I’m pleased to have the honor of presenting a project I have recently finished and released under an open license. It is a “Guide to Open Learning” and I hope you find it useful. Thanks to College Open Textbooks for all the work they have done and continue to do to advance Open Learning and for giving me the opportunity to share this here.
ABSTRACT: This document is an introduction to Open Learning. It examines briefly what “Open” means and the different facets of the open movement and what “Learning” means and how it is different for every person. Attention is brought to the issue of the digital divide and ways to reduce or eliminate barriers to education. We look at how to get started with Open Learning if you are fortunate enough to have access to the technologies, and possible ways of obtaining access if you don’t. We then go over how to map out a personalized learning strategy that works for you. The core of the document goes over many of the different types of Open Learning resources available, and possible ways to organize and structure your learning. We will also looks at the issue of accreditation and how to receive recognition for your learning in a way that allows you to demonstrate your newly acquired skills. Finally, it finishes with ideas on how to start solo or collaborative projects as well as possible ways to get them funded.
There is a large collection of Open Learning resources at the end of this guide.
Corbin Tarrant | Independent Technology Consultant
We would be delighted if a wave of a magic wand would mean every required textbook were open-licensed, flexible for instructors, and affordable for students. Unfortunately, it will take time before this happens. In the meantime there are some options to improve textbook affordability immediately even for classes with expensive required textbooks.
San Francisco City College student association decided that the students needed assistance with textbook costs far more than they needed additional recreation equipment or social events. So the association purchased a number of expensive textbooks and offered them for semester-long loans.
Foothill College Bookstore manager Romy Paule took a risk, invested in textbooks, and rented them to students. After a few terms, the investment was recouped.
Instructors can suggest that students visit the SlugBooks site where students can compare textbooks from several sources. Searching can be done by state/school/class or by textbook title or ISBN number. The site includes some open textbooks.
Revamping assignments to refer to topics rather than specific pages and problem numbers will allow students to use older versions of the textbook at substantial savings.
Suggesting that students form small study groups and purchase one textbook to share can mean not only cost savings but peer pressure to improve time management and study skills.
Administrators and instructors can contact the college foundation to see if corporate or foundation grants can be used to purchase more reserve copies of textbooks for the college library.
Comment below if you have additional suggestions for quickly improving textbook affordability.