building my source bank. My advice for instructors who plan on converting their classes to OER is to do it over the summer break where they might have more time. In the end, no matter when an instructor decides to take this journey, the OER is worth her/his time. I feel liberated and much confident in my classes and material I present to my students. It suits better the student learning objectives and their success in the classroom. It enables me to teach what matters the most in my discipline. Thank you OER team!

March 22, 2017
by junie

OER Journey: From “Oh, What is That?” to “Oh, Wow!”

The following is a guest blog post by Faustino Dagdag, Business Management Instructor, Leeward Community College.

My first impression of OER was really “what is that thing people were calling OER”? OER in my mind was something that I should stay away from because it had to do with some kind of technology issue. And technology is not my “cup of tea”. Then at a Pacific Region Learning Seminar (PRLS) session last summer, I learned during a morning discussion that OER was a real way to provide students with text books without any cost to the student. I was however in the Art of Teaching Online PRLS track, but I was intrigued at the concept of free textbooks. I attempted to learn more about OER during meal breaks where I could ask those attending the OER track more about, how to provide “free textbooks”.

For myself one of the more distressing part of teaching is the growing number of students in the course who could not or would not purchase the assigned text due to financial reasons. Also growing is the number of students who are purchasing the text utilizing discount on-line sights which often delayed delivery of their copy. The issue of text book availability resulted in having to adjust the course delivery schedule often sacrificing valuable hands on in class activities time to provide for more content instruction at a slower pace to accommodate those with no text. This slower pacing jeopardizes the application gained knowledge due to investing more time in content driving as opposed to content usage. This problem now may have a solution in OER.

I needed to learn more. I had to learn more about it quickly because in the fall I was scheduled to teach a management course that was designated “No Cost textbook”. It is the goal for the management program which I belong, to support OER and No cost textbooks. My first experience was being provided the site for Saylor.org to research OER text books on Management. Luckily I found a suitable e-text book. However the search was difficult as well as cumbersome. And I thought “so this is OER”. Was I wrong.

In the fall semester I participated in the Teaching Excellence Program. One of the sessions was titled: “Student Engagement Using Technology and Open Education Resources”. Speakers showed how student engagement could be ignited by how the course content was provided and delivered using OER. This session opened my eyes and mind that OER was much more than free text books. It was a way to spark students imagination, creativity and engagement while building their knowledge and skills base for their future career. Additionally the session exposed me to the wide array of resource available for me to utilize to engage and teach my students. Still I needed to learn more regarding OER.

The next opportunity to learn more was the “Go open, go free with OER” workshop. The title is most appropriate, I learned that OER is more than free access to material but it was a way of sharing and collaborating to move ideas and thoughts forward to make it accessible to any and everyone who could find the idea valuable then they could add to the thought. The workshop provided a solid foundation to understanding OER as a practice as well as a philosophy. It showed me and the other participants how to share properly by learning about Creative Commons licenses, practices and ethics. It instructed us on the technical aspects of searching, using and sharing subject content. More importantly it provided reasons to let go of thinking knowledge is to be held as a possession but to see knowledge as a gift to be shared and grown.

This is just the start of my OER experience and pursuit of sharing. I have a desire to construct a course utilizing OER in totality not piece meal as I am utilizing it now. I have a kernel of an idea regarding that course. I’ll use the summer to fully develop my OER supported course, more exciting to me is the prospect of having students join the sharing process and experience. OER for me has gone from Oh, what is that to Oh wow.

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