Faculty-led OER Projects

2019 OER Support Grants

During the spring 2019 semester, the Boise State OER Group and the Office of the Provost invited faculty to apply for Open Educational Resource (OER) support grants. The grant funding is intended to encourage experimentation with OER—course materials that are free and openly licensed—at Boise State and grow our academic community’s awareness of how OER can complement or replace expensive teaching and learning resources. Over 30 competitive proposals from departments across campus were received.

2019 OER Support Grant Recipients

Academic Recovery and Success OER Pressbook: ACAD 102

Portrait of Chelsee Rohmiller

Portrait of Nico DiazChelsee Rohmiller, Academic Development and Recovery Advisor, and Nico Diaz, Academic Development and Recovery Advisor

Advising and Academic Support Center

Project Description:

We plan to fully substitute the primary textbook of the course and develop a Pressbook. The opportunity of developing a Pressbook creates a variety of benefits. First, we are able to develop our own content regarding the primary subjects of the class, including time management, goal setting, mindset, and study skills among others. Second, we will compile a series of articles to include with each corresponding chapter to reflect real-world scenarios and situations, helping students connect academic research with their own lives. Lastly, all instructors developed a variety of assignments, worksheets, and activities. We plan to include those in the Pressbook to compile all materials under one resource.

Project Impact:

  • 4 sections for both fall and spring semesters, 1 section for summer. 
  • 60 students per semester.
  • Reduce textbook costs for students.
  • Access to additional material to improve student learning.

Ancillary Materials for World Language Courses

GEM Course

Portrait of Kelly Arispe
Portrait of Amber Hoye

Kelly Arispe, Assistant Professor, and Amber Hoye, Director of World Languages Resource Center

Department of World Languages

Project Description:

This OER grant is both timely and essential for the success of a large-scale, co-authored collection of ancillary materials within the Department of World Languages. The collection, titled the “Pathways Language Repository”, will produce 500 polished and “classroom ready” materials for K-16 world language teachers, thereby impacting not only a significant number of GEM courses but also impacting world language teaching across the state of Idaho and beyond. While OER is an open and accessible platform for anyone, we are especially enthusiastic about supporting our growing network of K-16 world language teachers in the state of Idaho. Over the last five years, we’ve fostered a rapport with our concurrent enrollment instructors, College of Western Idaho world language partners and K-12 schools in the Treasure Valley. We believe this grant will be the catalyst necessary for closing a major gap in world language teaching at the state level by expanding our outreach and support to rural Idaho world language teachers.

Project Impact:

  • Materials created will be used in instructional activities in lower level conversation labs, totaling over 99 sections and 1700 students each semester.
  • These materials will also be freely available to Idaho’s K-16 language instructors.

Pathways OER Commons Group

Author Pressbook Textbook and Ancillary Materials for Spanish Courses: SPAN 300 and 302

Portrait of Carolina Viera

Portrait of Manuel GómezCarolina Viera, Assistant Professor, and Manuel Gómez, Lecturer

Department of World Languages

Project Description:

This grant will provide for the creation of a textbook and ancillary material for upper-division Spanish courses. The textbook for SPAN 300 is designed for a mixed class of advanced and bilingual students with a majority of Hispanic students. The course has a focus on developing advanced oral skills that allow students to present information in professional contexts. The textbook will provide interdisciplinary materials that further connect with students’ backgrounds and promote diversity and inclusion, strengthening the connection of Boise with the Hispanic community through project-based activities and service learning opportunities. The textbook will have units centered around student’s careers and interests to develop a professional use of Spanish. For SPAN 302 a set of ancillary materials was developed with a focus on grammar and composition at the intermediate level. These materials will be further developed into a Pressbook text and we plan to substitute the primary textbook of the course.

Project Impact:

  • Reduced cost of textbooks for students enrolled in upper-division Spanish courses.
  • Promotion of inclusion and diversity for first-generation students, CAMP students, TRIO students, and students requiring accommodations.
  • Provision of interdisciplinary activities and service-learning opportunities.

Create a Diverse Multi-Genre Oral History Archive for Use in Foundational Studies Courses, UF 200 & ENGL 100

Portrait of Tiffany Hitesman

Portrait of Cheryl OestreicherPortrait of Jill HeneyPortrait of Monica brownPortrait of Nicole CarrobisPortrait of Ben CroftTiffany Hitesman, Lecturer, Cheryl Oestreicher, Associate Professor and Head of Special Collections and Archives, Jill Heney, Lecturer, Monica Brown, OER Coordinator, Nicole Carrobis, Course Technologist, and Ben Croft, Learning Analyst.

Department of English and University Foundations

Project Description:

This grant will fund the creation of a diverse OER multi-genre oral history archivethat will be utilized to meet the course outcomes of UF 200, in addition to other Foundational Studies courses, by highlighting the  experiences of underrepresented groups from different Boise State communities. Building on the infrastructure of Shared Stories Lab, student researchers enrolled in Vertically Integrated Projects: Shared Stories Lab credit will invite and collect oral history archives, comprised of recorded interviews, and accompanying artifacts and documents such as narrative nonfiction, from Boise State faculty, students, staff, and alumni from underrepresented populations on campus. The purpose of Shared Stories Lab is to collect and share the stories of the Boise State community, with the goal of creating greater understanding and empathy.

Project Impact:

  • Supplement OER materials already in place in one ENGL 101 approach, and in two sections of UF 200. Explore options for expanding the use of this collection in other UF 200 sections as part of the experiential learning opportunity. 
  • The collection will provide a tool to expose students to the experiences of a diverse range of campus community members, will ask audiences to reflect on ethical considerations impacting different communities at Boise State, and can provide an opportunity for students from underrepresented backgrounds to hear stories that have some resemblance to their own.

Shared Stories Lab

Customize and Edit an OpenStax Textbook for General Chemistry Courses CHEM 111 and CHEM 112

GEM Course

Portrait of Chris Saunders
Portrait of Susan Shadle

Portrait of Kristy SligarPortrait of Katri SwansonPortrait of Nicole CornellPortrait of Henry CharlierChris Saunders, Clinical Assistant Professor, Susan Shadle, Professor, Kristine Sligar, Lecturer, Katri Swanson, General Chemistry Lab Instructor, Nicole Cornell, Chemistry Instructional Center Manager, and Henry Charlier, Associate Professor

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Project Description:

Using an OpenStax OER Chemistry textbook as a starting point, we will align shared learning objectives (a previous project that was completed by this group) with the text. This would include removing sections of the text that distract from our main objectives as well as writing new sections, problems, and examples that emphasize our learning objectives. Some sections of the text would be minimally impacted while we foresee other sections being substantially changed. New materials in regards to laboratory resources and general learning resources are also being considered for inclusion and new sections highlighting a more diverse and inclusive set of “scientist highlights” will also be included.

Project Impact:

  • Reduced course costs for 8 sections of CHEM 111 and 112 and 1000-1200 students each semester.
  • Greater synergy between the text and course learning objectives.
  • Increased student exposure to diverse and inclusive members of the scientific community.
    Sample Illustrations from General Chemistry 1 & 2 book

    Sample illustrations from Chemistry Pressbook

Boise State Chemistry 1 & 2 Pressbook

Customize and Edit Open Textbooks for United States History II: HIST 112

Portrait of Bob Reinhardt

Bob Reinhardt, Assistant Professor

Department of History

Project Description:

This grant will support a critical review of three different open textbooks that are available online and are currently used in the course to determine their viability for the classroom, identify problematic areas, and develop classroom activities for students. Textbook critiques (by faculty and students) will help create a syllabus that adopts the best and most appropriate sections of the three open textbooks. Some of the current problematic areas of the textbooks include: factually incorrect statements, outdated pedagogical techniques, unengaging prose, and  inadequate analytical depth. This grant will improve student learning and lower textbook costs for students participating in this course. Additionally, course materials will be more engaging and provide additional resources beyond the textbook. 

Project Impact:

  • Reduced cost for students enrolled in HIST 112 courses.
  • Shared use of materials among instructors.
  • Additional activities and resources to improve student learning.

Design and Develop an OER Text for ENGL 202: Introduction to Technical Communication

Portrait of Jennifer Mallette

Jennifer C. Mallette Assistant Professor, and Sherena Huntsman, Assistant Professor

Department of English

Project Description:

Students taking ENGL 202: Introduction to Technical Communication practice writing an array of workplace genres, presenting to a range of audiences, and working both individually and as a team. In this course, students are also exposed to theories from science and technology studies (STS). These theories are integral for contextualizing science and technology in culture, prompting students to think critically about individual and societal innovation and adoption of technology. Many technical communication textbooks do not match this critical approach to teaching skills and theory, which means we must draw from other materials to fill in gaps. To construct an OER textbook that meets these needs, we will make use of the instrumental writing elements of the OER Technical Writing by Allison Gross, Annemarie Hamlin, Billy Merck, Chris Rubio, Jodi Naas, Megan Savage, and Michele DeSilva and licensed under a Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Working with Boise State copyright librarians, we will strategically develop and incorporate open access chapters on rhetoric, ethics, science, and technology theory, accessibility design strategies, cultural rhetorics, and collaborative team building.

Project Impact:

  • Reduced course costs for up to 42 sections and 820 students each semester
  • The design of OER materials allows the program to better supplement their textbook with resources that are more current or forward-thinking. Doing so will better prepare students to write and speak with confidence in the changing workplace.

Educative Curriculum for Elementary Science Curriculum and Instruction, ED-CIFS 333

Portrait of Julianne Wenner

Julianne Wenner, Assistant Professor

Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Project Description:

Wenner will co-create with her students OER educative curriculum materials that will serve two purposes: 1) the creation of these materials will support students’ understanding of science content and best practices; 2) offering these materials through an OER database to Idaho’s inservice teachers will support all teachers – not just those who can afford the support. Educative curricula are materials that are informed by research and used to support teachers in learning more content, engage students in meaningful ways, and encourage thoughtful adaptation in future curricular design (Davis & Krajcik, 2005). Over time, Wenner will create a variety of exemplar units and lessons consistent with the tenets of educative curriculum.

Project Impact:

  • Provide awareness to pre-service teachers (24 this fall) of science education OERs that can support their instruction.
  • Support in-service teachers with high-quality, free curricular resources.

HUM 207- Introduction to the Humanities PressBook

GEM Course

Portrait of Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth Cook, Lecturer

Department of University Foundations

Project Description:

This grant will fund the creation of a digital Pressbook for HUM207- The Reformation to the Information Age, featuring OER materials for primary sources in the following historical periods: High Renaissance, Reformation, Counter Reformation and the Baroque, Enlightenment, NeoClassicism, Rococo, 19th Century Realism and Social Reform, Modernism, Postmodernism, and the 21st century. Primary sources need to be collected from the visual arts, philosophy, literature, music, historical texts and sacred texts. Cook will also write introductions for each historical period and for each primary source, select and explore themes and genres for students to use as guideposts, and write end of chapter highlights and study questions.

Project Impact:

  • Reduced course costs for two sections of HUM 207 and 100 students each semester.
  • Incorporation of artists, thinkers, and writers from underrepresented groups and cultures. 

MATH 153 & 254: Statistical Reasoning Course Redesign

GEM Course

Portrait of Kathrine Johnson

Kathrine Johnson, Clincial Associate Professor

Department of Mathematics

Project Description:

MATH 153 is a new course being developed for Fall 2019. Kathrine Johnson is working to design the course and align it with 2-3 OER texts or comprehensive resources to fit with in-class team-based activities and a low-cost online homework system. She is also working to find OER resources that align with MATH 254.

Project Impact:

  • Reduced textbook cost for all sections of Math 153 and 254; up to 450 students per semester.

OER Biology Lab Manual for BIOL 100: Concepts of Biology

GEM Course

Portrait of Alex Urquhart

Alex Urquhart, Lecturer

Department of Biological Sciences

Project Description:

This grant will provide for a Biology Lab Manual that will be used to reduce cost of BIOL191 – Biology 1: Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology course, improving student success.Previously, Alex authored the printed materials to be used in BIOL 191 laboratories, which initially led to reduced student costs. More recently, however, publication cost has increased. Currently, the course requires a published lab manual for use in laboratory sections. Since lab manuals are single-use publications, they cannot be purchased ‘used’. The goal of this project is to convert the lab material to be made available in the OER commons. Content and procedures can be easily adjusted to update procedures and research as opposed to seeking a publisher to continually update and revise printed lab manuals. This approach will lower the student costs of mandatory lab materials. Additionally, this project, along with other changes within the introductory biology courses may be expanded into additional courses and create additional resources to improve student outcomes.

Project Impact:

  • Reduced student cost per course. 
  • 10 labs per section, 24 students per course, 240 students per semester.
  • Accessibility for students who require educational accommodations.
  • Shared use of materials among instructors.

OER Library of Resources for First-Year Writing Courses, ENGL 101 & 102

GEM Course

Portrait of Heidi Estrem

Heidi Estrem, Professor and Director of First-Year Writing Program

Department of English

Project Description:

This grant will fund the creation of a PressBook textbook for ENGL 101 and ENGL 102, Boise State’s First-Year Writing Courses. While we have begun to collect OER resources for ENGL

101 and 102, we have not yet had opportunities to engage more instructors in collecting and reviewing additional OER (or low-cost) material in light of our new course outcomes. Doing so will enable more instructors to understand what is available and how they might integrate those materials into their courses in ways that not only save students money but also enhance the courses. It may also illuminate potential topics for program-generated materials in future years.

Project Impact:

  • Reduced course costs for English 101, Writing and Rhetoric I, and English 102, Writing and Rhetoric II students.
  • Course instructors will engage with course outcomes in a new way. 

OER Anthology for ED-LLC 101 Oral Communication as a 21st Century Literacy

GEM Course

Portrait of Esther Enright

Esther Enright, Assistant Professor

Department of Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Project Description:

This grant will fund the OER materials design component of a larger OER project – the design of a multi-section GEM course – ED-LLC 101 Oral Communication as a 21st Century Literacy. This new course will be designed using OER and Master Course approaches, and will be taught both online and face-to-face to ensure maximum student access. The Oral Communications course is a Foundations course in which students examine the central disciplinary concepts, skills, and tensions of oral communication from the unique perspective of literacy.

Project Impact:

  • Reduce the auxiliary costs of first-year courses for students.
  • Create direct access to all course materials for students.
  • Increase student engagement in course materials.
  • Facilitate communication between instructors and students.
  • Expand the boundaries of the instructional environment.

Organic Chemistry Lab Textbook: CHEM 308 & 310

Portrait of Joe Meredith

Joe Meredith, Clinical Assistant Professor

Department of Chemistry

Project Description:

An expensive print textbook was replaced with an OER textbook.  In the past many students never bought the textbook and their learning suffered.  The students in organic chemistry lab now all have access to the textbook, and can access it from anywhere.  New materials were created to supplement the OER text because it does not cover some topics that were presented in the previous textbook.

Project Impact:

  • Easier access for students requiring accommodations. 
  • Reduction of textbook costs for students.
  • Catering to student learning through creation of course materials.

View Textbook

Pressbook OER Anthology: THEA 230

Portrait of Teresa Focarile

Teresa Focarile, Adjunct Professor, Film and Creative Writing Coordinator for Adjunct, Concurrent Enrollment and Online Faculty Development, Center for Teaching and Learning 

Department of Theatre

Project Description:

The OER grant has been used to redesign THEA 230 Development I: Classical & Neo-Classical Forms, in an effort to support student success in the course. This class is required for all theatre majors and minors, and is only offered online. The cost of the previously required books combined was around $240. In past semesters, this cost was a burden for some students, causing them to either share the textbook or not access it all, which led to students not passing the course. The new OER textbook allows all students to access course material, anytime, anywhere.  The new approach to the course has also allowed for the creation of new assignments that ask students to create material that can appear in future versions of the textbook.

Project Impact:

  • 25 students in the fall, 10 in the summer. 
  • Students will have easier access to textbook material.
  • OER text provides new opportunities for course activities to better support student learning (such as students adding their own annotations to course content).
  • Lessen student costs to attend the course.
Cover of Theatre Pressbook

Development of Theatre 1: Classical-Neoclassical Forms Pressbook

Repository of Ancillary Materials for Introductory Biology Courses

GEM Course

Portrait of Emily Meredith

Portrait of Alex UrquhartJessie photoEmily Meredith, Clinical Assistant Professor, Jessie Sherburne, Lecturer, and Alex Urquhart, Lecturer

Department of Biology

Project Description:

This grant is supporting our mission to increase student success and reduce the financial burden of introductory biology courses. Dr. Meredith has previously implemented an OER textbook and free homework into her Introductory Biology courses. Our next goal has been to compile and improve free ancillary resources for introductory biology courses. We have developed numerous ancillary resources for multiple biology courses at Boise State (BIOL100, BIOL107, BIOL191, BIOL320). We are currently working to revise and distribute our material as OERs. Compiling our resources will allow us to determine which resources are missing, and enable future collaboration to create or identify additional resources to support student success. Our activities are active learning exercises that will make the classroom more engaging and effective for student learning.

Project Impact:

  • Reduced Course Costs for introductory biology students (BIOL191, BIOL100, BIOL107, BIOL320).
  • This compilation of ancillary materials for introductory level courses will broaden the scope of learning tools that students have access to for these courses. These materials will encourage students with all learning backgrounds (visual, kinesthetic, etc.) to get involved in and out of class.

Boise State Department of Biological Sciences OER Commons Group

2019 OER Support Grants Information

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