OER Grant Opportunity

The purpose of the grant, with funding provided by the ITEC Executive Committee, is to support faculty in the use, adaptation, or creation of Open Educational Resources. The goals of OER are to increase student access to rich course content, lower the cost of textbooks for students, and ultimately improve student learning. OER are openly licensed educational materials that are low- to no-cost to students. Priority will be given to projects for courses with traditionally high textbook costs and high enrollment.

Individuals, groups of faculty, or entire departments may submit proposals describing a project to:

  • Adopt an existing OER textbook or other OER (e.g., videos, simulations, etc.) and incorporate it into a course syllabus to reduce cost for students
  • Adapt existing OER to meet your instructional needs. This may include remixing existing OER content and creating new content to fill in gaps of current resources, creating supplemental content including lab manuals, assessments, lecture slides, etc.
  • Develop new OER to fit the needs of your class

2017-18 Grant Recipients

  • Peggy Beauregard Adjunct Professor, A&S Mathematics
  • Joanna Borucinska Associate Professor, A&S Biology
  • Donna Menhart Associate Professor of Ear Training & Director of Undergraduate Studies, The Hartt School
  • James McDonald Associate Professor, A&S Physics
  • Shirley Wang Assistant Professor of Management, Barney School of Business Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship
  • Brian Wells Assistant Professor, A&S Physics
Department: Academic and Contemporary Studies, Music Theory, The Hartt School

Title of Project: Sight-Singing Level I for Beginning Ear Training Study

Description of the project: The creation of a progressive sight-singing text using folk song materials.

Challenges of the project (and modifications made to original proposal as a result of challenges): Hmm. No challenges or modifications. I originally thought I would analyze music from all genres but ended up using just folk song melodies, but I didn’t consider that a challenge.

Sources you used, and how did you find them? I actually ended up using only one source: One Hundred Folk Songs of All Nations, edited by Granville Bantock and published by the Oliver Ditson Company of Philadelphia, PA in 1911 (distributed by the Theodore Presser Company). I found this source on the International Music Library Score Project (IMSLP), which is a site for public domain music.

Please describe your “final” product or progress towards your goal.  (How will it be used? Under what licenses will you publish?)  The final product is a progressively sequenced sight-singing text using folk song melodies from 28 nations. The original intention is for TH 120, Elementary Ear Training I at the Hartt School, but this can definitely be used for middle school and high school choirs. I am working with Jillian to distribute the final version to make it accessible to educators outside of Hartt. I am using the CC-BY—SA 4.0 license.

Please share your thoughts about OER.  Strengths? Weaknesses? Would you adopt/adapt/create more OER in the future? I have thoroughly enjoyed this process! I never would have predicted the joy this research would bring, as I analyzed unfamiliar and some familiar folk songs, learned about the cultures represented, and continually worked towards the music literacy of students at the Hartt School. My research has already allowed me to analyze examples for TH 121, TH 220, and TH 221, and I intend to continue working on this project for all levels of ear training, including graduate levels, at Hartt.

Department: Mathematics, A&S

Title of Project: M116 Contemporary Mathematics OER for Graph Theory

Description of the project: To adapt OER in graph theory (discrete math) to be used as a unit in M116 Contemporary Mathematics. This course is taught to non-STEM majors (mostly Art and Hartt students).

Challenges of the project (and modifications made to original proposal as a result of challenges): I found very little material on discrete topics (and graph theory) that is level-appropriate for M116. Many resources used more complicated mathematics than I wanted to incorporate in a class for non-STEM majors. Others had videos that were just too long and boring. I had some trouble discerning what materials I could use and what had more restrictive licenses.  My project started as a project in game theory, but it was too complicated, so I switched to graph theory. My original thought was to use the material I found as intact as I could, but nothing was perfect, so my adapt project turned out to be an adopt/adapt/create project.

Sources you used, and how did you find them? The Reference LIbrarians were immensely helpful in sending me resources to consider.  Both resources below were sent, although I found the second one myself, as well, while doing a search. When searching, I picked keywords that I thought would be helpful:  discrete mathematics, graph theory, Hamilton, Euler, trees, high school discrete topics, liberal arts mathematics, etc. Of the resources below, one chapter of each was relevant to my project.

  • College Mathematics for Everyday Life, Kathryn Kozak et al (Coconino Community College), chapter 6-Graph Theory
  • Math in Society, David Lippman

Please describe your “final” product or progress towards your goal.  (How will it be used? Under what licenses will you publish?)  My working project (never final, right??) is a set of slides that I have written that M116 instructors at UHart can use in coordination with the chapters of the OER textbooks above to teach graph theory.  There are four sets of slides which cover four different sections of graph theory that we traditionally teach in M116. These make up one unit, or a little more than one fourth (5 weeks) of the course. They are:

  • Graph Theory and Management Science
  • Fleury’s Algorithm and Eulerizing
  • Hamilton Graphs and Traveling Salesperson Problems
  • Networks and Spanning Trees

I will publish these under the licenses CC-BY-SA 4.0. Anyone will be able to use these slides alone or in coordination with the resources I used (above).

Please share your thoughts about OER.  Strengths? Weaknesses? Would you adopt/adapt/create more OER in the future? In theory, I love OER. To be able to build and share content with other educators around the world is exciting.  Collaborating on content that is improved as it is shared and modified by others is the most important goal of OER to me. It is a great way to gain insight, expand my own repertoire of examples and lessons and communicate. OER would help me grow, professionally.

Writing M116 completely as an OER course is challenging for many reasons. There is not a lot of OER content from which to draw, so I spent a lot of time constructing graphics, etc.  Also, M116 at U of H is taught largely by adjuncts, so we need to have a more complete package to hand them so that they can step into the course and teach it readily. The benefit of a textbook from a publisher is that it comes with so many supporting resources. OER implementation would be better for a course with more traditional content which is easier to find online.

I am developing a course for Hillyer, MAB 118 Mathematics for Elementary Teachers.  I will be exploring OER content to use for that course and anticipate there is more readily available material that will be easy to implement/adapt/adopt.