Do you <3 your textbook? If you don’t, your students probably don’t either. What would it be like to teach a course with text materials that did exactly what you want them to do?
This is the Holy Grail of the OER project. Yes, the price of textbooks is insane and unfair. Yes, the publishers have indulged in an orgy of greed and are now meeting with real resistance. Yes, high textbook prices are contributing to student debt that will have effects on the housing market, the marriage and birth rates, and the economy for decades to come. All that and more.
But on a purely personal, pedagogical level, what could you do in the classroom if your students arrived each day having read/watched/listened to something that inspires you and makes you want to teach like a crazy person?
That has been the most rewarding and exciting part of being involved in the Open Education movement the past few years. Teachers gotta teach. And when librarians can help bulldoze barriers to teaching –copyright, stale textbook-y language, high prices that make half the class decide not to buy the textbook–out of the way, well, that’s just the best feeling in the world.
If you have been considering teaching without a textbook or switching to something that your students are more likely to buy, come talk to a librarian and or the folks at EMT. Maybe you have a ready-made free textbook in your field like the one the PSY101 faculty adopted last year. Or maybe there are two or three that you can chop apart and put back together the way you want. Or maybe you’ll want to go rogue and create a LibGuide that has readings, videos, podcasts, and images–all chosen and curated by you. Could be fun!