[D] Week 2 Discussion

Pick one of the two following blog posts to read and respond to:

Robin DeRosa’s My Open Textbook: Pedagogy and Practice

Rajiv Jhangiani’s Why have students answer questions when they can write them?

Did anything about the reading surprise you? Did any of the strategies or practices reflect what you already do in your classroom?

Post by Wednesday, 7/27

Respond to another person’s post by Friday, 7/29

7 thoughts on “[D] Week 2 Discussion

  1. Kannaki Bharali

    Robin DeRosa’s post is really useful and inspiring. I especially appreciate the articulation of the challenges and issues involved in moving towards open pedagogy. I do agree with the author that OER is free but hidden costs exist in its production. Making open textbooks is time-consuming. I am an adjunct professor, I don’t have the privilege to put in overtime. I would be interested in knowing about available funding for OER creation for adjunct faculty?
    I feel that instructors need to be tech-savvy and need to be updated with new pedagogy tools. I am glad to know from the post about Pressbooks. Though I don’t have basic WordPress experience I am comfortable playing around things. I am not sure if I can ask students to learn about WordPress to get involved in creating an open textbook.

    1. Michael Schoch (he/him/his) Post author

      Hi Kannaki,

      Nice to get to talk with you a bit today during the live session. I really appreciate your point about the time commitment and I hear you. I don’t think any of us should be heaping extra unpaid time on our schedules. DeRosa’s example is on the elaborate end, but I think your group and a few others mentioned some ideas for creating smaller, more manageable assignments today.

      I also didn’t have much WordPress experience at all until this summer, but the nice thing is that they have recently made it much easier to use on a basic level! (It still can be a pain though). If you go to your CUNY commons page, you should have the option to create a page of your own to experiment if you want.

    2. Bruce Shenitz (he/him/his)

      A number of folks raised the question of compensation and funding. Five CUNY adjuncts authored the following report: “The amount of labor we do for free” and other contradictions: a collective inquiry into the pedagogical choices of CUNY adjunct and graduate student instructors who taught with free of charge materials during the year 2020″


      The TLC does provide funding for larger OER projects.

    3. Kristin Englander


      Good day. I agree – based on the forums we have examined – it does seem that transitioning to Open Access is definitely an extremely time consuming task. But it does seem like, if you put the time and effort in place, it can be worth it in the long run… assuming that you teach the course(s) with a fair amount of frequency over the next couple years. I am an adjunct as well and agree that additional compensation in order to transition courses would be exceptionally helpful to encourage more faculty to more widely use OER.

  2. Kristin Englander

    I read both posts and found interesting elements to both. Robin DeRosa’s My Open Textbook was very helpful in detailing the step by step process as to how one can create their own textbook and some of the advantages and hardships of the process … both from the perspective of the faculty member, but also somewhat from the perspective of the student because she seemed to get a fair amount of student feedback on the process, including the 8 minute video clip she provided. While watching the clip, I was somewhat pleasantly surprised by how engaged and invested the students seemed to be in “fleshing out” the skeleton textbook that she had initially made. It made me think about how we can/should try to get students to “buy in” to the Open Access learning process. I think some students would be very interested in participating in this practice, but it is important that they be fully informed/notified that the course will be different than a typical class from the time of registration. I think perhaps it makes sense to require students to participate in one Open access learning course in order to graduate – but the registrar (as well as other interested parties) needs to clarify to students how the Open access course they are register for differs in pedagogy from their standard course.
    As for Rajiv Jhangiani’s process of having students write questions – In theory, I think this process can be helpful to students in that they are learning skills that they may not traditionally have utilized. For example, they may synthesize the materials better if they are put in the position where they have to develop clear and concise questions. I am a little concerned about cheating and whether the students would perhaps share the questions with students who take the course in subsequent semesters. It sounds like Dr. Jhangiani collected so many questions from students that he/she would only be using a handful of those collected during future exams. I have somewhat mixed feelings as to whether this would work – but, once again, if you get students to ‘buy into’ the process it could be very helpful to the instructor.
    So while I have not utilized these processes in full for the same purposes as stated, I did somewhat use an abridged version of the questions process but for the Blackboard discussion board, not for exam questions. I have previously mentioned how I had students be discussion leaders … for the first couple semesters that I did it, the assigned discussion leader for the readings was supposed to provide me with approximately 5 questions for the discussion board for their designated week. I would have the students email their questions to me for approval first – I would edit them as needed and then instruct them to copy and paste and post them. I did this for a couple semesters, but I ended up having to spend a ton of time chasing down students for their questions and editing them heavily because students struggled to craft opinion based discussion questions. The process took up a lot of time and sometimes it meant the discussion board was delayed because students didn’t promptly respond. So after a couple semesters, I just started to use the questions developed from previous semesters, rather than asking students to craft their own each semester.

    1. Michael Schoch (he/him/his) Post author

      Hi Kristin,

      Wow, so it sounds like you have actually already piloted and completed an OER assignment in a class! When you wrote “So after a couple semesters, I just started to use the questions developed from previous semesters, rather than asking students to craft their own each semester,” that sounds like a way to use open pedagogy to save time down the road.

      However, I get your point that up until you had those questions, you had to spend EXTRA time chasing down students. It sounds like in your case it was a trade-off–you spent more time initially and then hopefully you spent a little less time once you had a pool of questions.

      I hear you about cheating with question banks as well. I guess it depends on what the questions will be used for. I heard a few instructors during the last seminar say that they had students use the question banks as a way to review and prepare for major papers, but not as material for an actual test. I haven’t tried it myself, but it’s an idea.

  3. Kristin Englander


    Good day. Yes, initially the plan was to have students create new questions each and every semester to help include students in the discussion board process. But one semester, I had a significantly heavier course load and was teaching a challenging new course for the first time, and knew that I wouldn’t be able to “chase down” students for discussion questions due to time constraints, so I used the recycled questions instead. So unfortunately it was more out of desperation, rather than unique pedagogy per se.


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