Is it possible to use Open Educational Resources and other open education materials to replace student textbooks for an online college course? Find free content on the web, eliminating the need for students to buy textbooks? Yes! – at least for the course United States Government which I put to the test. I put myself up to the No
Textbook Challenge – to replace textbooks for a given General Education college three credit course as described in my last post. In this post, I’ll outline the context of the course, and the engaging, comprehensive and free instructional resources which I’ve incorporated into the online course delivered via Moodle (the learning management platform our college uses).
I use the Dick, Carey and Carey instructional model (consisting of 9 phases) for design and re-design of our online courses. There are nine phases in the model – though with the re-design we focus on phase 7 and 8, developing the instructional strategy and selecting the instructional materials.
Background: Course Objectives:
To put the course in perspective, the course is a survey course designed to introduce students to the institutions and processes of the American political system.
- Explain the basic concepts on which the American governmental system was based
- Describe the workings of the American governmental system
- Outline the process by which a bill becomes a law
- Explain the various civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution
- Describe the basic functions, organization, and powers of the Congress, the presidency, and the judiciary
Instructional materials are part of the Instructional Strategy and are essentially the content that supports the course objectives. Other materials may include materials (resources) such as, workbooks, textbooks, case studies, web resources, lecture notes, simulations etc. For this US Government course, we use pre-recorded video lectures that covers some of the course topics, delivered over 8 modules, and text books, (before the re-design).
The texts we replaced:
1) American Government, Brief Edition, 9th Ed. by James Q. Wilson – $76.73 (paper back), $69.06 (Kindle edition)
2) The Federalist Papers by Charles Kessler – $7.99
With: open content and web resources: – Free
The resources below are part of the instructional strategy – the instructor uses these as content to support learning objectives. Note that student application and synthesis comes through online forum discussions, group work, mini assignments, quizzes and essay assignments where the student applies the content. These sources are not the sole method of learning, it is instructor involvement and guidance that promotes meaningful and authentic learning.
ourdocuments.gov : This awesome site, features 100 milestone documents of American history presented by the National Archives. Best of all the site lets the user view and zoom in on the images of original documents, including all of the federalist papers, i.e. Federalist no. 10, as it appeared in the New York Daily Advertiser, November 22, 1787.
American Government: Topics:
I The Constitution of United States
The United States Constitution – Constitution Day Resources, Library of Congress
The Declaration of Independence – The History Channel – video
Constitution development & Principles: Video lesson: OER, US Government
Federalism: Video Lesson: OER:
Library of US Historical Documents: ourdocuments.gov
II Political Beliefs and Behaviors
Political Parties: ushistory.org
Interest Groups and their influence: other, list of select groups
Public Policy: ushistory.org
The Media and its Influence: Pew Research Center
Voting Behavior of the Public: other
III Institutions of the Government: Congress, Presidency, Bureaucracy and Courts
Electoral College – how it works: The Kahn Academy
Three Branches of Government: Harry Truman Library Resources
The Nature of Bureaucracy: OER video lesson
Legislative Simulation – http://www.legsim.org/
Presidential Election History: procon.org
The White House
US Senate: Live Stream of US Capitol
Glossary of Political Economic Terms:
This course used for this no textbook challenge was [very] conducive to open content. Not all courses will lend themselves to open and free content, though I firmly believe that with detailed and careful research, there is much content available on the web for free. I do want to reiterate, that the resources we listed do not stand on their own – the selection and choice of tools require careful pedagogical planning and development of learning activities and assessments. And, the final component of successful learning is instructor guidance and instruction. Check back in a few days for another post on other textbook options.