I have been thinking about making the change to OER for years. Literally. I have attended workshops and meetings, I have explored the internet, and I have spent many hours simply thinking about what this change would look like in my classes. Finally, I just decided to do it. I decided to dip my toe in OER by adopting for my two Developmental Psychology classes. I sat down to begin the presumably exhaustive process of finding the right textbook. On my first search I found the perfect resource. Could it really be that easy?
It really was that easy. OER is becoming more common and the resources more plentiful. A simple google search enabled me to find A Lifespan Development: A Psychological Perspective, by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French. This textbook was published in 2019 funded by a grant from the College of Lake County Foundation and supported by the Business and Social Sciences Division. Lally and Valentine-French are both psychology professors at the College of Lake County in Illinois. This simple google search enabled me to find a textbook that was the perfect fit for the structure of my course.
Historically, Developmental Psychology textbooks are extremely long. They must cover the physical, cognitive, emotional and social aspects of life from conception to death. That’s a lot of information! Most textbooks range from 16 to 19 chapters which is quite a challenge to squeeze into 16 weeks. Lally and Valentine-French’s textbook is 10 chapters, which fits perfectly into a 16 week semester allowing for exam days and projects. I feel like their textbook covers the important theories and topics in a thorough manner. I plan on using this textbook next year as well.
The best part of adopting OER has been the student response. I have had several students make a point of thanking me for offering a free resource for my class. Saving students money while offering a relevant, engaging, up-to date resource. That’s what it’s all about.