Enhancing pedagogy via open educational practices – public lecture by Rajiv Jhangiani


– Hey, good afternoon, everyone, and thank you for coming. It’s my pleasure to introduce
to you today our guest, Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, who is visiting from Kwantlen Polytechnic University. For those of you who don’t
know, that is located in British Columbia, and you can
tell that Rajiv is from BC because he thinks today
is a really cold day. (audience laughing) He was shivering on the way to lunch. (audience laughing) I met Rajiv at a conference
I go to each summer that’s devoted to psychology, introductory psychology instructors, and we’ve had many
wonderful conversations. And he’s sort of on this whirlwind tour. He was at Waterloo yesterday,
he came in this morning to lead a discussion on
our journal club group. He’s giving this talk
today, and then tomorrow he has a talk at Sheridan and
then at Ryerson University. So it’s quite the whirlwind. Just a little bit background about Rajiv, a couple of the current roles. He’s the OER research
fellow, open education group. He’s the associate editor for Psychology Learning and Teaching. And among his recent
awards is the Robert Enochs master teacher award UBC,
the Robert Siegel award international Society
of political psychology, and Rajiv is very much active in scholarship of teaching and learning. And a couple of recent books
that he’s been involved with, A Compendium of Scales
for Use in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning,
published in 2015, and Open, the Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing
Psychological Science and Education. I’m really looking forward
to hearing Rajiv’s talk about the Future is
Open, Enhancing Pedagogy Via Open Educational Practices. Please join me in welcoming Rajiv. (applause) – So I’m really very happy to be here, especially because Joe
is one of these people I really look up to within our discipline. He’s easily regarded as
one of the more innovative practitioners when it comes to teaching introductory psychology. And so again, you think about
the culture of the institution that spawns that kind of
innovation or encourages the kind of innovation, and
so that’s part of the reason why I was so happy to be here. So I’m gonna try and
talk about not just open educational resources, which
is something that some of you may already be familiar
with, but the more broader open educational practices
and how these might easily be harnessed to serve our
students, your students, your faculty, but also the
institution all together. But before I talk about
any of these details, I wanted to start with some common ground. So whether you’re faculty,
whether you work with faculty or indeed with students every
day, I wanted you to see if you could recognize
the following situation. Let me paint a picture for you. It’s a dark night. (thunder rumbles) A student visits a
faculty member’s office. (audience chuckles) And so it goes. (audience chuckles) Does that look familiar
to anybody in this room? Of course there’s good arguments. (audience chuckles) It’s interesting to go about
the ethics of it, isn’t it? A system. Or I should back up. I think in many ways, this
is a good starting point because this is what higher
education is meant to achieve, and not many of us recognize
that the UN declaration of universal human rights has
language embedded within it, concerning the importance of accessibility of higher education. Yet much of the time that I can see, the very system, higher ed
that’s meant to be a vehicle to help deliver people
from social inequality is structured in a way that
actually only reinforces it. And so this is part of the impetus for where I’m coming from. Of course you all recognize this. Over the last several decades,
there’s been a systematic reduction in the amount
of government support of higher education. This is not a surprise to
anybody in this room, I imagine. We’re at a point where the
decrease in government funding and support is matched by
the increase in the burden that’s carried by our students. In Ontario in particular at this moment, students pay more than 50% of the burden of higher education. This comes principally
in the forms of tuition, but also other fees, ancillary
fees and other costs, including of course the
cost of course materials. Now even if we work
with students every day, I don’t think we often
recognize how widespread this issue is and how
painful this impact is. We may not recognize for
example that fully 50%, you’ve seen the movie, (audience chuckles) 50% of our students across the country require student loans simply
to come to the classroom. That’s a starting point. And when we’re talking about
the entire student loan debt, I updated that in terms on
Sunday or Monday morning, so it’s very current. Six years ago, student loan
debt, federal student loan debt, exceeded $15 billion. The federal government at
that point had to raise the debt ceiling to 19 billion, and that’s forecast to be
breached in the year 2020. Those are current numbers,
and that’s just federal student loan debt, not
provincial and not private. Average student loan debt in
this country, about $29,000. And about three years
after having graduated, barely a third of our
students have managed to free themselves from
the shackles of this debt. It’s a serious social justice
issue with a human face. And I love this picture
because a few years ago, UBC, my alma mater, had
a campaign that they used to celebrate their graduates, and they put out these
posters across the ground of the campus and they gave
the students these markers and encouraged them to fill
out what was most meaningful and memorable for them. And as you can see,
this one was filled out by uncomfortably honest student. I will always remember
UBC for my crippling debt. Ontario students and indeed
students across the country are working a lot more nowadays. And if you’re an instructor,
this is not a surprise to you. We see more of our students
working not just part-time but even trying to hold
down full-time work while attempting to go
to school full-time. This is happening increasingly. There are mental health
consequences to this, but there are financial
implications as well when students are asked to
choose between groceries and course materials, for example. So it’s no longer the case
that students can take a summer job and pay for their education. We know that when student loans
go from $1,000 to $10,000, program completion rates
plummet from 59% to 8%. And this is where institutions
and administrators start to get really
interested in the implications for the institution of this
inaccessible requirement. Now of course, there’s
many things that are behind these increasing costs,
and tuition is obviously the biggest part of that. There’s cost of living. Certainly, in BC, it’s
extraordinary how quickly the cost of living has
risen and how unaffordable, for example, accommodation has become. But I don’t think any of us
in this room individually control tuition or cost of living. But one factor that I think
many of us do have control over is the cost of course materials. And so this is one entry
point into this conversation. Few of us realize that over
the last 30, 40 years or so, the cost of textbooks has
risen more than 1,000%. The other line you’re seeing
over here is inflation. So more than three times
the pace of inflation, and this includes 82%
over the last decade. So again, against the backdrop
of all of these things, this is one aspect that
I think we have much more control over, much more
control than we admit, anyway. I’m not proud to say that
we now live in the era of the $400 textbook, and this
is not an isolated example. Now if you look on social
media, for example, you’ll notice that students
across the country, student unions and broader
groups of students, have started to organize
and mobilize themselves with social media campaigns. And there’s a hashtag
which is textbookbroke. And if you search for
that, you’ll see students across this nation
coming out of bookstores at the beginning of every semester, taking pictures, photographs
of their receipts, the amount that they spent
on books that morning and they’re tweeting these. And this is going viral. This is a massive campaign, students trying to
demonstrate to instructors and administrators the impact of this. This is a whiteboard that
a particular student union put outside their bookstore, and as students came out, of
course they just checked off how much they spend from less than 100 to more than $1,000. You’ll see several students
at the top simply wrote in too much on their on
(mumbles) and filled that in. And my personal favorite
right at the bottom, how much did you spend, it
says over here, my firstborn. (audience chuckles) So again, this is a serious issue, and it’s a especially serious
issue when you realize that this has a very,
very personal impact. It is not an accident that
students across this country, and including in Ontario,
are using food banks at universities in record numbers. Last year, UBC experienced a 100% increase in the use of its food
bank from the previous year by its students. This is not an accident,
and it’s quite widespread. And then of course, we talk
about classroom instruction, put in together syllabi
and describing particular course textbooks as required. We all know students are
bright and they’re creative and certainly, they’re motivated, and there’s a number of
ways in which they find to get around these
required course materials, at least without having to
spend these $400 or $200 each on textbooks. So these are options that
you’re probably familiar with for the most part. Whenever possible, they buy
used copies of the textbooks. If possible, if the edition hasn’t changed just that summer before, for example, and the old edition is no
longer really workable for them, they buy online, places like Amazon. Students are spending less and less money at university bookstores
because this is unaffordable. So they’re trying to find
every creative way around it. And bookstores are no longer the cash cow that they used to be, as
students seek to find other ways to get their resources. They resell the resources if they can. If the edition hasn’t changed
midway through the semester, rendering those resources
or the $200 textbook worth about 10 bucks by the end. They rent. Of course, there’s many rental programs. They often buy in groups as
shared purchases in a class, where they obviously need
it all at the same time ahead of the exams and assessments. They use library loans, course reserves, interlibrary loans, often
back to back to back from multiple institutions. It’s amazing the lengths that students are going to nowadays. Photocopying of course,
and more and more students are realizing that they can
buy the international edition of the textbook, which is more or less but not exactly the same content
at a fraction of the cost. And despite the fact
that we keep warning them that they are responsible
for the mismatching content if they choose to go
for a previous edition, they often go for that. It’s a calculated choice that they make and in some cases, I mean, you can’t argue with this logic, can you,
when it comes to this? (audience chuckles) It’s a fair point in some sense, but I think we’re all familiar
with the traditional practice of the publishers. Once a textbook has been
out for a year or so, it’s the used book market
that saturates the market and they’re no longer
making any money from that. And I think we’re all
familiar with the practice of cosmetic updates with new editions, which hamstring students. So let’s talk about professors and faculty and how we can help or how we can hurt. Here’s one way in which we hurt, and I think there’s a few
things that are more frustrating for a student than
spending $200 on a textbook and then realizing three
months into the semester that you only really needed
a couple of chapters from it. There’s another pattern
we’re seeing at bookstores across the country where
students are waiting several weeks into the semester, four weeks into the semester,
you’re probably gonna see lines of 20, 30 students at the cashier because that’s when they decide, okay, now I know I actually
do need the textbook, and they’re willing to wait, which is often why you
see that opening month of the semester having poor performance in students not having
their course resources. So these are all serious issues. They also go to a particularly
dark corner of the Internet that we all know as ratemyprofessor.com, and they actually sift
through the reviews of faculty to see if there’s multiple
sections for a particular course, which instructor is
actually using the book, which instructor is not
using the book as much. I didn’t make this up, by the way. This is an actual profile that exists on rate my prof for Master Yoda, which I think is magnificent. Master Yoda, of course some
of your are more familiar with Princess Leia in the
psychology department, but it’s very helpful, Master
Yoda, but not very clear. I think that’s fair. And worse than this, they’re
illegally downloading the books in increasing numbers. This is a representative case. I’m gonna read this. This is a message posted by the student who scanned and uploaded
this textbook from Pearson in this particular case. It says, Penn State, you
are gouging your students. We’d be willing to pay a
fair price for this book, but that would be far south
of the $200 you charge at the bookstore. Fix this, lower the tuition, and maybe students like me
won’t spend several days scanning your materials
and putting it online. Also, I love this, clean the bathrooms on the
first floor of Willard. (audience chuckles) It’s just a catch off,
all of their complaints about the university. It’s fantastic. But again, you think about
the structure of the system, if we’re setting it up in a way such that so many of our students prefer, take this, illegal downloading and uploading in fact as the preferable option for them, it’s a strange, strange environment. And it’s not just this, this is a big social justice plea, of course, but we should also think about pedagogy, because we do know that there’s a tangible and direct relationship. These are data from a
large representative survey in the United States. But we’ve seen similar data
that we’ve just finished collecting in British Colombia as well. Now that’s just for one of their courses. But 35% take fewer courses
because of these costs, and 23% routinely go
without course materials. Now in many ways, I’m
setting this up to suggest that faculty have control. And as people who work
with students and faculty, we have a role to play
in encouraging the shift away from high-priced,
overpriced course materials. But as a faculty member myself,
this is kind of what I see when I look in the mirror. All right, this is my daily life. This is me trying to stay
abreast of recent developments in my discipline. This is me keeping up with all
of my teaching obligations, this is me doing service
on a variety of committees within the university, service
outside of the university, editorial work. And God forbid, before I
collapse in an exhausted pile at the end of the day,
spend a little bit of time with my family, right? This is me. And then as this happens,
you get these wonderful, cheerful, smiling faces that
knock on your office door every couple of weeks,
unsolicited, of course, and these are the textbook publisher reps. And they say, don’t worry,
we’ve got you covered. We have a wonderful plug-and-play,
ready-to-go resource. It’s a textbook, so you don’t
have to worry about that. It comes with a set of well, large test banks. You don’t have to spend
any time writing questions. It comes with a set of PowerPoint files, which if you’ve ever looked
at publisher PowerPoint files, they’re quite atrocious. But anyway, this is sold as a good thing. And we’ve got automated
online adaptive quizzing, so really, you don’t have to worry about formative assessment. And of course, many of these
claims are quite baseless in terms of their alleged
pedagogical value. But few people ask the question, which faculty member turns
to publisher references? Can you show me any efficacy studies for this new technology? A few of us. (coughs)
Excuse me. A few of us do that. And I think part of what
we’re dealing with over here is what’s called a
principal agent dilemma. This is when an individual
makes a decision that governs a large group of people, that, the larger group are bound by, but that the individual
making the decision never faces the consequence of. This is a textbook case actually of a principal agent dilemma, if you will. And I would suggest that a good
symptom that this is at play is if the faculty member
doesn’t actually know the precise cost of the
textbook that they’ve assigned. It’s probably a good sense of this. And of course, if you do
have these conversations with the smiling cheerful
publisher representatives and you explain that you’re
concerned about the cost to students, they’ll stop to
talk about hardcover options and soft cover options and
loose-leaf binder versions and e-books, right? As if this is a wonderful
demonstration of their caring. And I’m going to suggest,
this is a good example. This is a cognitive psychology
text that I used to assign many moons ago. Today, it costs $190 plus tax, of course. Or, of course, you can get the
e-book at the low, low cost of $102. It’s wonderful. But I’m also gonna suggest
that this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Comes with a license that
expires after a certain number of months, six months, eight months. So if a student wants to retake the class, whether they failed it or
they just want to improve their grade, they have to buy it again. If they’re interested
in lifelong learning, God forbid, they no
longer have access to it. It’s also locked within
a proprietary platform that’s incompatible, in most cases, with assistive learning technologies. So at the start, I talked
about the importance of affordability. And yes, I think we have to think about if higher education is unaffordable, who are we saying belongs in higher ed? We also have to think
about if higher education is inaccessible in terms of
assistive learning technologies, who are we saying belongs in higher ed? And of course, the sad
reality is that students who take the e-book option, in some cases, end up spending more money than students who buy a print copy and
are able to resell that at the end of the semester. So as I say, this is not
particularly innovation, and that’s without
talking about all of the interesting practices
between publisher reps and departments and all
of these wonderful deals that are assigned, right? Can we, for example,
incentivize the adoption of a textbook for the
next three-year cycle within your department? Today’s the New Hampshire primary, so that’s perhaps why
Republican gatherings are on my mind. (audience chuckles) But of course, it goes more than his. I’ve been at departments
where the department itself will receive a two or three
dollar kickback per textbook that’s sold within their
department for the three-year adoption cycle. Is there a conference, is there a meeting we could potentially support? Is there a student research
symposium that we could sponsor they’ll say, right? Or better yet, we’ll set up a
scholarship for your students in exchange for this
adoption, which is really the equivalent of affixing 1,000
leeches on the student body and then using a small
fraction of that blood to donate to one of the victims. It’s really quite insidious
when it’s set up and framed in a way that’s beneficial to
students, these incentives. But I suspect that if students truly knew about some of these deals
that are being struck between departments and publishers, I suspect we would see
a lot more cars burning in the parking lot. So again, I’m gonna suggest
there’s a much better way forward. It’s not the only way forward,
but it’s one that I’m quite happy to champion. Take a look. (instrumental music) So that video was obviously
produced by OpenStax College, which is one of many, many
providers of open textbooks, which is one form of open
educational resources. As you can see, they’re
based at Rice University, and I should say that
I have zero affiliation with OpenStax. I just really like that video. But when I’m talking about
our open educational resources more broadly, and these
can be a range of things, anything that you use
for teaching and learning as a resource but they include, of course, open textbooks themselves, one common misconception
is that open textbooks are free textbooks because
they’re more than free. They are free, but open textbooks
are free with permissions, and it’s the permissions
that are the really important distinguishing feature. So yes, open textbooks
are free to students in a range of digital
formats that they can use on virtually any device that they have, a tablet or a laptop,
a cell phone, whatever, but with permissions. And those permissions
are typically referred to as the five Rs. The one in the middle
is the most obvious one, you get to reuse these
resources without asking anybody’s permission. You have the permission to use them. You can retain them forever. Sure, you can redistribute
them to your students or in fact, your students
can redistribute them further to their colleagues, their
friends, their communities, their family, no problem. But as an instructor, these
are the exciting permissions, the ability to revise, remix, adapt, contextualize the resources to
suit your particular context. So really, in many ways, when I look at open educational resources, for students, I absolutely
think about the social justice in our argument and the
absolutely important value these have, these cost
savings have for them. But for instructors, it’s
literally like a new layer of academic freedom when
we think about how many instructors, not just
here but anywhere really. How many of us typically bend our courses to map onto the structure
of a traditional textbook when in fact we ought to be modifying our instructional materials
to suit our pedagogical goals. Small things that we do everyday. So open educational resources
is typically anything that has a creative commons license, and there’s more than
a billion such things. An example would be, let’s
say, if you’re teaching art history. Art history is an important
case because those textbooks tend to be the most
prohibitively expensive, because of copyright
costs involved, royalties. But the Rijks Museum in the Netherlands is a stunning case of
where they’ve put online extremely high resolution,
as in you can print a picture the size of this wall
but without paying a cent for the actual image. They’ve released these to
the commons, to the public for free. It’s wonderful. So you could rely on these resources. If you’re working in English literature, you could go to Project Gutenberg where they’ve digitized
thousands of classics of English literature and
are available for free for bookstores and print
shops to print and supply to their students without having to pay any exorbitant fees. There’s no reason for it anymore. Or you could go to places,
if you’re teaching survey, introductory courses, to
places like OpenStax College. OpenStax is supported by
the Hewlett Foundation and their goal is to provide textbooks for the most popular,
large-scale adoption courses. As you can see, some
of the ones over here. And they’re interesting
in that they provide a number of ancillary resources
to go with their textbooks, things like test banks
and PowerPoint slides. And then when it comes
to online platforms, they actually partner,
including with publishers, for instructors who want to
keep the adaptive platform but don’t want their
students to spend $200 to get access to it. OpenStax is a good example as well of the widespread adoption of OER. It’s amazing. One out of every five
degree-granting institutions today in the United States
has an OpenStax textbook adopted by one of its courses. That’s really, really widespread adoption. And in Canada, of course,
it’s going more and more because in BC, we’ve been
leading with an initiative, I’m gonna skip past this one, called the BC Open Textbook Project. Three years ago, the Ministry
of Advanced Education provided $1 million to
build or otherwise revise and update textbooks
that would be for the 40 highest enrolled
undergraduate courses in BC, which are really not that
different from the ones in Ontario for that matter. It’s typically, you’re thinking, the first two years of
classes, (mumbles) classes. Yes, obviously, introductory
psychology is in that mix, which is why I really
got involved in this. And at this point, the repository in BC has something like 140 textbooks available for a lot of traditional academic areas with an additional 30 or so for
trades and technology areas. And many of them have been
revised and contextualized. So we have Canadian editions of introductory psychology books in here. We have Canadian
pre-confederation history, which has been written
by a colleague of mine, John Belshaw. He’s from Thompson
Rivers University in BC. And one of things I love
that he did with this, is he took advantage of the
digital nature of the platform, that yes, students can
download the digital files in any format for free, but
if they access it online, also for free, they get
to interact with a bunch of multimedia. So they went and interviewed,
did video interviews with leading experts, leading historians in sub topic areas of history, and they’ve embedded
those video interviews in the middle of the book. In other books, we see
interactive simulations and data visualization
embedded within the books. So again, bringing to life the nature of the resource itself. You can have the print copy, absolutely. But you can do a lot more. Now of course, this is a review. So faculty reviews are solicited using a rather detailed
rubric, which is bit washed out over here. But these reviews are posted openly. So when you’re adopting
it, you get a sense of what your colleagues think
of this book’s strengths and weaknesses. And I’m a bit biased over here, I’ll happily disclose,
because I have co-authored two of the open textbooks in this repository. This one is for Research
Methods in Psychology, which is now in its second edition, and this is what the
front page looks like. You can download it in
a variety of formats. Again, completely for free. And I’m very happy to
say that I don’t feel any conflict of interest over
here because I will never ever in my lifetime receive
a single cent as royalty for this book. It is free, the license has been provided. And for students, well, like me, who would prefer print copy of the book, Simon Fraser University
in BC has pioneered this where they have this
print on demand service and they actually print
these books at cost for students throughout BCs. So a 600-page social psychology textbook actually costs students $15.01. one five. Plus shipping you would think, but then we took advantage of
the interlibrary loan shuttle that moves between our
institutions every week, and now we deliver those
with that shuttle for free to the campus of the student. It’s all happening. My institution has now
surpassed 100 course adoptions with open textbooks. And with our tiny, tiny small class sizes, which are capped at 35 students, even at that size, we’ve
already saved students a quarter of a million dollars
in the last little while. So this is leadership in BC, but overall, open textbooks worldwide have saved students about $174 million. It’s extraordinary the amount of funding that the Gates Foundation,
that the Hewlett Foundation and that governments,
whether it’s in Texas or in British Columbia,
are putting behind this. Over the last year, Alberta,
Saskatchewan and Manitoba’s provincial governments have signed memoranda of understanding with BC to also share in the
development costs and sharing on dissemination of open text
books in their repositories. So it’s a movement that started out west, but it’s now very much
happening in Ontario as well. And schools like Carlton and
even Waterloo are looking very seriously at this as well. So I’m gonna take a step back for a moment because so far it sounds,
you know, wonderful. But the question is always
gonna be asked, rightly so, and you could probably say this with me, if it’s free, how good can it be? You hear that voice in
the back of your head. You think about the value
that’s added by publishers and all of the editorial
teams and all of that stuff, that yes, they gouge us and
yes, the OpenNet movement probably wouldn’t exist without
their ridiculous practices, but maybe they have,
they provide some value. And so this is an important point. The first thing I’ll say is
that open text books are free to students, they’re certainly
not free to produce, right? And so whether it’s the Hewlett Foundation or government that’s providing,
funding their development, they’re absolutely paid for. The model is different, where
authors or groups of authors are paid up front a flat fee. There’s no royalties. And part of this is also
recognizing that very few textbook authors actually get
rich off writing textbooks. Unless they write the leading textbooks, nobody is really getting
rich off textbooks per se. But also, this is service to discipline. So let’s talk about quality though. There have been a number of
studies, about nine actually, that have looked at peer-reviewed studies, that have looked at the
quality of OER more broadly. And to be fair, OER varies in quality just as much as traditional
textbook vary in quality. So there’s diversity there. But I wanna start with a
bit of a comparison group because I think it’s equally
fair to ask the question what is the quality of
traditional publishers’ resources to start? And so here’s a representative sample where you see about 16% of this
sample say, it’s excellent. Another 36-ish percent say it’s good. So if you lump those two
together, that’s about 50%, or just over 50% of the
sample that are saying traditional publishers’
resources good or excellent, favorable rating, right? There’s also the green
portion, 35% who say I really don’t have an opinion, right? It’s all right. So about 65% have an opinion. But if you look at of the
people who have an opinion, how many people think
it’s good or excellent? That’s about 80%, okay? Now let’s look at OER, and
the biggest thing you’ll see with OER is few people know about it. So the biggest portion is the green bar, where most faculty have
never heard of OER, it sounds like what does this term mean? And so 60% say I have no idea
what you’re talking about, my friend. But those who do have an opinion, 25 let’s say, and let’s
say five over here, so about 30% of the
40% who have an opinion think it’s good or excellent. In other words, that’s
a 75% approval rating relative to an 80% approval rating. In BC, research that we
did over the last year show that when you compare
people who’ve adopted OER in their classes, compare
them with people who have not, obviously, those who
have OER rate the quality as significantly higher, and that may be, that may
reflect disciplinary variation in the quality of OER. In some cases, OER are
produced by professional bodies that govern a particular
discipline, for example. But in other cases, you’re
just talking about the impact of experience and interacting
with these resources. The Open Textbook Library,
which is at the University of Minnesota, runs workshops for faculty throughout the United States. And in those workshops, they
invite faculty who attend to review an open textbook. If they do so, the institution
pays the faculty member an honorarium in support
of their review work. And what they find is
roughly 40% of faculty who review an open
textbook end up adopting an open textbook, which
is another revealing factor or insight. But again, these are just broad numbers. This is the faculty perspective. What do students think about OER? Lots of data, but I’ll
show you one example that comes from my own
classes and that of another instructor, a colleague
of Joe’s and I as well. And the different bars are
just the other instructor and myself. And so do you like the quality? Yes, they like the quality more broadly. What else do they like
about the open resources? The convenience, the portability. So very similar numbers
across these dimensions, so I’m lumping them together. This is an absolute no-brainer. Are you happy with the cost savings? Well, obviously, that’s a
ridiculous question to ask, although we had to ask that but
we know it’s gonna be a yes. But there’s two other questions
that are relevant here. How much do you typically spend? Get a sense of those numbers. And it shouldn’t surprise us, on average, about $150 is what we find in almost every survey
that we do with students. I should say though that I
think it’s particularly fitting that this graph resembles
someone extending their middle finger, don’t you? (audience chuckles) Just feels right somehow. But then also, at the end of the semester, after they’ve used the open textbooks and they’ve interacted with them, all right, now, end of the semester, you use this for four months, would you have preferred to pay and have a traditional textbook? It’s an important question
to ask them at the end. And overwhelmingly, no. There’s very, very few. And these are difficult numbers. Students do not typically
express their delight and satisfaction with traditional
textbooks to this degree. Again, there’s a bit of a
halo effect with the fact that it’s free, and that
halo effect shows up in course evaluations, where
they’re still writing about it. But not even course evaluations. There was an online survey
we ran in a number of classes throughout BC that have
adopted open textbooks, and here are some of the
comments that I see in there. What did you like? Some of them talk about the convenience, the immediate access, the portable access, the permanent access. Some of them talk about the
cost savings, of course, but this is the one that means
a lot to me as an instructor. Right? I would not have bought the
textbook for this course because it’s an elective. I would have possibly
walked away with a C, now I might actually get an A-. And this is a large number
of our students, of course. You think about curiosity-based learning and how many of us from
day one at university knew which discipline
we were going to pursue, what our major was gonna be,
what our career was gonna be, and how many of us fell in love
with a particular discipline somewhat by accident? The importance of
curiosity-based learning. So let’s look at efficacy, and there have been 13
peer-reviewed studies of the impact of open
educational resource adoption on educational outcomes. A number of them. Combined aggregated sample
of about 65,000 students, and every single one of those 13 studies has exactly the same thing. Different authors, different
subjects, different contexts, exactly the same result. In almost every case,
there is no difference in the performance of those
who’ve adopted open textbooks versus those who have been assigned traditional course materials. Where there is a difference,
and those few cases where there are differences,
the differences favor open textbook students, which
is amazing in some sense, but it shouldn’t surprise us. I do not mean to suggest
that open textbooks have some wonderful angelic
quality that somehow allows students to better, I truly believe it’s the issue of access and it’s those who wouldn’t have accessed those resources otherwise,
whose performance is elevating the group mean. That’s my belief anyway. But I’ll show you a couple
of examples of this, representative examples. One of the best studies I’ve seen so far in terms of its design is this one, which was published last year, quasi-experimental, of course, because you can’t randomly assign students to these different textbooks
within the same class. That will upset the
ones who have been asked to shell out $200, but you randomly assign sections. But what they did, at least
to ensure some equivalency of groups is they collected
data on about 10 different variables as covariates
and they used propensity score matching to ensure the
equivalency of these groups, essentially ensuring that
there’s no pre-existing differences between
these student populations before we look at outcomes. So this is across 10
institutions, 15 courses, 16,000 students, and
they found that students who had adopted OER or
had been assigned OER in place of traditional
materials were far more, or not far more likely,
they were most likely in 13 out of the 15 sections. There was no difference in
their performance at all. Where there was a difference,
those two sections favored the open educational resource students. There was no section in which the students with traditional materials
had lower withdrawal rates, right? So lower withdrawal rate
is an important thing. Being able to pass the
course with a C- or better, effectively being able to
use it as a prerequisite to go further in the discipline, you’re more likely to see that happen with the open textbook students
and more likely in fact than anything else to see no difference. There was only one course out of the 15 where the traditional textbook students were more likely to pass the
course with a C- or better. Similar picture with higher course grades. Most likely that there’s no difference. Where there is a difference,
it’s four to one, in favor of the open textbooks. And they’re also more
likely to be enrolled in more courses, the present
and the next semester, which suggests that some
of those cost savings are being channeled, and
it is affecting some things like program completion rates. This is not the only study that
speaks to those data though. The other study I’ll just
splash on the screen right now is one that we just finished as well. This was, because there
was no efficacy study of open textbooks that had
been done in Canada so far, and we were interested in the difference in educational context, and
we did much the same thing, we randomly assigned
sections, I recruited a bunch of instructors and we had them take traditional textbook
sections, paying whatever they would have normally, about $150; or open textbooks, which were free. But we also wanted to look at the format. So for half of the open textbook students, they received digital, free,
with the option to print, at home or professionally. And for the other half,
we gave them a print copy of the open textbook, with
the option to download, and we were interested
in whether they would sort of reach across
formats and how they would navigate that. The short story is that there
was almost no difference across all instructors and all exams in the performance of those
with different textbooks. The only case where there was a difference was the first exam at the
beginning of the semester or a month in any way, and
that’s where the traditional textbook students performed
significantly worse than those with the open textbooks. Again, I think this speaks
to the issue of access. So anyway, this is being prepared
for publication right now, but feel free to ask me
questions about this later on. This is the rubric that
I want to share with you that I think is useful to apply though. David White, he’s regarded quite widely as one of the fathers of open education, and it’s a bit washed out, but I like this rubric. It’s mad, sad, glad, rad. And on the y-axis, you’re
seeing the cost to students off instructional materials. And it should probably say 400 over here, but anyway, low cost to high
cost, or actually no cost down there. And over here, we’re looking
at the proportion of students who complete the course
with a C or better. Now the sad and glad quadrants are not that interesting, because they’re not surprising. And what I mean by that
is if you don’t buy course resources, if
you don’t spend anything and you do badly, that’s
sad, but it’s not surprising. If you spend money, buy the
resources and you do well, well, you’re glad in a sense, but it’s not surprising. But what they found, this
was a study I’m thinking took place at Mercy Community College where they converted an
entire math department, well, half of their sections
at that point anyway, from a traditional textbook for math with what’s it called? MyMathLab? It’s an online platform for quizzing. About $170, they shifted
to an open textbook with an open math testing platform. The cost to students
is about five dollars, and what they found was that when it was the traditional textbook
sections with that high cost, just under 50% of the
students pass the course with a C or better. But with the open
option, it was about 62%. That really is the difference
between mad and rad in this particular case. But this is the rubric I
would encourage you to apply when it comes to this question of how good could it be, because experience with
it changes perceptions, but one answer as well
to what is the impact or what is the quality of a resource is what is its efficacy? What is its impact on
educational outcomes? And I suspect, you know, woven into all of this
picture and how we interpret this picture are our own assumptions about all of my students have the
course materials, of course, I listed it in my syllabus. Right. The second assumption
being, all of my students who have the course
materials are vigorously, routinely reading the course resources, and those are fanciful ideas
that we like to play with, of course. So anyway, at this point,
I certainly feel like open textbooks in particular,
but OER more broadly represent a bit of a
win-win-win situation. For students, this is a
win and it’s a no-brainer. In terms of the cost savings? Sure. In terms of the access, that’s immediate, that’s permanent, that’s
flexible across formats that they have forever. And cost performance, which doesn’t suffer and perhaps can only improve. But for faculty, this is the exciting bit. Adaption, adaptation, updating, revising, remixing, being able to
contextualize these resources to suit your pedagogical goals, embedding within your
textbook or resources assignments and scaffolding
skill development within it, right? I think we all know how
textbook adoption works for large multisection courses. You start with 15 books, all of them really. And then you have a committee,
a wonderful committee, and the committee will shortlist six. And then you know, once you’re done, everyone sort of winds and grinds and then eventually, you
end up with the chosen one, and the chosen one is not
the one that’s clearly the exceptional leader, it’s the one that nobody blackballed, is the one you end up with, right? This is the one that
everyone can live with, is you end up with. Every textbook has imperfections. We think about areas that are week, depending on the expertise of the author, areas where they’ve overreached a bit, recent developments that
you’re gonna have to wait three years for the new
addition to incorporate. You can take out stuff, you can add stuff. You can embed your assignments, you can even, imagine this, involve your students
in the contextualization of these resources. Imagine course assignments
being the division in contextualization,
using local examples, local statistics and so on to illustrate certain phenomena. And then for institutions of course, there’s growing evidence
that it impacts enrollment, retention and even completion rates, and this is where the
institution as a whole stand quite a bit to gain. But even this is just OER. But I should say this as a
recovering textbook addict, I certainly think of myself as one. I don’t always assign a textbook, right? I often teach upper-level classes, I’m used to putting
together readings and other resources for areas that
are too niche of a topic to actually have a textbook
in the first place. So part of this is
questioning my own practice. But when I do assign a
textbook, it’s no question that I prefer it to be open. But even here, we’re just
talking about the start of innovation. There are institutions, for example, like Tidewater Community College, which have developed entire
programs that they called Textbook Z programs, because they have zero textbook costs. There’s a two-year business
administration program at Tidewater, for example, and it’s not the only
institution that’s doing this that’s based on zero textbooks. And since they’ve
launched it, they’ve seen a massive increase in demand
for seats in that program. It’s benefiting the institution, it’s benefiting the community. There is a loser, of
course, in all of this, and those are called publishers. But I wanna spend a little bit of time, about 10 minutes or so here at the end talking not just about OER anymore, but broadening the discussion
to talk about open pedagogy. And I wanna talk about assessment. This morning, Joe and I
had a great discussion with a broader reading group
in cognition and psychology about assessments and
how we usually design and implement assessments,
formative, summative. And of course, this is
certainly prevalent. I think it’s fair to say. Multiple choice testing in
particular, it’s ubiquitous, of course. And very often, of course, it’s the lowest common denominator, which is fact-based, not applied questions, derived directly from publisher-supplied test banks. That exists of course, and there’s a reason why that’s popular. And you can have, you
can design really good and powerful multiple-choice testing, multiple-choice questions in fact, that tap the higher echelons
of Bloom’s taxonomy. This is possible if you do it right. But at the same time,
I’m sure you’re thinking, well, we do much more than that. We assign lab reports and research presentations
and research essays. We definitely assign research essays. But again, I’m gonna suggest
that there’s interesting ways in which we can play
with pedagogy over here that allow it to be open, and allow it to be far more meaningful. David Wiley oddly refers to the use of traditional assignments
as disposable assignments, which is a bit pejorative, I’ll admit. But he’s talking about the number of hours that a student spends
working on an assignment. Let’s say a research essay. And when I say hours, I’m
being optimistic, of course. And they submit it to one person. Only one person is ever
going to read their work. And then as an instructor, we painstakingly provide the
student with feedback, right? Written, formative feedback. How many of the students in
the class pick up those essays that are marked? And of the students who
pick up those essays, how many of them are reading the comments as opposed to looking at
the grade and moving on? And when you put all of that together, the hours that they spend for one person and the hours that we
spend providing feedback, it’s almost like it’s a tremendous
waste of human potential, or at least it could be, it could be aligned in a different way. And this is what we’re talking
about, something different, right? We’ve all experienced this, I think. There’s nothing more annoying than this, having gone through the trouble. But what we’re talking about
is something that lives beyond the course. So imagine harnessing the
student’s energy, potential and even creativity and
having them produce resources for the commons, having them produce resources
that extend and live well beyond the course itself. And this is what might be
called a renewable assignment, but that others call the odd
term legacy assignment, right? It’s an odd term, I’ll admit, but it’s about thinking
differently about how we approach assessment in the first place, and how much meaning students
see in a particular assignment as they’re working their
way through a course. I’ll give you specific examples of this. One of my favorite examples is ChemWiki. This is a major initiative
out of the University of California Davis, where a research there, Delmar Larsen, received funding to do this. Think about Wikipedia for a moment, and think about how troubling
Wikipedia is to many faculty, and how many faculty
explicitly forbid students from citing articles in Wikipedia because of perceived unreliability. Now think about what
they’re doing over here. Students as course
assignments are writing, updating, revising and editing
articles, wiki articles related to not just
chemistry but a variety of STEM disciplines. But those articles do not go online. Those are vetted by graduate students, and those articles in
turn are vetted by a big faculty board that’s international. And it’s only after it goes
through multiple layers of vetting and revision
and faculty approval that it goes live. So it cannot be edited by just anybody. And you have this massive encyclopedic amount of information about
all of the STEM disciplines that now live in STEM wiki,
which includes ChemWiki, of course. Dozens of institutions are now using this as their textbook for the course. It’s updated as quickly as you need, if there’s a new, breaking
development within the field. It’s customizable. There are learning analytics
that you can draw on when students login. You’re able to see what
proportion of our student body in this particular class is
accessing the required readings for this exam for the first
time, 24 hours before the exam, for example. And you can look at course
design and reinventing that on the basis of this information. But you can add to it. And for students, it’s really
deeply meaningful work. At this point, amazingly,
ChemWiki is the most visited chemistry website in the world, and it’s been built by students. It’s astonishing, meaningful work. This is open pedagogy. And of course, this happens
with Wikipedia as well. In psychology, we have a big organization called the Association
for Psychological Science, and for many years now,
they’ve been pioneering this Wikipedia initiative, where there are a lot
of psychology articles, they are viewed quite a bit, but only about 2/3 of
them have gone through Wikipedia’s version of peer assessment, which is not particularly stringent. And even of those, only 9%
have good article status, which, again, speaks to the
unreliability of Wikipedia and in fact, confirms our fears. But APS decided to try
and address the problem instead of whining about it. And so we have not just in psychology, but in fact in a range
of other disciplines, instructors embedding within their courses assignments that involve
the updating and revision and improvement of
articles related to their particular discipline. It’s extremely popular, right? You think about the learning
outcomes that are involved over here, and absolutely,
you can look at these. Many of these are traditional outcomes, but many of these assignments allow for the development of skills
that you wouldn’t normally be able to do, or at least
not easily implement anyway when it comes to experiencing
or the peer review process, enhancing or helping teach
them digital literacy skills. And I mentioned that because people use this
digital natives phrase all the time, and I can’t
even tell you how much this annoys me because in practice, I’m far more digitally savvy
than many of my students, and I think that’s a false
assumption in many cases. There’s a lot of
scaffolding and instruction that’s required. And in some cases, this is
an opportunity to do that for them. But especially the last one, being able to communicate complex ideas within your discipline
for a public audience, for a general audience. And for the majority of our
students who do not go on to graduate school in our disciplines, that’s a key skill that
they’re gonna be able to take with them. So as I said, students like
it, instructors like it, here are some representative
comments from students who have participated. They’ve talked about the
value of the information that they’re presenting to someone. This is a student in Alberta. Another student in Toronto, feels awesome to take
information squirreled away behind paywalls and
share it with Wikipedia’s vast readership. They’re talking, of
course, about summarizing and interpreting research
that is traditionally hidden behind paywalls and providing that, providing those summaries
on Wikipedia’s websites. Some of them talk about being
encouraged by more than just the grade, something
bigger than themselves, something that lasts. And others say the same thing. And you don’t have to read all of this, but I do think that there’s
something tremendously humbling about the realization
that when I published a journal article in a scholarly journal that’s peer-reviewed, there
are far, far, far fewer people who will ever read my work than will read an article
that my student edited on Wikipedia. That’s slightly humbling. But it also offers some hope. So as I said, it is popular. There have been lots of
articles in Wikipedia that students have written,
lots of instructors that have participated. And almost every instructor, according to Wikipedia’s own survey, the Wikipedia Foundation,
who have participated in this initiative, indicate
that they would want to do this again. So it doesn’t appear to have
been quite as difficult. There’s other examples too. In psychology, we have a wonderful project called the NOBA Project, a group that provides OER
for introductory psychology, and they run an annual video competition where they ask students across the world to produce two or three-minute
instructional videos that provide overviews of
particular psychological theories or concepts, creative. And they do this. Of course, if they win,
all of these videos are uploaded online with an
open creative commons license. They receive recognition of course, and even a monetary award. Last year, this international
award had the first place go to two students at Simon
Fraser University in BC. The other prices went to
students at Ohio State and in India and Singapore. It’s tremendous. But now think about these
students because now, instructors across the
world are actually using this video as part of
their course materials. Instructors are using
work built by students. And you think about the
amount of pride and investment in this work. They care about it more. They see the meaning of it more. And in some cases, it could be
something different as well. Imagine, for example,
asking your students, I tried to do this, I
copied this assignment, which is an Action Teaching award winner from Social Psychology Network, where they suggested getting your student who have this budding
expertise in your discipline to share it with the broader community by writing and publishing op eds, right? Take your knowledge and bring it to bear on a social problem and
share it with the community in this fashion. And again, the skill
development that’s involved in writing and getting an op ed published? Beyond the pride, beyond
the fact that this is part of an electronic
portfolio of your academic work is quite tremendous. So really, for me, it’s not
that traditional assessments are necessarily bad, I
look at this as again, additional layers, new options and something that
allows us as instructors but also students to unleash a layer of creativity
that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to do so easily. In many ways, I view
assessments as vehicles, as airplanes, if you will, right? Because they have to
transport our students from where they are now
to where they will go by the end of the term, by
the end of the assignment, at least in terms of skill
development or otherwise, knowledge. But in many ways, I think when I stick to traditional assessments
and particularly, if I imagine a course
that’s based entirely, solely, uniformly, on
multiple-choice testing, it very much feels like taking an airplane and choosing to drive it down the highway, because you can do that. People are gonna look at you funny, but you’re really wasting its potential. You’re wasting the potential
of what the assignment is capable of when it’s
designed and capable of so much more than simply
driving it down the highway. So if all of this talk of
open educational resources and open pedagogy sounds familiar, it may be because of the
pervasiveness of an increasing popularity of open science practices. This is happening more and
more for different reasons, for reasons that have to
do with accountability and trying to further the
process of science itself. So you have now the drive for researchers to share openly their hypotheses
and their research plans before they collect their data, to prevent data fraud and
fabrication, for example. And you have professional
journals, leading journals, assigning digital badges for
researchers who do just that. Then of course you design your research, you have your questionnaires,
your instruments, and there’s a drive to share
research materials openly, and badges for that to
enable replication efforts and enhance the reproducibility of results within your discipline. Then of course you collect your data, and there’s a drive to share
data openly, once again, to guard against malpractice, but also to help science
move forward faster. We analyze the data, but now increasingly, moving away from proprietary
overpriced platforms like SPSS to platforms like R or JASP, which are now, in my field,
becoming more the standard. Then we look to publish, and there are big mainstream
journals that are looking very seriously and piloting
an open peer review and not double-blind the
names being attached. And then of course, open
access publishing itself. Not in (mumbles) journals but in high profile journals as well. And we’re slowly starting
to realize that it is in fact true, that
articles that are published in the open are in fact much more likely to be cited as well. It’s extraordinary why
we’ve allowed for so long the combination of public funding, whether it’s from
tri-council or elsewhere, together with volunteer work
provided by peer reviewers as academics to effectively
produce record profits for Elsevier. None of this makes sense, and it’s one of these
assumptions that we’ve needed to practice for an old
question for a very long time. So this is where I’m at quite literally. Mc is interesting. I mean, I’ve had a fascinating day, where one of the places
I got to visit today really, for me, brought home how innovative this can be, this place can be. We were in the live lab earlier, which just blew my mind. If you’ve never been in there, heavens, it’s astonishing the capabilities of how technology can allow
and unleash innovation and research and scholarship, but also in teaching. It’s extraordinary. And when I think about
open educational practices more broadly, I do think about
social justice, absolutely. And I think that’s deeply important. But I do think about
academic freedom as well, and I think about pedagogical
innovation as well. I think for all of those reasons, I think McMaster in particular, as this movement grows
within Ontario and it spreads from the west to the east, there is a bit of a vacuum
when it comes to leadership in the east of Canada, at
least with these practices; but there’s a growing
community of interest. And I would hope that whether it’s OER or open pedagogy or open science even, that you see some merit and
you see some possibilities of where you might expand
and engage your curiosity and really allow your
students to flourish as well along the way. So thank you for your attention. (applause)

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