Associate Professor and Director, Waterloo Centre for German Studies

My OER projectProfessore James Skidmore.

Creating an open textbook for German 615.

What prompted you to become involved in OER?

The kinds of courses I teach don't have ready-made or obvious textbooks, so I've always had to curate materials, readings, videos, etc. Bringing these materials together, I wanted to make sure they contextualized in such a way that makes sense for my courses and my students. OER makes sense for me: it lets me share the things I've created freely and with a minimum of fuss. I also like that OER is more accessible: because it's free, it's available to students from day one of the course.

What excites you most about your OER project?

It's the ability to localize the learning - to create, adapt, or adjust materials that fit my needs and the needs of my students. With OER I can tailor the content to the specific context of my course.

A lot of instructors are hesitant about OER. Do you share those hesitations? How do you address them?

One hesitation that instructors often have is that OER will be inferior (when compared to commercial products), and I really don't understand that. I've never met a prof who thinks that the commercial textbook they're using is perfect: they're always augmenting the text through their teaching, which is as it should be. OER is sort of "augmentation writ large."

Can other instructors interested in OER reach out to you?

Yes, at

University of Waterloo

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