For many City Tech students, the high cost of textbooks may be an insurmountable obstacle. Students may not register–or may end up withdrawing or failing classes–because they cannot afford required materials. City Tech Faculty can reduce financial strain on students by designing their courses around Open Educational Resources (OERs).
Open Educational Resources are freely accessible teaching, learning, and research materials. Traditionally, textbooks are published under copyright, with strict limitations. But the OER model is more flexible; it uses Creative Commons licenses that allows educators to retain, reuse, revise, remix, or redistribe (the 5Rs) educational resources.
The 5 Rs:
- Retain – make, own, and control a copy of the resource
- Reuse – use original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource
- Revise – edit, adapt, and modify copy of the resource
- Remix – combine original or revised copy of the resource with other existing material to create something new
- Redistribute – share copies of original, revised, or remixed copy of the resource with others.
City Tech’s OER program is a CUNY success story. Since its launch in 2015, City Tech librarians have collaborated with professors to create course materials through the City Tech OpenLab, leading to the development of free and open resources for classes across the curriculum. City Tech professors, with library support, have created outstanding low-cost, high-quality OERs for students.
Here are a few examples of OER materials created by faculty in our Social Science departments through the OER program.
For US History Since 1865, Dr. Ryan McMillen uses The American Yawp, augmented with other materials. Instructions for the class on Reconstruction asks students to: “Read Chapter 15, Reconstruction…the text of the Mississippi Black Codes…Jourdon Anderson Writes His Former Master, 1865…Pick out one part of the Codes that strikes you as problematic, in that its main justification would be to criminalize the activities of former slaves in defending their freedom, and analyze it.”
Professor Diana Mincyte’s Environmental Sociology OER “examines the complex interactions between societies and the natural environments on which they depend. Special emphasis is placed on the link between the deepening ecological crisis and the operation of the capitalist socio-economic system.” For the first class, to introduce the subject, she assigns: The environment and society. The perfect conditions for coronavirus to emerge, Pangolins and pandemics: The real source of this crisis is human, not animal and What is Deep Ecology.
Dr. Jinwon Kim’s Urban Sociology is a course that encourages students to explore issues in Downtown Brooklyn, from gentrification to the new economy, and to use the neighborhood as a laboratory. Dr. Kim created her OER with links to open access readings, videos, and photo collections. For Class 4, Modernity and Modern Cities, he asks students to, “First, read The era of industrialization…in order to learn more about the historical background of modern cities. Second, read Industrial Manchester, 1844 in The Condition of the Working-Class in England in 1844. Third, learn more about New York City context by reading Jacob Riis’ How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York…Watch The Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side. See Photos provided by Museum of the City of New York.”
Questions/comments? Contact Cailean Cooney, Assistant Professor, Library at: firstname.lastname@example.org.