Grant Project Update: PSY 201A & 202A

By | June 16, 2017

This post was contributed by Kristen Kane, Academic Assessment coordinator & Psychology Instructor, Columbia Gorge Community College. 

I had been thinking about adopting OER for my courses for a long time. When Columbia Gorge Community College’s library director, John Schoppert, approached me with the Open Oregon Educational Resources grant opportunity to adopt OER for my online General Psychology courses, it seemed like a good time to give the idea serious consideration. After reviewing a few OER texts for General Psychology, I decided to redesign my online courses over 2015-16, implementing OpenStax Psychology. Once the text was incorporated into my course, my plan over the next year was to ensure that the text was a good fit for the course and my students.

As a long-time adopter of Quality Matters and its rubric, my next step was to request a review of my two courses to ensure that the OpenStax Psychology text aligned with assessments, activities, and tools, and supported my students in meeting their course and unit-level outcomes. Both courses met expectations for the QM reviews and were recertified. In particular, the use of OER aligned with the review criteria:

The instructional materials contribute to the achievement of the stated course and module/unit learning objectives or competencies – Specific Review Standard 4.1

The design uses a free online text by OpenStax which is a perfect fit to the course and learning objectives – QM reviewer

Because I also wear the hat of Academic Assessment Coordinator at CGCC, I decided I’d put both courses up for course outcomes assessment, with the intention that I would give both courses more consideration than usual with regard to student success in meeting outcomes and what might or might not contribute to success. The results of both course outcomes assessments indicate that the majority of students (above 80%) met the outcomes, earning a C or better as measured by the assessments. This is a very similar result to the outcomes assessment from before the redesign. I think student responses from the Student Course Evaluation indicate that the text, to a certain extent, contributed to their success in meeting those outcomes.

The most important part of this project, or at least the part that I was most curious about, was finding out whether the students liked the text and found it helpful in meeting outcomes, passing quizzes and completing assignments. I asked the students the following questions on the Student Course Evaluation for each course:

  1. Did you find that the Open Educational Resource: OpenStax Intro to Psychology was sufficient in helping you achieve the course outcomes?
  2. Did you find that the Open Educational Resource: OpenStax Intro to Psychology was sufficient in helping you be successful in the quizzes, reflection papers and forum postings?

The response to both questions in both courses was a resounding “yes”! Each course had 26 students, with 19 responding to each Student Course Evaluation. Of those 19 students, 16 responded to the two questions. All 16 responses from each course evaluation were positive. I was impressed with how much the students liked the text. Of course many said that they liked it because it was free. Others liked it because…

It was so nice not to have to carry around a textbook.

The textbook could be accessed any time of the day with or without internet. It was nice to have an online interactive textbook that I didn’t have to lug around in addition to my laptop.

Many students provided more insight into the textbook’s support in helping them achieve success with the activities and assessments, as well as the learning objectives for the course (see below).

Overall, I am incredibly happy with the implementation of the OpenStax Psychology book. Not only have I saved my students a total of $13,475 over two quarters, but more importantly, this textbook seems to be a good fit for the courses and supports students in meeting the outcomes.

Selected Student Course Evaluation Responses

I wish more classes would use an online text.

It was very easy to navigate the book.

The textbook laid out the information in an easy to understand way. If I didn’t completely understand a concept, I could usually follow their links and figure it out.

The quizzes are great. I love that it shows you what ones you missed and allows you to go back and re read and fix your answers. OpenStax gives wonderful information to be able to type a reflection paper and provide correct and adequate information for the forum postings.

I did well when I read it. I didn’t do very well when I did not.