Grant Project Updates

By | February 10, 2022

The 2021-23 OER grant cohort is under way and has saved almost 1200 students an estimated $185,000 since July 2021. The cohort represents 38 different projects to adopt, adapt, and create OER for courses at 22 institutions. Congratulations grantees!

Interpersonal Communication

Dr. Alena Ruggerio, professor of communication at Southern Oregon University, redesigned her online, asynchronous Interpersonal Communication course around a new OER textbook, Interpersonal Communication: A Mindful Approach to Relationships. Using the author-provided instructors’ materials as a jumping-off point, Ruggerio composed new discussion forum prompts, a new quiz bank, and new assignments to accompany the OER textbook. This course is offered in multiple sections each academic term, and counts in both the Communication and University Studies curriculum, thus holding the potential to benefit hundreds of students per year with OER materials.

In the next phase of the project, Dr, Ruggerio is applying for institutional funding to revise the textbook itself in consultation with the other instructors of the course to better fit SOU’s needs. Once that phase is complete, the textbook can be adopted as part of a Moodle course shell offered to any term-by-term instructor assigned to teach COMM 125 at Southern Oregon University.

OER saves the day in BIO 103 course

Portland Community College’s Biology 103 course is now no cost to the student, thanks to the grant funded by Open Oregon Educational Resources. Michelle Huss used the grant to create openly licensed slides and lecture notes that complement Openstax Biology 2e while also covering all of the content that is specific to her institution. Youtube videos and current topics in biology were included in the ancillaries to make this resource more student-relevant.

The course is offered several times per year and these ancillaries have already saved two student cohorts (24 people per cohort) from large textbook costs.

Environmental Studies and Resources

Taryn Oakley, Environmental Studies and Resources (ESR) instructor at Portland Community College, is working on a reading list for her ESR 171: Environmental Science Biological Perspectives course that will serve as an alternative to a course textbook. This reading list is being funded by an Open Oregon Educational Resources grant. When Taryn was unable to find a ready-to-go OER textbook that could serve as an easy replacement for her course textbook, she decided to put together a series of reading lists that could be easily updated to fit the changing needs of her curriculum. This reading list will be the 3rd in a series and will complete the introductory science sequence that she teaches. The reading list for ESR 172: Environmental Science Chemical Perspectives was funded by a Portland Community College Eco Social Justice Grant and the reading list for ESR 173: Environmental Science Geological Perspectives was also funded through an Open Oregon Educational Resources grant. Questions, comments, or suggestions on the reading list can be emailed to: taryn.oakley@pcc.edu.

Principles of Economics: Scarcity and Social Provisioning

Erik Dean, Instructor of Economics at Portland Community College, shared that the grant team that he leads is working on significant revisions and new, expanded content to create a third edition of Principles of Economics: Scarcity and Social Provisioning. The title itself suggests the focus of the team’s efforts: expanding the standard singular emphasis on the allocation of scarce resources toward teaching economics as the science of social provisioning. This entails the creation of a greater diversity of perspective, in economic theory and beyond. Authors are revising and creating new content in:

  • Macroeconomics, including new chapters in Post Keynesian price theory and input-output modeling, perspectives on wages, and modern monetary theory
  • Value theory and methodology, including substantial revisions to the way economics is introduced to students
  • Sustainability and modern industry, including a new chapter introducing the institutionalist and ecological economics perspectives on the topic.

Forthcoming ESOL presentation and publication

Tim Krause, ESOL Instructor at Portland Community College, will present his ESOL 40 Level 4 Reading materials at the 2022 Foreign Language OER Conference on March 5 at 1PM Pacific. He also has an invited article that will be published in the next issue of ORTESOL Journal. The two abstracts are below.

A Closer Read: Textbook and Novels for Adult Intermediate ESOL Students

Recently, instructors of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) at my institution expressed a need for reading materials appropriate for and relevant to intermediate-level adult students at our community college, both in terms of skills textbooks and short fiction for extensive reading. In response, I wrote the skills textbook A Closer Read and two companion novels (Stig Digs In and Alma Strikes a Chord) that together with ancillary materials form a complete curriculum geared for this level and demographic. The textbook readings follow familiar hobbies, such as music, sports, and social media. It incorporates a variety of skills/modalities to address reading in a holistic and authentic manner. Each unit includes dictionary work and contextualized use of vocabulary in a topical warm-up; transitional listen-and-read dialogues with recordings; a primary article for close reading; a skill presentation with practice using the primary article; a second, related article with comprehension questions for homework; a text transformation exercise for consolidation of knowledge; and discussion questions. Elements are modular, so instructors easily add or omit pieces. Generous graphics make the textbook visually appealing while supporting comprehension and contributing to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The set includes teacher’s guide with learning objectives and answer key; audio recordings; and Quizlet exercises. The two novels work well together but can be used independently. Each includes vocabulary list, comprehension questions, discussion questions, and extension activities.

Exploring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Social Justice Writing Prompts

This collection of social justice writing prompts introduces students to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The UDHR can serve as the theme for a whole term or the inspiration for an individual assignment. Students read the UDHR in both English as well as their first language. Students then explore topics of their choice from the UDHR in a variety of essay formats. Through this work, students gain an understanding of the purpose and content of the UDHR. They identify political and social tensions around human rights, and they draw connections between lofty aspirations and real-world situations, not only in the U.S., but in their home country and the various cultures of their classmates. Students learn to express in writing their ideas about issues important to them, while also contextualizing issues that impact their classmates.

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