(Welcome to my first post here in WordPress! I hope you enjoy the new space and I just have to offer “huge-mongous”–new word compliments of my 4-year-old Scott–abundant thanks to Christian Hollingsworth, Smart Boy Designs, for creating this presence for me and mentoring me completely through the process. This professor knows when she needs an adept, patient teacher! The universe gave me a gift!
Second note: Remember, only this space has changed, but students, I’m still available 24-7 for questions at email@example.com and you can “Like” The Chatty Professor on Facebook and the blog will come right to you.
I mentioned ramping up blogging, so here goes. I discussed featuring some news that you can read from me and then share with others… to make you look brilliant and “in the know.” Start THIS conversation today!)
So here’s my question to kick off… How much did you spend on your textbooks this term? How about last term?
You don’t have to answer. I can already see you starting to flame up. Textbooks cost as much as a used car (okay, not quite… but almost, right?)!
Sometimes you get $1 in buy-back for the $200 you spent.
Sometimes you don’t use the text as much as you thought you would (Grr).
|With a $30 textbook, you can afford the apple! Woo hoo!
You’re financially sound and healthy–you rock!
Sometimes, maybe you loved the text and you might even want to keep it, but you need that $1 (okay, probably more… $5) to sell it back and get your next $200 textbooks.
What if I told you that there are forces out there working to drive down your book prices?
(Doesn’t that sound curious? “Forces”! Like Darth Vader and the Transformers are involved or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles… from my day!)
Since I’ve been blogging, I’ve loosely mentioned a grant project that I’ve been a part of, and this is my second year on that. Well, let me spill it…
Actually, in the spirit of information literacy (because I am a prof at the core, right?), I’m going to have you read about it: Check out this Chronicle of Higher Education piece called: State of Washington to Offer Online Materials as Texts. Go ahead and click. I’ll wait. The Open Course Library project has received tons more press… USA Today, US News and World Report, Newsweek, etc. You can check that out in a minute.
So, there you have it: Gates Foundation. Washington State. Lots of grant money. Eighty-one of the top-enrolled courses with curriculum available online, developed and distributed free to any faculty member in the world—at a cost of no more than $30 to students.
What does this have to do with you?
Well, there could come a time when you walk into class and your prof will say, “No textbook!” Or, you’ll spend very little on the course materials.
(And you’ll do a conga line in between the row of desks… Will you do that anyway because I soooo want to join in!).
I can’t say that this will happen for all your classes, or that it will happen right away, but there is enough momentum out there, in many states, to feel some hope.
So what’s the communication lesson?
If you are taking a 100- or 200-level course, check out the list of courses for Phase 1 and 2 and share some of this news with your prof. You can even forward this blog or the link to the articles above. I mean, how brilliant will you look when you’re saying,
“Professor, have you heard about this Open Course Library, funded in part by a Gates grant, going on in Washington State? (The USA Today piece discusses other states with initiatives). I hear there might be some free course materials there that might apply to our class.”
While it would be nice to add an adjective like “great course materials,” truth be told, only your prof can evaluate that. And, to be fair, I’ll tell you, there is some deliberation out there over the quality of open course materials. Read the articles; there are comments on both sides (Great exercise for you to expand those critical thinking skills—look who’s professor-y today!).
I can tell you first-hand, on the grant that I’m on that we have a huge team of expert faculty, instructional designers (I’m one of them), librarians, universal design/globalism specialists, accessibility specialists, subject matter experts, and a quality assurance manager (that would also be me this year), etc. So, quality is abound. But there will still be doubters (and haters! Did I use that term correctly?).
Even if your prof checks out open course curriculum and sees one thing or nothing he can use, at the least, he may be inspired to create some different materials. Or, your prof may be motivated to find a much, much cheaper textbook option for you. She may even scour the internet and find other open source materials, and build curriculum to eliminate textbooks for your course entirely. Hey, it happens!
In coming blog posts, I’ll have more news that you can take from me and talk about yourself. I want you to have lots of conversation starters.
In fact, today or tomorrow, why not say to one of your classmates, “I saw this crazy thing that some college students might pay $30 or less for textbooks.”
You’re going to get attention… in a good way!
Say it forward!
Students, what do you think about the open course movement? Would you feel comfortable not having a textbook? I’d love to hear your thoughts!