Linda Wang, professor in the math department, was recognized by the Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges of New Jersey (MATYCNJ) for her work in creating the free Open Educational Resources (OER) book used in Brookdale Community College’s MATH 021 classes.
Since the summer of 2017, students taking MATH 021, Introductory Algebra, have had access to the free OER ebook and have had the option of purchasing from the college’s bookstore a hard copy of the book for $10.25, the cost of printing the book.
This is a drastic reduction in cost when compared to traditional, commercial textbooks. “Student survey responses have recognized the amount of money they have saved and the ease of using the ebook online,” Wang said.
In addition to the amount of money the OER is saving students, it is also periodically updated. The latest edition was revised by co-creators of the book Wang and Barbara Tozzi, retired math department faculty, and was released in September 2019. It was revised after receiving suggestions and feedback from faculty who teach the course. “The ebook was designed so that it exactly follows the order of the Introductory Algebra course learning outcomes,” said Wang. “Instructors and students have commented that the ebook is easy to follow and includes many illustrative examples with solutions,” she said. Currently, the OER serves approximately 1,500 Brookdale students who take MATH 021 annually.
The OER book was created through the support of Dr. Matthew Reed, vice president for learning, and Dr. Anoop Ahluwalia, STEM Institute dean. Steven Chudnick, director of the Bankier Library, has supported and submitted the ebook to OER sharing sites. “The mathematics department is thrilled that this resource is now published and cataloged in the OER Commons digital library,” Wang said. The OER can be accessed by visiting https://www.oercommons.org/courses/introductory-algebra.
At the November 2 meeting of MATYCNJ, Wang received the Edfinity Award for Technology-Enabled Innovation in Improving Student Access to Quality Learning Resources. The award recognizes an educator who has made substantial efforts to further the cause of equitable access to high-quality homework and/or course materials in mathematics.