Curiosity and a desire to improve student outcomes led Tulsa Community College (TCC) philosophy professor Dr. Heather Wilburn to attend a session on Open Educational Resources (OER) at the 2018 Oklahoma Association of Community Colleges Annual Conference. In order to establish and accomplish her goals, Wilburn engaged Jamie Holmes, a member of the newly formed TCC Library’s OER team, who had attended the OER session. Holmes sought to strengthen her ability to support faculty in OER efforts and was equally enthusiastic about the possibilities of collaborating on a custom open textbook.
Over the next several months, Wilburn reviewed dozens of open textbooks and other materials and ultimately selected readings from a variety of sources, including three philosophy textbooks available through Pressbooks OER platform. She remixed materials from three texts to create a custom textbook. She also chose to include public domain readings from other sources, such as Gutenberg books. Holmes researched the licensing on all the texts to ensure appropriate attribution and adherence to Creative Commons licensing guidelines and built the book in the Pressbooks platform. Where copyright protected materials were needed, links to the original source were provided as supplements within the custom text.
This type of grassroots collaboration demonstrates how OER benefits all involved. Wilburn can now provide her students with rich readings she feels will advance their understanding of philosophy. Holmes gained an opportunity to dive into Pressbooks to develop a textbook. Students now escape the potentially high cost of a commercial out-of-the-box textbook and gain a greater variety of sources within the custom text. The resulting textbook, Philosophical thought: Across cultures and through the ages, is now available through TCC and Oklahoma State University libraries and will soon be globally indexed through OERCommons.org.
Author: Jamie Holmes (Tulsa Community College)