Welcome to our series recognizing champions of free and affordable course materials at Touro! These “Textbook Heroes” have made a difference in the lives of our students by lowering the cost of their degrees. Do you know someone who fits the bill? Nominate them (or yourself) by contacting the Libraries.
Who are you? Tell us more about you and the course you teach.
I’m David Nussbaum, an assistant professor at Touro in the Speech and Communications department.
I used an OER in Public Speaking for the first time this summer. Public speaking is both a content and performance-oriented course. The content includes areas such as outlining, presentation aids, use of language, persuasion. The performance element is of course the student speeches themselves.
Describe your previous textbooks and what your class was like.
The previous textbook for Public Speaking covered one area per chapter in some detail. It included numerous pictures and sidebars as well as checklists. Additionally, there were online instructor resources such as PowerPoint presentations and an extensive online instructor manual. Students related well to the book and materials.
Why did you want to switch to an open textbook?
The primary considerations were 1) the entire book being online and immediately available and 2) the course being self-contained on Canvas through either a link to the text or sections added to modules with nothing additional for students to buy with no sacrifice in quality. The book I am using has quality auxiliary materials such as PowerPoint presentations, question banks and participatory review quizzes – definitely a deciding factor.
How has your class changed since you switched to an open textbook? [Student performance? Motivation? Attitudes?]
The open textbook that I am using for Public Speaking allows for relevant sections to be posted in modules on Canvas. This ease of use makes it easier for students to begin their reading assignments. This particular book has “bite sized” sections that can be posted individually (about 15 minutes reading time each with about five per chapter) while effectively covering the material. This allows students to pace themselves comfortably. Students seem more motivated to do the reading and have received the book well.
Describe your students’ reactions to the open textbook – content and/or cost.
Students reactions to content and cost have been favorable. There is a wide variety and range of financial circumstances among students, so cost does not matter equally to all. Also, some students may have book vouchers and some are used to looking for affordable prices for used books online. That said, there is an overall appreciation for both the convenience and cost – or lack of cost!
What do you think of the quality of the new textbook?
The Public Speaking OER is of excellent quality. No corners cut. No compromises. A solid text that provides excellent springboards for class discussion and that gives students a solid grounding for their class speeches and beyond.
What would you say to other faculty members who are considering switching to OER?
Shop around, do your research and go for it!