Dr. Lyn Countryman, Department Head & Professor, Science Education
Dr. Countryman has taught a SciEd 1200: Inquiry into Life Science Course for over 15 years and for the past five years has been using an OER text she modified to fit this biology class designed for students who want to be elementary teachers. She didn't want students to incur the additional cost of a textbook. She serves on UNI's AAC&U Institute on OER team.
Dr. Jonathan Chenoweth, Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning
Dr. Chenoweth has served on the School of Music faculty since 1991, and became director of the CETL in 2021. Identifying appropriate materials and themes for his LAC teaching has been a restless and perennial quest, but in Spring 2021 he had a very encouraging experience that relied on zero- and low-cost options. He serves on UNI's AAC&U Institute on OER team.
Dr. Jim Demastes, Professor of Biology
Dr. Demastes has used free textbooks for several years. He shares: "Textbooks have always been expensive but coupled with skyrocketing tuition they present a significant burden to a college student. On top of that, they are notoriously unoriginal and generally quite behind on recent research."
Dr. Robert Earle, Visiting Professor, Philosophy and World Religions
Dr. Earle adopted an OER textbook for his Humanities sections beginning in Fall 2020. Through also utilizing public domain copies of primary source materials, Professor Earle no longer has to ask students in that course to purchase any texts at all. At approximately 300 Humanities students each academic year and assuming a standard of $100 in textbook costs, that is a savings to UNI students of greater than $35,000 per year.
Prof. Nikki Harken, Instructor, Communication & Media
"As tuition costs continue to outpace what is affordable to most families, using Open Educational Resource (OER) texts became more important to me. As a middle-class family with five children in college, I know the costs feel insurmountable. Although I cannot control tuition, using OER's is a way I can personally help control education costs for families."
Dr. John Ophus, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies; Associate Professor, Biology
It has been a few years since Dr. Ophus has taught a general biology course, but he did use Openstax Biology as his text. He enjoyed it very much and found the biggest problem using it was having students try to print off entire chapters from a University computer lab! He serves on UNI's AAC&U Institute on OER team.
Dr. Laura Strauss, Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Dr. Strauss's interest in OER stems from a departmental culture of finding ways to reduce the cost of educational materials for students. Chemistry was one of the first departments to move to inclusive access materials, starting with general chemistry. In fall 2021, all sections of general chemistry began using an open text, reducing student costs only to online homework systems. She serves on UNI's AAC&U Institute on OER team.
Dr. Nathan Taylor, Assistant Professor of Family Services
Dr. Taylor struggled to find a textbook that covered the relationship and identity topics in FamServ 1010. It was easy to find textbooks that covered relationships or identity, but none that adequately addressed both topics. In 2021, Dr. Taylor and Dr. Heather Kennedy combined chapters from four OER textbooks to create a curriculum that more appropriately addresses course learning outcomes and saves students from having to buy expensive textbooks. Switching to OER was a win-win for students and instructors.
Dr. Deb Young, Instructor, Languages & Literatures
Over the eight years Deb has taught Cornerstone, she’s grown more and more frustrated by the expense of the textbooks. Cornerstone integrates first-year composition with oral communication, so several texts are necessary to cover all the content. The cost of taking the class added up quickly. In about 2019, Deb began to integrate OERs into the course and found them to be a great replacement for traditional textbooks. In that time, she’s dropped the textbook cost of her courses from approximately $125 per student to $0.