The Open Education Consortium (OEC), a global network for open education, recently announced Adam Dastrup, geosciences coordinator for Salt Lake Community College, won OEC’s prestigious Open Geography award.
The Open Education Awards for Excellence, presented each year at the Open Education Global Conference, provide annual recognition to outstanding contributions in the Open Education community. These awards recognize distinctive Open Educational Resources, Open Projects & Initiatives, as well as exemplary leaders in Open Education worldwide.
In 2014, Dastrup started the Open Geography Education initiative as a way to provide educators with OER textbooks to students. “The philosophy of the initiative is to provide open resources, products and services to anybody interested in learning about the earth, its places and the relationships between people and their environments,” Dastrup says.
Currently, the OER textbooks are being used at two- and four-year institutions across the United States, and in over ten countries. Since the initiative began, students at SLCC have saved over $5 million in textbook costs. To view the textbooks at Open Geography Education, go to www.opengeography.org.
“A student’s learning experience within a course, including the textbook, should be included with student tuition and fees” says Dastrup. “That way, students are prepared on the first day of class and not waiting or worrying how they are going to pay for their textbooks.”
The OER textbooks are mobile friendly and multi-modal, with embedded videos to enhance the learning experience. The textbooks are continuously updated with current events that bring life to the subject matter. “Most students are not only grateful they do not have to pay for a textbook, but have stated they enjoy reading the material because the mobility allows them to study and watch the embedded videos on their smartphones,” Dastrup says. “The textbooks literally meet students where they are at.”