Campus News · Feature

Open-educational resources are the new wave

Marcus Smith
Lantern Staff

Butler’s English Department voted last year to change their textbooks from a traditional textbook to an open-educational resource (OER). One of the main purposes of this is to help students save money on traditional textbooks.

“This book will be different in that it is catered to Butler students and classes,” Associate Professor of English Andrea McCaffree-Wallace said.

An OER is a textbook that can be written by any person or persons with knowledge on a topic. The English Department, who are creating the OER, says the purpose of the OER is not to only save students’ money. Since professors will be the ones putting them together, it will be more efficient in the classroom.

The OERs will contain more than just things the professors need for their classrooms, they will also have things that students will need for other classes and everyday lives at Butler. It will include content such as how to work with and inside Canvas and the Online Writing Lab, also known as the OWL. The OER will include detail about students’ assignments, how to write specific essays, examples of essays,and tips from former students.

The traditional EG 101 textbooks usually range from $100 to $150, and according to Professor of English William Buchhorn, the goal is for the OER to cost around $30. This will likely save students money when compared to the traditional textbook.

“The quality will remain the same, but the cost will go down,” Buchhorn said.

The OERs are not just designed to save students’ money, but it will also make it easier for the professors. The students will already have the textbooks at the beginning of the year, so the professors will not have to worry about any students who do not have their books. It is also beneficial to the professors, because the content in the book will relate more to their class, which may mean less handouts for students.

Since textbooks are constantly changing to force colleges to spend money on updated books, switching from traditional textbooks to OERs will not change much in the classroom.

“Just a different textbook, we change our textbooks all the time,” Buchhorn said.

An EG 101 OER will be available for use starting Fall 2018, and an EG 102 OER will likely be available that following spring.

According to those involved in the creation of the OER, the book will have benefits for both the students and the professors.

“It has been a lot of work, but the customized book will make it well worth it,” McCaffree-Wallace said.

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