As a former classroom teacher, district curriculum coordinator, and associate professor, I have taught courses in curriculum and literacy, and happily used a textbook for the content of the courses for a number of years. With the advent of online learning multi-media resources, and rapidly changing curricula (especially during a pandemic!), I discovered that one or even two printed texts no longer met the needs of students and the course. Twenty-first-century students are far more tech-savvy than their counterparts 10 or 15 years ago, and the traditional teaching tools—lectures and assigned readings alone—are no longer engaging or motivating for the current generation of learners.
Enter Open Educational Resources (OER). In working with the instructional designers at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS), I discovered that courses, especially online and hybrid courses, could be much more interesting and engaging by incorporating videos, graphics, and a host of other teaching and learning tools that encourage a learner-centered classroom. The added bonus is that OER are free, and that is a big issue since college textbooks are expensive, and a number of students are on strict budgets and will sometimes forego books for groceries. There are also students who are homeless and food insecure, so for them, OER have become a necessity.
Many disciplines at the college and university level can be easily accessed via a growing number of OER websites and depositories. Sadly, this is not as yet the case with curriculum. I am deeply indebted to the African Virtual University and Dr. Grace Nyagah for the online text, Curriculum Studies, which is published under the conditions of the Creative Commons. Much of the content in Curriculum Essentials: A Journey is from Dr. Nyagah’s text, and it provides the backbone for this text.
I am also indebted to Dr. Leslie Owen Wilson, Professor Emerita from the University of Wisconsin—Stevens Point, for her contribution to Curriculum Essentials: A Journey. Dr. Wilson’s website, The Second Principle, continues to provide a wealth of information, including the curriculum design and development process, as well as implementation and evaluation, and strategies for writing good curriculum. Dr. Wilson has given generously of her time and expertise as a mentor to me in the development of Curriculum Essentials: A Journey.
I would also like to thank Dr. David Anderson and the staff of the Faculty Resource Center at UCCS for their help and support of this project, and especially Angela Dodson, a patient, creative, and dedicated instructional designer who has guided me through the OER project from the beginning, and whose support has made this eText possible.