Open Access Textbooks Coming to NDSU

Open Educational Resources

Psychology 111 classes, as well as Biology 150, 151 and 252 classes will be the first to implement open textbooks under a new student government program. The program begins in Fall 2017 with psychology courses taught by Jared Ladbury, an associate professor of psychology. The biology classes will implement the program in the Fall 2018 semester.

Wenzel’s administration aims to have Open Educational Resources (OERs) have a large impact on students as well as have professors actually want to use open textbooks.

Biology and psychology were selected as the first subjects as they are “very different” and seen as pro-active and progressive, Wenzel said.

Ladbury is the only professor in psychology opting to use OERs.

“It’s always nice to get some summer compensation to actually make the change,” Ladbury said.

He ran a survey in his introductory psychology course this semester in which he learned approximately half of his students say the cost of a textbook is the most determining factor on if they will get the book or not. Ladbury said if the cost will prevent half of his students from getting textbooks, “we need to find a way around that.”

A Tuesday Two survey sent in mid-November, 2016, found 73.83 percent of students have refrained from purchasing textbooks due to cost.

The psychology textbook was easy to get behind as the American Psychology Association has a document in which what should be taught in an introductory psychology course, Ladbury said. “It’s fairly easy for these open educational resources to look at documents like that and build a textbook that fits what I need it to be.”

When biology will be implemented, every professor teaching Biology 150, 151 and 252 will use OERs.

Biology is taking longer to be implemented as there will be open supplemental material in addition to textbooks which include graphs, figures, graphics and pictures.

Wenzel said the concept of having open textbooks is not a new idea, but one which has lacked dedication to accomplish it.

“From the moment I told Spencer Moir that I want to take on open textbooks to the first grant that we approved and distributed was probably about a five, six month long period,” Wenzel said.

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