Reviewed by: Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges
Of interest to: Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students
Primary Theme: Teaching
Secondary Theme: Technology
The price of college textbooks has risen astronomically since 1980, making access to course materials a financial challenge for many students. In response, colleges and universities committed to access for all students are embracing Open Educational Resources (OERs) to lower textbook costs and increase participation in higher education. OERs are free online, educational resources that are licensed under creative commons licenses so that they can be retained, reused, revised, remixed, and/or redistributed. The use of OERs is expanding, and research has shown that in addition to cost-savings, classes using OERs have higher student retention and completion rates. Beyond the benefits for students, many instructors are also enthusiastically adopting OER resources for their courses as it allows faculty to customize and personalize course materials which contributes to a more engaging educational experience. Faculty developing new OERs can showcase their own research and make it available to a broader audience of students and colleagues in a more accessible and interactive form than traditional publications.
In light of this trend, the AAA section the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges released Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology (ISBN 978–1-931303–55–2), a peer-reviewed open access textbook for cultural anthropology courses in 2017. Now one year later, we propose this roundtable to reflect on our teaching with the “Perspectives” book and the development and use of OER resources in a range of anthropology courses. Participants in the roundtable have used OER resources in a variety of ways, including incorporating “Perspectives” into their courses, participating and leading faculty development efforts around OERs, and developing OERs either individually or through peer reviewed textbook development processes.
This roundtable will launch a dialog for sharing experiences on using and developing OERs for anthropology courses in a variety of settings. The roundtable will highlight successes, challenges, tools, and best practices regarding OERs. We will also ask what technologies and forms of media are best able to engage students today, and how is this current movement for OERs linked to the longer history in anthropology of engaging various publics through the use of mass media and now social media. The goal of this roundtable conversation is to promote the development and use of OERs and to strategize about how to share resources in an effort to improve accessibility, learning, and teaching in anthropology.