Monday, February 22, 2016

A Free, Open Textbook for Our Technical Communication and Workplace Writing Students

This post deviate from the blog theme. It's not something we learned at a conference--although open educational resources (OERs) have been all the buzz at conferences lately. Rather, it's a project Tiffani and I have been working on along with Dr. Jonathan Arnett, Dr. Cassandra Race, and Dr. Monique Logan and our closed captioner Lance Linimon and our student assistants James Monroe and Megan MacDonald.
We were awarded a Textbook Transformation Grant from the Affordable Learning Georgia Textbook Transformation Grants. Using material (with permission) from Dr. David McMurrey's Online Technical Writing textbook and J. Steve Miller and Cherie K. Miller's Why Brilliant People Believe Nonsense plus material we wrote ourselves and videos from experts in the field, we are creating a free, open textbook for students in our TCOM 2110: Technical Communication and WRIT 3140: Workplace Writing classes. This textbook will be online and interactive. We are creating it using SoftChalk Cloud, and it will be available for anyone, anywhere in the world to use. 
At Kennesaw State University, just by the four faculty involved in the project using the textbook in our classes, we are saving students $55,000 from the student debt load each year. That's reason to celebrate, for sure! But in addition to having a direct impact on our students' wallets now and in the future, when those student loans come due, we also know that OERs impact students in other positive ways by increasing retention, completion, satisfaction, and success. More success means faster graduation, which again, means fewer student loads and less student debt. 
Learn more on Tuesday, March 22 at 2pm at the SoftChalk Webinar entitled "Students Get More For Less with Open Educational Resources."