Cellular Molecular Microbiology OERs

Medicine Hat College’s library had an idea—to encourage the creation of and use of open educational resources (OER) within the campus. In order to follow through with the proposal, they decided to undergo a pilot project, whereby an (OER) would be created and subsequently used at the campus.

At the start, the library received eight proposals from different faculty members interested in creating their own OER. A selection committee looked over the proposals, choosing a Cellular Molecular Microbiology class (CMMB 250) as being the best option for creating a textbook and two lab videos as open resources. “We chose the course that had the greatest number of students and the highest text book price,” says Chelsey Reid, copyright officer for the college.

The textbook and electronic materials for the course were costing the 50 students $200 each. It is a course for first year nursing students that is in its fourth year. Students learn about infectious diseases, and the kinds of organisms that affect body systems that nurses can expect to come into contact with throughout their careers. It’s an important class with subject matter that is always evolving.
Course instructor, Peggy O’Sullivan, knew that creating the textbook and two lab videos as OERs would also give her the chance to tailor the course material to best suit her students, while making the information as up-to-date as possible. “I can change the material year after year. Microbiology is a constantly changing field, so it’s important to keep current in the field as much as we can,” says O’Sullivan.

Several individuals at the college came together to collaborate on the project, gathering the information necessary and ensuring the copyright laws were followed. Denise Holt, library technician, researched information that was then reviewed by O’Sullivan, and compiled into 17 chapters.

The group learned about the creation of OER, and are excited about the possibility of using that knowledge to make future development and the adoption of OER more efficient.

O’Sullivan is most excited about the ways that the project will help her students, and the savings that will derive from their use of the OER. “It makes information freely available to my students. Many of them have student loans, so I think anything I can do to help them to stay in college, and reduce the cost of their education is helpful,” she says.