In this Q&A, we talk with Aida to find out how she discovered open textbooks and the impact open textbooks have had on her students.
Assistant Professor of Economics
Q: When did you first learn about open textbooks, and what made you interested in learning more about them?
A: I heard about open textbooks in the past, but did not know much about them. I have seen Library fliers on open education and received an email about open textbook workshop. What made me join the workshop is that I wanted to learn more in order to potentially incorporate these textbooks in my classes. My major motivation were my former students who noted that their textbooks were expensive and that some of the online support materials were not very useful.
Q: Tell us about your process for finding and selecting an open textbook for ECON 101.
A: I searched for economics textbook in the Open Textbook Library. I found a few textbooks that I was interested in. I checked the content and reviews, read the text and reviewed it myself. I liked the way the topics were presented and decided to adopt the text for my Winter 2018 Principles of Microeconomics course.
Q: What textbook did you adopt? What were some of the benefits of adopting this textbook? What were some of the drawbacks?
A: I adopted Principles of Microeconomics by multiple authors including Greenlaw and Taylor from OpenStax. The book was well organized, used current examples, and everything was hyperlinked making it an easy-read on an electronic device. The hard-cover copy of the book was about $33 which was a nice alternative for students who prefer it in a traditional format. Because the winter semester is fast paced, I was not aware of all the supplemental instructor materials available with OpenStax textbooks from the beginning and had to create all of the supplemental materials. Later on I opened an instructor account and started using the supplemental materials available.
Q: How have students responded to the material?
A: I surveyed my students at the end of the semester and the response was overwhelmingly positive. My students loved the text. What they appreciated the most was that they did not have to pay for it and the hyperlinks.
Q: What advice would you give others who are interested in exploring open textbooks for their own courses?
A: Mine and my students’ experience was overwhelmingly positive. If you choose an OpenStax text note that it has a number of resources and supplemental materials that are either free or can be purchased at the low cost. These texts can also be used as supplemental class readings. Meg Grotti and Grace Adeneye from the Library are super helpful if you have questions or need more information.