Champion of Open – Dan Murphree

Dan Murphree – Department of History

Describe your open educational resources and/or practices:

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. Yet for those that still yearn for the safe tether of a synthetic text, as either narrative backbone or occasional reference material, The American Yawp offers a free and online, collaboratively built, open American history textbook designed for college-level history courses. Unchecked by profit motives or business models, and free from for-profit educational organizations, The American Yawp is by scholars, for scholars. All contributors—experienced college-level instructors—volunteer their expertise to help democratize the American past for twenty-first century classrooms.”

Describe the impact open educational resources and/or practices has had on your teaching and/or students’ learning:

Inspired by my department colleagues and CDL personnel, I decided this year to use an OER text that I had known about for years but had been hesitant to adopt due to longtime reliance on commercial texts and tradition. I’m glad I made the change. In addition to being free to students and accessible to them whenever they want wherever they are, this text provides more up-to-date interpretations of content than traditional texts which often require extended publication processes.
Moreover, the text provides easy to use primary sources that in the past required adoption (and the purchase) of more than one text. Finally, I’ve been able to easily use images and other visuals associated with the text to augment Zoom meetings and student engagement in ways that would have been more difficult with paper copy texts. Consequently, student engagement with the OER text appears to be greater than with previous titles/formats I’ve used which is a clear win for both me and the students.

What is one piece of advice for other faculty interested in OER/P?

In addition to reducing student costs, faculty adoption of OERs for their courses may unveil new ways to teach course content.

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