Question #1: Tell me about yourself and how you came to be involved with Open Education.
My name is Tonja Conerly and I became involved with Open probably about 10 years ago through OpenStax. Openstax was looking for faculty members to pilot their Intro to Sociology textbook and my department chair came to me and asked me if I would be the one to do it for our College. I, of course, said yes. The reason that I so eagerly said yes is because, as a faculty member, I think that as soon as we receive a textbook it’s outdated. I’m always doing research in order to make my information very current. I looked at it as being a free textbook for my students, that means they don’t have to pay for it. And I can make it my own, it’s a win, win!
As a faculty member, I always think that the textbook is really your guide. If you look at the publisher textbook and the OER textbooks the basics are the same, therefore, I’m able to meet my Student Learning Objectives with them both, so why not the free one? What’s really the big difference between them? I did find out the big difference is in reference to our faculty contributions and I’m going to talk about that later but that is how I came to be involved with Open.