ROSEBURG, Oregon – Dr. Mick Davis has been an instructor at Umpqua Community College (UCC) for the past six years. He teaches General Physics, General Physics with Calculus, and Water Resources Science. This past summer, he took on a very large project when he decided to write his own textbook. His goals were to make it easier for students to understand complex material, and to also offer them a more affordable option. He tackled these goals by creating an Open Educational Resource (OER) for one of his classes.
OERs, commonly called no-cost/low-cost course materials, are resources to save students money. The State of Oregon backed OERs by passing two House Bills with the primary goal of addressing textbook affordability. Textbooks can be expensive—costing between $50 and $300 each. According to UCC Reference Librarian Jennifer Lantrip, textbook costs have risen 812 percent since 1978. Even UCC Bookstore Manager Micque Shoemaker says she has talked to students who have to make choices on whether they will buy a book or eat.
Backed by plenty of data, Davis applied for an Open Oregon grant last year to create his OER called Body Physics: Motion to Metabolism. He was awarded the grant in June and worked through the summer creating the textbook.
“Writing a textbook is a lot of work and take a lot of time,” Davis said. “As the pieces come together near the end, it feels like when you complete a Sudoku (puzzle).”
Lantrip and Carol McGeehon, UCC’s Director of Library and Tutoring Services, assisted Davis in the writing process, along with help from family and friends. Davis says most importantly his wife supported him the entire way. He also gained insight from his own students by having them give feedback on the book and offering up things that could ultimately help improve student outcomes.
With the rough draft now complete, Davis continues to make improvements on his OER. He needs to complete a publication-ready version by July 1, 2019.
His advice to someone who is looking into creating their own OER is, “Look and see what is out there for you first. Take advantage of existing OERs during the creation process. You might find out it’s not even necessary to create your own.”
To learn more about Davis’ project, he will be presenting on his work Thursday, Jan. 24, 2019, at 3:30 p.m. The presentation will be held in Room 100 of the Bonnie J. Ford Health, Nursing, and Science Center on the main UCC campus.
Story includes contributions by:
About Umpqua Community College
Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.
Associate Professor, Science