Kona Jones

Free, free, free!

Blog Post created by Kona Jones Champion on Feb 9, 2016

What does the phrase 'unlock the power Open Education' mean to you?


To me unlock the power of Open Education means that anyone anywhere (with an Internet connection ) and at anytime can access information that was previous only available in libraries, textbooks, and schools. As a learner it's the power to take control of your learning and what you want to learn about. As a teacher it's the ability to make amazing resources available to my students for FREE!


Share a time when you leveraged OER for teaching and it (the resource or the experience) turned into something awesome!


Normally people consider Math to be an area that requires expensive textbooks and software. Yet, I'm teaching a hybrid statistics course with a free text book and resources! Yep, 100% free to students! The book is by OpenIntro and is their "Intro Stat with Randomization and Simulation" college level statistics textbook. The textbook is available as a PDF, Tablet-Friendly PDF, or the option of buying it for $8.49 on Amazon (if the student really wants a hard copy of the text). In addition, it comes with data sets, labs, videos, extra handouts/resources, lecture slides, and a quiz bank! Yes, pretty much everything you could want from a regular textbook, but for free! What's the catch? So far, nothing! The quality of the textbook content is excellent (explains statistics in an easy to understand manner to students) and the resources are very helpful/useful as well!


What do students think? On the first day of class there were visible looks of relief on most of their faces when I announced that they didn't need to buy the textbook and that everything for the class would be free. The verbal feedback has also been that the students really appreciate that I took into consideration what they would need to pay (or in this case not pay) for their textbooks and that they are really frustrated by the cost of textbooks. In addition, the students really like how everything for the course is in Canvas. All course content (textbook, handouts, lecture video), assignments, quizzes, group work (go Collaborations!), and discussions take place in Canvas. This makes it super easy for students to find/access their content and course work.


Name one (or more, if you want) OpenEd repositories or tools do you use and why?


As a teacher I think it's important to consider the cost of the textbook and software for your courses. Yes, in some cases, it's not possible to go free, but in many cases it's totally possible (and might even be better)! My recommendation is to at least take a look. Check out the different Open Education websites with free textbooks and resources (ex: 16 OER Sites Every Educator Should Know -- Campus Technology - a little outdated, but still good!) and see what's available for your subject area. Or, even consider creating your own course content with the different resources available online. Think of all the amazing stuff that's already out there and free to use! Be open to the possibilities and take the leap! Your students will appreciate it and you might enjoy it as well!


Anything else about Open Education you want to share?