The PhysWiki Dynamic Textbook Project
The PhysWiki is one of seven integral components of the STEMWiki Dynamic Textbook Project (DTP), a multi-institutional collaborative venture to develop the next generation of open-access textbooks to improve STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at all levels of higher learning. The central aim of the DTP is to develop and disseminate free, virtual, customizable textbooks that will substitute for current, commercial paper texts in multiple courses at post-secondary institutions across the nation. All are licensed Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike. All seven textbooks in the STEMWiki DTP have been linked together under the direction of Professor Delmar Larsen of the University of California at Davis and include: the ChemWiki (the forefather), the BioWiki, the MathWiki, the StatWiki, the PhysWiki, the GeoWiki, and the SolarWiki.
The goal of this project is to seed the PhysWiki with an open-source, calculus-based textbook, in an effort to expand access and usage of this segment of the STEMWiki. Working with both Professor Delmar Larsen (founder of the STEMWiki DTP) and Professor Paul D’Assandris, Monroe Community College, Rochester, NY (author of Spiral Physics), physics students at South Florida Community College are seeding the PhysWiki with Spiral Physics textbook. Spiral Physics is an OER physics textbook that is currently in use by over 40 two-year colleges nationwide. Spiral Physics comes in three variants (calculus-based, algebra-based, and modern physics) and provides a research-based introductory physics curriculum along with an integrated textbook and workbook activities. Using a restricted equation set, Spiral Physics provides a unique approach to building student success by providing repeated exposure (i.e., spiral) to concepts with increased complexity. It includes alternative problem types, including goal-less problem statements, ranking tasks, and critical analysis tasks which have been research-proven to help students develop conceptual understanding.
Although implementation of this project has not kept up with the desired schedule, things are moving forward and usage of the PhysWiki continues to grow as shown in the most recent Google Analytics Report.
Once completed, this project should not only help to expand usage of the PhysWiki segment of the STEMWiki, but also enable Spiral Physics to be used as a living etextbook, whereby faculty and students, can expand and augment the online textbook with supplemental information. I am excited to be able to use this site as the host for my etextbook for next semester.
Erik Christensen | South Florida Community College
Dr. Tim Lenz and I have been working on editing the textbook and identifying students to work on the text over the summer.
Using information from surveys and informal feedback from students, along with feedback from faculty members who have used the text, we have identified several areas that need work in the text. For example, students are interested in accessing information in the text directly from their laptops, tablets, and phones, so we need to ensure that links work with multiple types of devices.
Additionally, students are very interested in linking video and audio content, so we are working on finding and linking to those files. As an example, the image on the left of the Tea Party protest links to a video about the event and a slideshow of images from the protest, allowing the students to emerge themselves in the content.
Dr. Lenz and I have also presented the text twice in our university’s Teaching with Technology showcases, pictured below. We have gotten a lot of very good feedback through these presentations and (hopefully) inspired others to also create open textbooks!
Faculty in the Mathematics Department at Scottsdale Community College have been working hard this year to create, revise, and organize materials for our OER project in several of our courses. This is exciting for all of us!
Our goal is to offer all of our MAT 09x Introductory Algebra, MAT 12x Intermediate Algebra, and MAT 150 College Algebra courses using OER materials starting this Fall 2012. During the 2011-2012 academic year, we have pilot tested our materials, formed a learning community of very talented mathematics faculty, and collaborated with each other to further refine the OER textbook, student support materials, and online homework assignments. This summer, several faculty (Bill Meacham, Judy Sutor, Jenifer Bohart, Donna Guhse, and Linda Knop) will be working hard to take what we have learned from our spring pilot and, once again, refine these materials. The exciting part of the refinement process is that we have complete control over the quality of what we adopt to support our classes! We love this!
Recently, our OER team received the SCC Innovation of the Year Award. Only 1 team per college in the Maricopa Community College District receives this award. As a result, we were invited to give a presentation in hopes of receiving the widely sought-after District Innovation of the Year Award. The presentation slides are available at: OER Innovation of the Year. Wish us luck that we are awarded our District IOTY Award very soon!
As part of our OER project, our learning community has restructured the course so that we provide meaningful support for students, both inside and outside of the classroom. Before class, students can complete a “mini-lesson” to help prepare them for the next class session. During class, they receive instruction and engage in paired board work. After class, they use iMathAS and problem solving activities to support their learning. The next class session then allows for more active learning and engagement with the mathematics. Outside of the classroom, students’ learning is supported by the OER textbook and video tutorials created by MathIsPower4U’s James Sousa, as well as the Khan Academy.
Students have been appreciative of our efforts to use free (or nearly free!) materials for their mathematics courses. In fact, feel free to watch a couple of student testimonials about their experience in an OER math class. It’s exciting to hear that they are using technology — their smartphone, their tablet, etc. — to complete online homework and to access the textbook.
It’s a wonderful time to be teaching college mathematics!
The goal of this project was to take existing open source material being used by a developmental-level reading and writing course as part of Project Kaleidoscope, and update the material to meet the needs of learners on the Hoopa Indian Reservation. The first draft of the Reader itself has been completed. Vinnie Peloso, also from College of the Redwoods, is currently editing the last six stories. Finding suitable material was a challenge, but folk tale and myths from around the world were adapted to reading levels between 4th and 8th grade from the following nations/continents:
• North America: Cheyenne, Inuit, Nez Perce, Oanagon, Zuni
• Hawaiian Islands
• Africa: Kenya/Swahili, South Africa
The Reader is annotated to provide context for unfamiliar concepts and words, and includes video to illustrate that many of the indigenous peoples represented continue to have active and vibrant cultures and continue the traditions mentioned in the stories. For example, the myth from the Zuni tribe has the leading character playing a flute, and at the end of the story there is a short video of a master flautist playing a traditional Zuni song on the exact type of flute from the story.
Also in progress is the development of reading comprehension quizzes for each of the chapters in the Reader, as well as transferring lessons into the new course. A meeting has been scheduled next week where I will visit our college satellite campus on the Reservation and present the materials to the dean and faculty to hear their insights toward the project. I am looking forward to this conversation and their suggestions on how to make the Reader even more meaningful and relevant.
This project, along with other OER projects that I am currently working on, were mentioned in a guest blog I posted for SoftChalk. I submitted this as a proposal for the 2012 Online Teaching Conference, and will be recording a one-hour webinar event that will be streamed during that conference in June, and will then be archived. When this goes live I will post a link to that presentation on COT’s blog, so look for that mid-June.