Faculty Stories – Dr. Wayne Riggs

Dr. Wayne Riggs is an Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Philosophy.  He has adopted an open textbook for teaching Logic.  


The following is a brief conversation about adopting an alternative textbook for teaching. 

Stacy Zemke: What areas do you teach in and in what course are you using an open textbook?
Wayne Riggs: I teach in the Philosophy Department and I regularly teach a course on symbolic logic. That is the course for which I am using an open textbook.

SZ: Why did you decide to switch to or try out an open textbook solution for your course?
WR: The main motivation is the high cost of commercial textbooks. I actually think there is an advantage to having a paper copy of most readings, including this textbook, so there is a disadvantage. But the students can get a printout of the text at a very reasonable price from the print shop if they are so inclined. I recommend that they do so.

SZ: What is the open textbook source or sources you are using for your class and what book/books did you replace?
WR: I have used probably a dozen different logic texts over the years. I am now using for all x, an open text written by P. D. Magnus.

SZ: How many students of yours have used this open solution (total across semesters).
WR: Approximately 60

SZ: What was your process for selecting/creating this open book?
WR: I did a Google search for open access logic texts. I found several options, looked at them all carefully, and selected Magnus’ text.

SZ: What are/were the challenges in changing to the open textbook – is it similar to adopting a new “traditional’ textbook for a course – or are there other challenges?
WR: There were no special challenges to adopting this textbook.

SZ:  How have your students responded to this open textbook?
WR: They seem to treat it the same way they have treated any other textbook I have ever used. I have not heard any complaints but I have heard a few students say they appreciated not having to buy an expensive text.

SZ: Will you continue to use this current open solution?
WR: Yes.

SZ:  Would you consider using an open source for other courses that you teach?
WR: Yes,  though I commonly use coursepacks of readings I have selected myself already.

SZ: What advice do you have for other faculty who are considering using alternative textbooks?
WR: Take the possibility of open access texts seriously. In my opinion, the cost of textbooks these days makes it worth taking the effort to at least look around for an open access alternative. In my experience, no text is perfect, so one always has to make certain compromises. If an open access text constitutes a compromise in terms of content, at least there are compensatory advantages that might make it worth the switch.


Image source – http://faculty-staff.ou.edu/R/Wayne.D.Riggs-1/riggs.html

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