Faculty Stories: Dr. William Ray

Dr. William Ray is the Vice Provost and Dean, Tulsa Graduate College He has created a digital course pack for his course, including his class lecture notes and additional content that he wrote and makes available to students as PDFs.

  • Course: HR 5023, Introduction to Research in Human Relations
    • Previous Textbook:  Introduction to Statistics by Mario F. Triola
    • Alternative Textbook: Custom electronic coursepack including a self-written text, lecture notes, and online study guide.

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

Stacy Zemke: Why did you decide to switch to or try out an open textbook solution for your course?
Dean Ray: To better align course materials with learning objectives and to save students the expense of purchasing a textbook.

SZ:  What is the open textbook source or sources you are using for your class and what book/books did you replace?
DR: I’m using textbooks I’ve written, along with complete lecture notes and online study guides that I’ve developed.
For HR 5023, this replaces Triola’s Introduction to Statistics

SZ: How many students of yours have used this open solution (total across semesters).
DR: For HR, at least 200 (I’ve used a version of this material for over 10 years)

SZ: What was your process for selecting/creating this collection of resources?
DR: For both, I relied on open courseware from sources such as MIT.  I also drew examples from the research literature to make the material both current and relevant.

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?
DR:Since this material is all self-developed, finding time to do this is a major challenge.

SZ: How have your students responded to this open textbook?
DR: Positively.  They especially appreciate having the lecture notes available after class, so they can concentrate on understanding and participating during class rather than copying.

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

SZ:  Would you consider using an open source for other courses that you teach?
DR: Yes. I’ve used the MIT open course materials to supplement materials in probability and stochastic processes.

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