Access to knowledge and technology was a common theme in the readings. It sparked a curiosity about Open Access and Open Educational Resources. Currently, at LaGuardia Community College, my colleagues are working on an OER project (Open Educational Resource). In a short interaction while at work, I briefly mentioned that I was learning about Open Access in my weekly readings. My colleague invited me to see a current OER project they are working on. Without really getting into details about my readings, the first thing they said was that they needed to figure out what platform they were going to use. Some factors to consider were cost, accessibility, and user experience. I immediately thought about the four heuristic questions in Introduction: The Questions of Minimal Computing. I especially thought about this question. “What do we have?”
“what do we have.” – CUNY Pressbooks.
Based on my conversation with my colleague, they used Pressbooks as the OER platform to create this project. Based on my understanding, I learned that CUNY has a subscription to this platform. I also learned that a team is behind this project, from professors to students. A grant is funding this work. Therefore, they can compensate students for their time creating content for this OER project.
I decided to create an account on Pressbooks and play around with the platform. I decided to “create” my first book titled hiking. It’s similar to word press. It has some book themes to choose from. I needed more time to learn about the features and tools on this platform, but it seemed straightforward and user-friendly. For practice, I decided to create a book called “Hiking.” I love hiking and spending my weekends year-round (weather and time permitting) in the mountains of the Hudson Valley and surrounding areas. I created a chapter called Hiking Breakneck Ridge, one of NYS’s most challenging hikes.
Who can afford $100+ Textbooks?
While playing around with the platform, I was thinking about textbooks in the sciences that are constantly being updated. Therefore, the content in the textbook in one year can be different the following year due to new scientific discoveries.
I think it’s ridiculous that students have to pay $100+ for a textbook, especially if they are going only to use it one time. However, I think we now have a solution for that. These platforms and OER projects allow for sharing knowledge with students and the public interested in a subject/topic.
How can OER textbooks and learning material support student success?
I think that OER textbooks and learning materials can support student success by alleviating this cost burden to students. Students shouldn’t be stressed by deciding to buy a textbook or paying for rent or their living expenses. They can instead use the money for their living expenses. It’s already expensive to live in the states. If OER can alleviate that stress, I think we need to move towards an educational system that will support all students to succeed by providing the materials necessary to achieve their goals and success.