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Development of A Circuit Analysis Course With Open Educational Resources and Assessment

It was reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics that from January 2006 to July 2016, the Consumer Price Index for college tuition and fees increased 63 percent, compared with an increase of 21 percent for all items. Over that period, consumer prices for college textbooks increased 88 percent and housing at school (excluding board) increased 51 percent. [1] Similar studies with the focus shifted to textbook affordability and acquisition were conducted within our state. All the state’s public higher education institutions participated in the studies. In their published report titled “Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey” [2], it states that while the students were reducing their textbook costs by a variety of means but the cost of textbooks continues to negatively impact student access, success, and completion. The findings suggest that the cost of textbooks was negatively impacting student access to required materials and learning. Effort has been made at our local university to support and incentivize faculty to adopt high-quality Open Educational Resources (OER) instead of traditional and expensive textbooks. The main objectives of the effort include reducing cost of attendance by adopting free or very low cost instructional materials. OER are teaching and learning materials in the public domain or released under a license for free access. The first course in the electrical engineering department that we attempted with OER materials is the circuit analysis course. It is the first junior level core course that covers basic analysis of electrical circuits. Topics include voltage, current, power, energy, resistance, basic laws, circuit theorems, operational amplifiers, capacitance, inductance, transient analysis as well as phasors, impedances and admittances for sinusoidal steady-state analysis. The course content and instruction for that course were re-structured into eight meaningful modules. Each module describes in sufficient details its learning objectives, topics, assignments, and solutions. The next step was to search for OER materials to support the learning objectives and topics of the modules. There were many open materials such as text, videos, interactive online materials that appeared matching at first glance. Further reading and viewing of these materials revealed that many were not matching the level of the course. It took a substantial period to sort out and to select what were the applicable OER materials for the course. The selected OER materials came with no homework problems and solutions. Additional time was spent on looking for matching homework problems, to work out the solutions by hand, and to document the solutions. The last step was to enter all the materials above into the learning management system. The circuit analysis course implemented with OER materials was first taught in summer 2018. The students accessed the free OER materials through the learning management system. Before, the students were required to purchase the textbook [3]. In that summer term those students were not required to do so. The same OER course was offered again in summer 2019. Assessments were conducted to find out the usefulness of the OER materials. The assessments consisted of group discussion on the OER and exam scores. The details of the assessments will be described in the full paper. The finding was that the OER materials were helpful to the students in learning the new concepts and in preparing themselves for passing their exams. The total enrollment for the two summer semesters were 87. The cost of the textbook [3] used before the adoption of the OER materials was approximately $200. This effort of adopting OER materials saved the students a total of about $17,400.

[1] Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, College tuition and fees increase 63 percent since January 2006 on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2016/college-tuition-and-fees-increase-63-percent-since-january-2006.htm (visited August 25, 2020). [2] R. Donaldson, J. Opper, and E. Shen, “2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey,” Distance Learning and Student Services, Florida Virtual Campus, Tallahassee, FL, March 8, 2019. [3] C. Alexander and M. Sadiku, Fundamentals of Electric Circuits, 6th ed., McGraw

CHIU CHOI
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH FLORIDA
United States

 


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