I use OpenStax’s U.S. History textbook. I reviewed a chapter of the text before publication, and when my history colleague Jim Clark sung the book’s praises, I decided to try it. I’ve used OpenStax since the Spring 2017 semester, although I did once try a competing OER text, American Yawp.

In my AMH2020 (U.S. History II) course, I use The American Yawp, a “Massively Collaborative Open U.S. History Textbook.” According to the publisher, “In an increasingly digital world in which pedagogical trends are de-emphasizing rote learning and professors are increasingly turning toward active-learning exercises, scholars are fleeing traditional textbooks.

Being in academia and having talked with students, I know they do not always buy the textbooks and instead use outside resources. With this in mind, I have adopted an OER textbook for both my geology (GLY1030) and chemistry (CHM2045) courses. I give students the option for my Chemistry Fundamentals course of either purchasing the required text or using the OER textbook that follows the same format. In addition, I have crafted my own educational resources in the form of novel multimedia to help better relate to students and to offer them free resources that I have curated. I did this because most publisher content comes with prerecorded videos and worked out problems and I wanted students to have those resources as well.

I created my own STARS digital repository of Open Educational Resources for the ASH3200 Ancient Near East Societies course, in collaboration with Lee Dotson in the UCF library. In part, my research focuses on how digital technologies are transforming the fields of history and archaeology. So, I used my familiarity as a researcher with exemplary digital projects to identify open educational resources that could be used by specialists like me to replace and supplement traditional textbooks.

I use OER for three courses: (1) PSY2012 General Psychology, (2) PSY4604 History & Systems of Psychology, and (3) EXP3204 Sensation & Perception. I use the Psychology open textbook through OpenStax for PSY2012, plus curated materials for the other upper division courses.

For my Physics 2 course (PHY2054), I adopted the OpenStax College Physics e-textbook (by Rice University) as an open educational resource in Fall 2019. I have continued using the open resources for my current PHY2054 course in Fall 2020. In addition, PhET, a free online interactive simulation, was very useful to teach important concepts in physics in a virtual setting.

Before the start of Fall 2020, all faculty at the UCF Physics department teaching one of the many sections of PHY2054, Dr. Bhattacharya, Dr. Brueckner, Dr. Cooney, Dr. Dhalla, Dr. Jerousek, Dr. Kang, Dr. Kara, Dr. Reyes, Dr. Tetard, Dr. Vaida, and myself, have taken the collective decision of adopting OpenStax College Physics, a free online textbook, to reduce the financial burden on our students. In the past, several of us have expressed reservations towards adopting OpenStax, since the quality of the book is not uniform, and the collection of exercises in it has only a partial alignment with our standards.

I have been using the OpenStax College Physics textbook for College Physics II. Several of my colleagues are also using the same textbook for College Physics I. Jim Paradiso, an instructional designer from the Center for Distributed Learning, has imported the entire textbook in my course module for easy access by the students. The textbook and other resources are entirely free which takes away big financial burden from the students.

Students in my PHY2054C College Physics 2 course use open educational resources. In this course, the OpenStax textbook for college physics, which is available online, serves as a valuable resource for open education. It provides an easily accessible and personally editable textbook, with many example problems and exercises, along with access to other open source software such as PhysTech lab simulation programs.