css.php
Featured

Final Reflection

Your final reflection will be a public blog post. Below are instructions on how to create a post:

Create a title for your post and answer these questions in 250 words or less:

  1. Reflecting back on our work this semester, in what ways are textbooks a challenge for students? It might be helpful to review The Textbook Manifesto and your initial discussion board post about it.
  2. What is one way OER addresses these challenges? What is one way OER fails to address them?
  3. Should students evaluate textbooks as part of their regular classwork/education? Why or why not?
  4. Imagine your are a professor choosing a textbook for your class. What are three important ideas to consider when selecting a textbook for students?
  5. What is the most important thing you learned from this seminar?

Final OER Seminar Reflection

  1. Textbooks are challenging for students because they are expensive and heavy to carry around all day in school. Also, throughout the semester the book is barely being used.
  2. One way OER addresses these challenges is cutting back on the prices of textbooks. One way they failed is that we still have to carry heavy textbooks around in school.
  3. Yes we should give evaluation on textbooks for the same reason we evaluate professors at the end of the semester. To give feedbacks and to understand what is working and what is not working. To help us with our competency and to prepare the next students who are planning on using the textbook.
  4. If I was a professor I will think about the price of the textbook, the edition of the textbook and lots of practice tests and quizzes within the textbook.
  5. One important thing I learned about this seminar is that we have a voice to change the way textbooks are being used and sold, and it starts with the people in this seminar.

Final Thoughts on OER

 

  1. Reflecting back on our work this semester, in what ways are textbooks a challenge for students? 

Textbooks are obviously first and foremost a financial challenge for students. Additionally, nothing is more painful than spending more than $200 on a required textbook than a professor that never references it, requires reading or homework from it, and teaches differently than the way the material is being presented in the textbook. Also, realistically many students who struggle financially are on some form of financial aid, requiring students to be full–time. Full-time students have many classes and when each of these classes have a required textbook we literally can’t carry them all back and forth everyday let alone afford them. Textbooks are a challenge for students in classes where professors don’t work with the textbook material.

  1. What is one way OER addresses these challenges? What is one way OER fails to address them?

OER addresses these challenges by increasing awareness of open resource texts which can be obtained by students for little to no cost. OER fails to address the issues through its complete and utter lack of any marketing on campus at all. Never before this seminar did I even know this school participated in OER. As a thoroughly involved honors student, vice president of PTK, friend of HSAC students, friend to SGA, student who has a strong rapport with her professors and advisor, never did I hear of anyone mentioning OER or “zero cost textbook course”. If a student this involved in campus activities has no idea about it, who does? Get the word out there!! This is a very valuable resource, students are looking for this!

  1. Should students evaluate textbooks as part of their regular classwork/education? Why or why not?

Yes, because in doing so I look at textbooks differently and I pick out the material and texts which aid me in learning the subject matter the most. However, the downside is in evaluating a textbook you deem challenging to clarify the material yet it’s still a requirement for your class.

  1. Imagine your are a professor choosing a textbook for your class. What are three important ideas to consider when selecting a textbook for students?

I would want the textbook to be relevant to the course and my teaching style as well as to the level of understanding of my students. Beginner students shouldn’t be operating from an advanced level textbook without good reason. Clarity, I want the students to be able to understand the material thoroughly. If the information is simplified it can be understood by more diverse audiences (ex: students from all majors and levels). I would want the material to be current, and compiled from valid information in a well thought out and structured format. It should be a text that is inclusive of the diversity represented at CUNY.  Its authors, publishers, and in-text examples should represent that diversity as well.

  1. What is the most important thing you learned from this seminar?

The most important thing I learned from this seminar is to look at textbooks critically. Also, that CUNY has zero-cost textbook courses options (limited amount), which myself and all of my class friends were entirely unaware of. I also learned the different ways I learn from textbooks and the pedagogical aids that I look for and learn from. I was surprised at how much I really appreciated the chapter objectives, summaries, and the charts and figures supporting the explanations.

 

Final Reflection

  1. Reflecting back on our work this semester, in what ways are textbooks a challenge for students? It might be helpful to review The Textbook Manifesto and your initial discussion board post about it.

Without a doubt, the biggest challenge for students is the astronomical cost of textbooks. One has just finished paying a hefty tuition when, surprise, it’s immediately time to part with another small fortune for textbooks. It can be more aggravating if professors require the latest edition of a textbook, when the difference between one edition and the next is minute; they are virtually indistinguishable from one another. It’s just another evil of capitalism. I imagine the publishers/marketers are offering generous kickbacks to professors/departments for meeting certain sales quotas of their books.

  1. What is one way OER addresses these challenges? What is one way OER fails to address them?

OER makes the textbooks equitable and accessible to all, not just to those who have. Thanks to OER, textbooks the average student will not have to agonize over whether they should try to survive the course on Powerpoints alone or buy books they really can’t afford.

  1. Should students evaluate textbooks as part of their regular classwork/education? Why or why not?

Although it appears that that last thing on university administrators’ minds is students’ opinions, regular textbook evaluations should be implemented. Undoubtedly, some professors do care how students feel about their textbooks and why some students may not be performing as well as others (because they can’t afford the exorbitantly-priced textbook). Regular textbook evaluations just may help to reduce educational disparities to some degree.

  1. Imagine you are a professor choosing a textbook for your class. What are three important ideas to consider when selecting a textbook for students?

As a professor choosing a textbook for my class, I would consider the price firstly. After carefully pondering many different textbooks, I would certainly choose one of the more economical options. I also would choose a book that does not overburden the student with endless details. I have a book like that right now and I would love to tell the faculty how I feel about. Along the same line, I would choose a book that is not too large or heavy because they can also seem overwhelming to students. I would NOT constantly change the edition required for the class!

  1. What is the most important thing you learned from this seminar?

Learning about the OER initiative and getting a chance to evaluate textbooks has given me hope that people are actually advocating for students and want to improve their college experience by providing more relevant effective and affordable textbooks.

Final Reflection

1) Reflecting back on our work this semester, in what ways are textbooks a challenge for students? It might be helpful to review The Textbook Manifesto and your initial discussion board post about it.

Textbooks could be a challenge for students in two aspects. The first challenge is that the textbook may be too hard for a student to understand. It may not provide enough explanation or the way the author presents the concept is confusing. The second challenge is the price of the textbook. Even when a book is required or is so well written, the students may not want to buy a book that costs them so much.

2) What is one way OER addresses these challenges? What is one way OER fails to address them?

OER tries to make a textbook that has both quality and easy access for the students. Students can get a textbook that is interesting and easy to read and they don’t have to worry about paying for something that costs them too much.

I don’t think there is something that OER fails to address. There is just one limitation is that OER may not be popular to college yet. There are many textbooks that OER could provide. The question is are those textbooks really as good as the one that is currently used for class and could it be really effective in helping the students actually learn and be successful in the course?

3) Should students evaluate textbooks as part of their regular classwork/education? Why or why not?

Yes. Students should evaluate textbooks as part of their regular classwork/education. Because textbooks serve as a good tool to help students learn and be successful in the course. Selecting a good textbook to learn could benefit them a lot as compared to just keep reading a chosen or requied textbook that may be hard to read.

4) Imagine your are a professor choosing a textbook for your class. What are three important ideas to consider when selecting a textbook for students?

First, I want to make sure that the textbook is affordable to the students. As I know many students don’t buy the textbook because of the price.

Second, I want to make sure that the textbook is easy to read. As I have seen many students who read a concept of the book for several days but still could not understand and they need to search for extra help. That could waste so much of their time and they have a lot of things to do besides just studying.

Third, I want to make sure that the textbook has the most important concepts that need to be addressed. Students should get a textbook that is easy to read and affordable. But they should also need to actually learn about the course.

5) What is the most important thing you learned from this seminar?

I never actually question a book that is required. When the syllabus tells me to buy a book, I just try to get the book. Exams are mostly made based on the required textbook. If I do not get the required one, my grade may be suffered. And I just thought that the required textbook is the greatest among many choosen ones. When I get to the seminar, I realize my thinking could have been wrong. There are actually textbooks that could be written even better and they are much cheaper than the required textbook. I like the seminar as it listens to the students’ concern about textbook challenges and try to overcome it. The most important thing that I learn maybe that there could be textbooks that are better than the required one but are cheaper. Students should take an active role in choosing a textbook for their study. However, I think it may be hard at some points. Because I can only evaluate well if a textbook is good or not after I have finished the course. So it may be one limitation.

Final Reflection

  1. There are different situations where books can be a challenge. The first one is the perception of a book. I mean sometimes students before purchase a book, they judge and get conclusions by the first impression. If the book doesn’t satisfy the expectations of the reader and it is required for a semester, this can be a big challenge. Also, another tragic challenge is the price. Nowadays, most books are over the $200 and students cannot afford that amount of money. In addition, if the book doesn’t explain very well by using complex terms or not proper pedagogical aids is going to be complicated to understand it.
  2. Since this program begun, I’ve noticed how this program focused on those points where students needed to be heard. Every class, all students gave their opinion about all the problems related to books and the system education, and the stuff understood these problems. Overall, I feel this program addresses the most fundamental problems.
  3. Students should evaluate textbooks before start reading. Recognize every part of the book will allow the students to know more about every part of the book. In other words, see if the book has index, learning objectives, summary, glossary, and other pedagogical aids will help the student to go to the right place to understand a certain subject. Also, see the way how the book teach is important in order to understand the main subject.
  4. If I were a professor, I think the important elements to choose the best book is the price, the quality of content, and the access to internet.
  5. I learned a lot of subjects in this seminar. However, I think the most important thing is how fundamental is to analyze a book before reading or purchasing. Since the quality of the content is the essential part of the book, it’s necessary to see if the book make use of pedagogical aids and other elements that help the students to understand the different subjects of the book.

Final Review

Textbooks are challenges for students based on criteria of Price, Content, and Availability. The issue of price regarding textbooks is important to students, who already face many burdens while attending school. The price of textbooks varies widely, and some textbooks used for a single course can commonly go for $3-400. When this price is compounded with a lack of use, one can empathize with students bearing such expense to use a book once or twice. Another challenge for students is that of content, textbooks may have too much extraneous content, too little of the course relevant content or vice versa. Poor selection of textbooks can force students subject to flowery language or over complication of simple topics. Textbook availability is another consideration for students. As commercial textbook providers seem to release a new edition almost every year, the availability of used copies becomes almost nonexistent. This issue is exasperated when specialized or austere textbooks are considered. The failure of manufacturers to provide enough books to bookstores can also force students into purchasing from resellers at inflated prices.

OER addresses these challenges by trying to make textbooks an open resource, free for all students and instructors. OER textbooks are unique in that they are written by individuals or collectives and put online for free. There are a few issues with the state of OER at the moment. Currently no single central repository exists for OER textbooks, making comparison of textbooks hard to do. The inherent danger in the OER method is that the quality of the textbook could be lower than the quality of a commercially produced textbook. This danger could be mitigated through work of an instructor or other textbook selecting entity to do quality control when selecting textbooks for courses.

The question of whether students should evaluate textbooks as part of their regular classwork is an interesting one. While such evaluations are extremely insightful for textbook selectors, they should be one of many criteria used when evaluating materials for course selection. Students should not go out of their way to select certain textbooks for courses, but an evaluative survey for a textbook, like those done for courses, should be enough to provide insight for faculty.

If I were to select a textbook for a course, the most important things I would consider are the frequency of usage throughout the course, the ability of the content to convey the information I want the students to learn, and the price for students to purchase or borrow. In the best case, If I know that the textbook would be frequently used, I might encourage students use the prior edition in order to save money and give them access to a larger used market.

The most important thing I learned from the OER seminar, is that as students we all have different opinions on what makes a strong textbook, and there is no one right answer. But if the conversation stays open about what makes a strong text, and whether those can be provided as free resources, then academia will be well on its way to improving the use of textbooks as a tool.

 

OER reflection

In what ways are textbooks a challenge for students?

Of course the most commonly encountered challenge is the sky high prices of a lot of textbooks. Especially when these textbooks are absolutely required for class while the material could be learned just as well with cheaper resources. Another challenge for students may be determining if the textbook is really comprehensive in learning the entire material for class or just the professor’s version of the material that he/she thinks is sufficient for students to just pass the class. Lastly, every student learns material in different ways. Some are visual learner and some are okay with a lot of text, assigning one textbook that might not be suited to a large group of students may prove unhelpful to some students.

 

What is one way OER addresses these challenges? What is one way OER fails to address them?

One way OER addresses the price challenge by making a lot of useful educational resources available not only to students but to teachers as well. The teachers can assess these resources and may determine that a lot more students may perform better in class if all of them have access to the resources unhindered by finances. One way OER fails to address challenges is in terms of content. The content may not be comprehensive enough as it might be in higher prices textbooks because effort in making the content may be held back by the lack of financial reward

 

Should students evaluate textbooks as part of their regular classwork/education? Why or why not?

Yes, they should so that professors that eventually pick the textbooks for class take the perspective of students into account. Because professors are so familiar with the content already then they might not realize how hard a textbook may be for a beginner to interpret.

 

Imagine you are a professor choosing a textbook for your class. What are three important ideas to consider when selecting a textbook for students?

  1. Affordability- If the price is anything above a $100 for the textbook then a lot of students are going to have a hard time managing the expense. A consideration can be made if the text book is really good content wise and has a cheaper digital version available compared to the hard copy.
  2. The amount of detailed and relevant pictures in the textbook. Pictures make the book interesting and visually pleasing to read and they are also easier to retain and interpret. Colorful pictures as well as real life pictures can give a student’s mind a break from all the overwhelming text.
  3. How detailed the textbook is in terms of explaining the content. A lot of students may prefer books with simplistic and to the point ideas represented plainly. I believe that a student learns more and is able to apply the material if they are presented with examples, case studies and challenging concepts in a comprehensive manner.

What is the most important thing you learned from this seminar?

I learned about all the legal and financial aspect that goes into creating a text book such as funding and copyright. Taking all these into account, I realized that sometimes textbooks are not unnecessarily high priced. A lot of labor and equipment go into making these books in terms of intellect, printing and publishing costs, advertising costs etc. and the education we obtain in return may be worth the price.

Reflecting back on our work this semester, in what ways are textbooks a challenge for students?

Textbooks are a challenge for students in a way that they seem to be written for someone who already has some kind of prior knowledge and they automatically assume that the reader/student must be familiar with terminology, descriptions, and they tend proliferate knowledge by increasing the text volume and it feels as if they don’t make the book crazy big it wouldn’t be preferable  by schools. I  also don’t think  that the publishers would check and balance their books. Checking might be practiced by some other faculty and editors of their own, but don’t think that they get some kind of consultations of students or lay persons. So, my reviews throughout the semester and my prior knowledge and utilizing of the textbooks made me believe that the way textbooks are mostly formatted can be a barrier between the student/learner/seeker and the knowledge.

What is one way OER addresses these challenges? What is one way OER fails to address them?

OER addresses these challenges by utilizing the students who are in the end the real customers of the textbooks and they are the ones who can decide if the textbook is helpful in what ways.

One way the OER might be failing that  I am not sure how much OER has some kind of enforcement on utilizing textbooks and which ones would be fit for the appropriate levels, and how much a student for that specific class can make a nice blend of online sources in use. How much is the two way communications between the OER and the student/instructor(s)/faculties/departments open for productivity. Is this communication based on advise or on some kind of sanctions. Of course an instructor will claim that her/his textbook is the best, but what about the student’s opinion? The way the instructors were requiring the textbooks almost made me think that they might be taking some commissions from the sales.

Should students evaluate textbooks as part of their regular classwork/education? Why or why not?

Yes, definitely. Because in the end the student is the one who has first hand learning experience, not the instructor.

Imagine your are a professor choosing a textbook for your class. What are three important ideas to consider when selecting a textbook for students?

The most important one would be if the textbook addresses the level, especially for introductory courses. Whether the content fit for the group of students as a whole, not for a few individuals who had their way out of challenges who the rest of the students would be facing on a regular basis. Also simplicity is very important and less is more. If the book is pages long over a 100, I’d have my high hopes fall because what are the odds that we’d be retaining the pages of information in such a short period time. I see more and more textbooks and instructors are having hard time explaining topics simply and cannot stop thinking of “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” – Albert Einstein

What is the most important thing you learned from this seminar?

Textbooks matter that it can help us come over the challenges we experience during our educational journey or can be another challenge itself by causing us lose our motivation..

My Experience at OER – Reflection

  1. Well,  one of the first textbook challenges is certainly affordability (price), and then the coverage of materials which can be overly extensive to get frustrated by  just a glance at it, or relatively poor to get some questions hanging.  The another factor is legitimacy of the material – who are the authors of certain materials provided and what is their agenda: critical-thinking centered or fixed stymie thinking?

2. With all respect, I appreciated  OER`s approach of addressing technical and pedagogical aspects of textbooks. Via these inquiries, I believe that quality of textbooks might be amplified in long-term. Yet, I also think OER failed to address the learning aspects via textbooks. By this I mean, along with pedagogical and technical qualities, accentuation is also required to evaluate how textbooks are transmitting knowledge: did the student actually learn something from textbook except memorized parts?

3. From my perspective, textbooks reinforce learning processes and  academic performance, but don`t guarantee them. Therefore, it`s totally up to students whether to evaluate them as regular classwork  or  supportive learning material.

4. First – affordability to students: not every student has good financial situation to purchase an expensive book.

Second- relevancy of materials: Do materials covered in a textbook actually relevant to class` teachings.

Third – freshness of materials: updated materials with new findings make a textbook more valuable than old coverings.

5. I never paid attention that pedagogical and technical aspects of a textbook can correlate interest to textbook itself, and therefore to learn materials with more passion. So, appearance of the textbook also effects student`s will  and motivation to learn it, doesn`t it?  At the same level, I learned a lot about textbook publishing industry and its properties (i.e. copyright, creative commons etc.)

OER Seminar – Final reflection

  1. The textbooks can bring challenges to students by a mismatch between target students’ affordability and the price of the textbooks. Besides, entry-level students may find a textbook challenging and hard to navigate if the textbook uses sophisticated language to explain terms and concepts.
  2. By lowering the price of printed textbooks and providing free e-textbook and other online instructional resources, OER makes textbooks affordable. Also, students could have a free rein to choose the textbook that matches their levels and most effectively facilitates their understanding when they go through the OER textbook pool – and they can do it free of change.
  3. Although it is good to encourage students to evaluate the textbooks they use, and authors and publishers working on improving the quality of their textbooks could never acquire the readers and users’ point of view without asking students opinion, I don’t think students would have the time and motive to evaluate their textbook systematically. If the evaluation process is mandatory, the evaluation will be burdensome for students and it becomes less possible to expect thoughtfulness from students.
  4. If I were a professor choosing a textbook for students, the quality of its review questions, the examples it uses (whether they are updated and related to our daily life), and its clarity would be three of my major concerns.
  5. One of the most important things I learned during the OER seminar was the importance of a textbook’s visual design. If there are two books containing the same contents, most students would prefer the one with larger font size and more figures and tables.