Saturday, August 13, 2022

OER Lecture Materials - So Far They Don't Impress Me Much!

I mentioned a while back that the dept. is migrating to using Open Educational Resources (OER) texts this coming Fall. I'm all for it because the texts are quite reasonable and it will save the students a lot of money when their textbooks are free.

I'll be teaching two different courses that use to different OER texts out of OpenStax. I'm so freaking glad that I looked at the so-called lecture materials that accompanied each of these texts early this month because I would have been in a panic mode if I were to start preparing just 2 weeks before classes start! This is because the PowerPoint lecture materials are nothing more than a collection of the figures from the texts. That's it!

My first reaction when I first opened them was "What the......?"

Then blood drained from my face because I realized that I had to produce the lecture notes from scratch for both classes! And I had 3 weeks to do that!

Now you could tell me that I can just copy the lecture presentations from the same course that I had taught previously. True, but I want to stick with the content of the texts that the students will be using, especially in going over the same examples, using the same notations and format, etc. I want to use the same symbols for the various quantities that we will be using, so that the lecture presentation is consistent with the text. So I can't just copy old lecture notes verbatim, and I certain have to change the examples to match the examples in the text.

But even that is not that easy. My PowerPoint presentations often have links, animation, and other interactive stuff that are specific to that text and course. We were using Pearson's Mastering Physics, and I used quite a number of their videos to illustrate various physics principles. I can't use that anymore because those are copyrighted to Pearson and to be used only with their material. This means that I have to redo the animation and find new videos to include in the lecture presentation.

I did a Google search online to see if there are lecture notes using these two textbooks. There are, but all the ones that I have encountered so far are in PDF, meaning that I could not modify them to suit my needs.

Ugh! This semester is going to be a nightmare! I hate not already be prepared by this time!

This is why you haven't seen a lot of blog posts from me these past few weeks. Sigh....



D Northem said...

How's school going this semester?

ZapperZ said...

Ugh! Horrible! I feel as if I'm always behind each week and playing catch up.

The problem is that, which I've found lecture notes using the OER texts that I'm using, none of them are up to my "standards". My Powerpoint lecture notes are quite extensive. I include examples, detailed problem-solving techniques, etc. And I have lots of animation to get the students to focus on specific parts of the viewgraphs. So it isn't just a simple figure and I then use the board to explain it. I try to make my lecture notes as detailed and as stand-alone as possible.

It was an enormous advantage to have that type of lecture notes when we went remote, because they can already be used for self-study by the students. So I try to make my lectures notes "remote-proof". This is what is missing from all the lecture notes using the OER texts that I'm using. It means that I have to do all this from scratch, which is why I'm all stressed out this semester.

Ugh. I can't wait for this to be over already.


D Northem said...

I’m sorry. I’ve taken a position at a new school part time and I’m behind all the time too. I’ve taught 3 new courses in three semesters including the summer. I’m not using OER, but my students in my graduate class don’t crack the book in whatever form they have.

My classes are not remote proof, I use the board way too much filing in the details. I used a set of slides from the publisher this past summer for a class. They were at least 3 versions behind in PowerPoint and the equations didn’t grandly, so I printed them out, fixed them by hand and scanned them in to post. It was painful to do that every week. If I had to go remote, I’d go back to the publisher slides and try to get them straightened out. It doesn’t help that I don’t care for the book, but I’m changing next semester, and will have the student base split over two sections as opposed to a graduate class with 45 or more students. I’m also finding out that the students are not nearly prepays they should be and a grad math methods class in engineering is basically a sophomore level course.