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Tuesday, November 10 • 6:00pm - 6:25pm
Tackling a Mammoth in Physics with the Help of Co-op Students

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First- and second-year physics and engineering students enrolled in classical mechanics (statics and dynamics) courses have long been burdened with the cost of commercial textbooks and homework systems. Not only has the financial cost to students in North America been astronomical, but both teaching and learning have been impacted. Since classical mechanics has not changed in centuries, open textbooks seem like an obvious solution, however existing options lack enough practice problems of the quality and complexity found in commercial textbooks. Practising problem-solving is essential to learning these topics, so large sets of problems are required (e.g. a typical textbook contains 3000+ unique problems). Creating quality mechanics problems is very time-consuming, however. Students and educators have been forced to pay dearly for commercial textbook problems without the ability to modify or reuse them.

In this session, participants will hear from students and educators taking on the challenge of creating OER to ultimately eliminate the need for commercial textbooks. The presenters will discuss the approach, lessons learned and the important collaboration both cross-institutionally and cross-jurisdictionally.

Since June 2020, more than 400 problems have been developed for the Open Problem Library (OPL) in the open homework system (OHS) WeBWorK (currently being piloted for release in 2021) and integrated into the MechanicsMap open textbook (http://mechanicsmap.psu.edu). The presenters will discuss the rationale behind choosing this OHS.

But did we mention that all of this work has taken place during the COVID-19 pandemic?! With government subsidies to hire co-op students plus funding through BCcampus, six co-op students were hired to develop problems with supervision from two faculty members. This opportunity for students to gain valuable experience, earn an income and work remotely has been pivotal to their education and development during this difficult time. 

The presenters will share the larger goals and next steps of the project and how others can get involved. We hope to demonstrate that, through collaboration, student involvement and creativity, the goal is achievable.

Learning Outcomes:
Participants will be able to consider and appreciate the:
-benefits of student participation in OER creation
-benefits of engagement in cross-institution and cross-jurisdiction collaboration
-use of open source platforms (open homework systems in particular) for OER development and learning
-phased approach that can be taken to accomplish larger goals
-lessons learned in embarking on a large scale, dynamic OER project

Live Q&A info:
On Twitter #mammothOER
Google sheet:  http://bitly.ws/ao8t

Speakers
avatar for Jennifer Kirkey

Jennifer Kirkey

Instructor, Douglas College
I have been teaching physics and astronomy for more than 30 years at the community college level. I do science outreach to elementary schools. I became an advocate for open textbooks about five years ago and am currently working on a project to make open physics and engineering problems... Read More →
avatar for Melanie Meyers

Melanie Meyers

Project Manager, BCcampus
I'm a Project Manager at BCcampus with responsibility for STEM and Business programs. My projects focus on developing Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) programs in British Columbia as well as other OER initiatives that work toward eliminating textbook costs for students and support faculty... Read More →
avatar for Agnes d'Entremont

Agnes d'Entremont

Associate Professor of Teaching, University of British Columbia
Dr. Agnes d’Entremont is an Associate Professor of Teaching in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UBC. She teaches courses in mechanics, including orthopaedic biomechanics and injury biomechanics. Her teaching-related interests include open educational resources (OER) and... Read More →


Tuesday November 10, 2020 6:00pm - 6:25pm EST
Concurrent 1
  Collaborations, Presentation