Open Access Materials for Intro Linguistics

When I changed the format of Intro Linguistics (Ling 1A03 and 1AA3) from a lecture + tutorial course to a blended format, I relied more heavily on the textbook than I had in previous years. The blended format relies on students preparing for class ahead of time, so that they’re prepared to work actively on exercises and data analysis in class. And, of course, one of the components of this before-class preparation is to read sections of the textbook.

The commercial textbook that I had assigned for several years reached the price of $147 in 2017, representing a real financial burden for many students. I discovered that fewer and fewer students even purchased the textbook, which had consequences for their learning. So when eCampusOntario offered a grant in to adapt existing materials into an OER (Open Educational Resource), I applied for the grant, with the support of the MacPherson Institute. We were awarded $15,000 in September 2017, with a due date for the final product of March 2018.

The grant paid for two staff from the MacPherson Institute, a Digital Media Specialist and an Instructional Designer, to provide technical and logistical support as I updated the materials from my blended class (and created some new ones!). We packaged these materials into an eBook, Essentials of Linguistics, which we published on McMaster’s Pressbooks site on March 16. We’re told that it will appear on eCampusOntario’s site some time in April.

Starting in May 2018, I’ll assign Essentials of Linguistics as the textbook for my Intro Linguistics courses, saving hundreds of students hundreds of dollars each year. This OER is not just free to my students — it is free for any instructor anywhere in Ontario or the world to adopt. And because it is an entirely open resource, its content is licensed under a Creative Common Attribution 4.0. International License; therefore, anyone is free to redistribute, revise, remix, and retain any of the parts of the OER.

Author: Catherine Anderson

Director of the Gender and Social Justice Program and Teaching Professor in Linguistics at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

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