Peer reviews

Conducted by faculty and graduate students across Alberta, ABOER Peer Reviews are of potential replacements for a paid resource used in an Alberta post secondary course. The objective of sharing these peer reviews is to raise provincial awareness and accessibility of open educational resources.

The Complete CMB i-text

Subject: Sciences

Course Level: 3rd Year Undergrad

Reviewer Name: Dr. Shauna Zenteno

Resource Type: Test Bank, Full Course, Textbook, Images, Graphics and/or Illustrations, Lecture (Notes, Audio or Video), Study Questions

Date of Review: 2016-09-13

Description: Biology 401 is ranked 122th in enrollments at Athabasca University with over 120 registrations per year. This course is transferable to a number of institutions and programs across Canada and the United States and is part of the requirements for the BSc programs at Athabasca University. This course currently uses the textbook The World of the Cell 7th edition by Becker, Wayne M., Kleinsmith, Lewis J., Hardin, J., and Bertoni, G. P. which is published by Pearson Benjamin Cummings. The cost of this textbook is high ($180) and so I conducted a review of an OER textbook titled, “The Complete CMB i-text” by Dr. Gerald K Bergtrom from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The purpose of this review was to assess the suitability of this i-text to maintain the quality of BIOL 401 and preserve transfer credit agreements, but to also determine whether the i-text provided a more engaging and effective format for learners. This open access textbook is an interactive textbook which contains all additional figures, animations, and commentary embedded into the text itself, which allows students to have additional learning resources as they complete the course without having to click between a minimum of 3-4 different websites or documents. Under the Creative Commons License and discussions I have had with the author I would be able to add my study guide content and relevant study questions from the Athabasca University BIOL 401 Study Guide, which we make available on the course website, directly to the i-text so students could have everything in the i-text and we would not have to publish our Study Guide for Biology 401. The use of OERs will reduce costs associated with providing textbooks, purchasing textbooks, and producing a Study Guide to accompany a textbook. It will also alleviate the issues surrounding publisher revision cycles and expiration of textbook websites, which does not correspond to the continuous enrollment model at Athabasca University. Overall, this CMB i-text will provide the currency and reliability students need with the added benefit of enhanced learning with quick access to relevant resources. OERs such as this one offer a lot of potential for students and universities because they facilitate learning, reduce costs, and promote accessibility.

Inkscape for Graphic Design

Subject: Arts

Course Level: 1st Year Undergrad, 2nd Year Undergrad, 3rd Year Undergrad, 4th Year Undergrad, 5th Year Undergrad, Graduate

Reviewer Name: Marlo Steed

Resource Type: Activities and Labs, Images, Graphics and/or Illustrations

Date of Review: 2016-09-13

Description: Inkscape is an open-source vector graphics editor similar to Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Freehand, or Xara X. It creates primarily vector art and the resulting graphics are scalable while still retaining resolution fidelity. It is a sophisticated application with a rich feature set. It is a great tool for creating illustrations, logos, title pages, clip art, posters, presentation graphics, etc. The main drawing card is that it is free. It uses a Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), an open XML-based W3C standard, as the native format. It does import bit-mapped images but the down side is that it doesn't allow much manipulation of that type of image. So this is not a Photoshop equivalent.

Test Prep NCLEX-RN

Subject: Health Related

Course Level: 4th Year Undergrad

Reviewer Name: Tamara Van Tassell

Resource Type: Test Bank, Module, Full Course, Images, Graphics and/or Illustrations, Case Study, Lecture (Notes, Audio or Video)

Date of Review: 2016-09-13

Description: Khan Academy offers an online test prep for the NCLEX-RN exam. This resource serves as a review of physiology and diseases by system, and includes mental health. The site offers tutorial videos that explain concepts well. Also included in this site are NCLEX practice test questions. Although this site is useful as tool it is not all encompassing. It should therefore be used as an adjunct; one of many that may be used to help clarify concepts. The exam questions are focused on assessment, priority intervention, and plan of care, teaching and diagnostic. When comparing it against the National Council of State Boards of Nursing test plan, the site falls short in providing a comprehensive preparation.

Blackfoot ways of knowing: the worldview of the Siksikaitsitapi

Subject: Social Sciences

Course Level: 1st Year Undergrad, 2nd Year Undergrad, 3rd Year Undergrad, 4th Year Undergrad, 5th Year Undergrad, Graduate

Reviewer Name: Kirsten Mikkelsen

Resource Type: Textbook

Date of Review: 2016-09-13

Description: The book Blackfoot ways of knowing: the worldview of the Siksikaitsitapi (2004) by Blackfoot scholar Betty Bastien is available via open access e-book available through creative commons license. The book is written in accessible English language with complementary inclusion of Blackfoot language with applicable glossaries in Siksikaitsipowahsin-English and English-Siksikaitsipowashsin. The books scope and content is relevant to first year college to graduate level learners in Indigenous Studies and across disciplines and covers a range of topics that come from within the worldviews of the Siksikaitsitapi Blackfoot people with 19 chapters organized within the broader themes on: Context, Tribal Protocol and Affirmative Inquiry, Affirmation of Indigenous Knowledge, and Renewal of Ancestral Responsibilities as an Antidote to Genocide. The book is written from and within a Blackfoot scholar’s perspective and incorporates traditional knowledge carriers and elder’s perspectives relevant to the original teachings and renewal of Blackfoot ways of knowing. Further, the book’s contents identify the impacts of colonization to Blackfoot and broader Indigenous peoples while maintaining a hopeful outlook on the regeneration of Blackfoot teachings with relevance to the responsibilities of diverse Indigenous peoples and societies in the resurgence of Indigenous knowledge and relationship to the sacred. The book is flexible enough that it could be used as chapters in the creation of a textbook free course or across a program complimenting material from other sources or as a whole open access e-book for a course.

Introduction to Financial Accounting 2nd Ed.

Subject: Business

Course Level: 1st Year Undergrad

Reviewer Name: Sonya von Heyking

Resource Type: Assignment, Test Bank, Textbook

Date of Review: 2017-03-17

Description: An introductory level textbook for financial accounting covering all related topics including transaction analysis, financial statement preparation under IFRS and financial statement analysis.

Online Open Genetics

Subject: Sciences

Course Level: 1st Year Undergrad, 2nd Year Undergrad, 3rd Year Undergrad

Reviewer Name: Dr. Nancy N. Brown

Resource Type: Activities and Labs, Module, Images, Graphics and/or Illustrations

Date of Review: 2017-03-17

Description: The OER resource Online Open Genetics (opengenetics.net) was reviewed in order to assess its relevance and utility as an additional resource for BIOL 311 (Principles of Genetics) at Medicine Hat College. BIOL 311 is a second-year undergraduate course, providing an introduction to the discipline of genetics within our University Transfer Science program. This course transfers directly to other institutions including the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. This course currently uses Introduction to Genetic Analysis by Griffiths et al. (11th edition). While students begin BIOL 311 with some genetic knowledge from both high school and their first-year biology courses, key concepts continue to be a challenge. The assessment of this OER was to determine whether it would be a useful supplemental resource in order to aid student understanding of and skills in these challenging concepts. In particular, the subject matter around nomenclature, the concepts of dominant/recessive alleles and linkage, and their relationship to the processes of meiosis and mitosis continues to confuse students and are all covered by this OER. This resource provides opportunity for students to actively engage in sample exercises with immediate feedback as to their accuracy. For BIOL 311, the resource could be used for the students’ benefit with only minor modification to accommodate slight nuances in language. While the use of this resource will not reduce the student cost, it has the potential to enhance their learning experience and to solidify key genetic concepts that will impact not only their success in BIOL 311, but also in future courses.

Business Communications for Success textbook

Subject: Business

Course Level: 1st Year Ungergrad

Reviewer Name: Sonia Perna

Resource Type: Textbook

Date of Review: 2016-09-13 11:15:00

Description: Business Communications for Success is an introductory textbook geared toward students who need to be able to communicate clearly, concisely and professionally within the business world. The text shows students how to write business documents as well as prepare and deliver business presentations. It is written from an American perspective; however, there is a chapter on intercultural communications. The first three chapters form the core foundation for the study of oral and written business communication. The next sequence of chapters focus on the process of writing, then oral performance with an emphasis on results. The final sequence focuses on contexts where business communication occurs, from interpersonal to intercultural, from groups to leadership. This book is suited for Business Writing, Business English or Business Research/Report Writing courses. The first section, Basics of Written Business Communication, presents basic business communication concepts, vocabulary, models, and exercises. The author provides a set of core chapters intended to provide a highly focused introduction to the field. Then, the author provides an optional series of modules that provide instructors with flexibility to emphasize additional topics of their choice. In each of the process and product chapter sequences, the chapters follow a natural flow, from prewriting to revision, from preparation for a presentation to performance. Each sequence comes together in a concluding chapter that focuses on action—applying the skills and techniques of written or oral communication in business, from writing a letter to presenting a sales speech.

Introduction to Statistics I

Subject: Business

Course Level: 1st Year Ungergrad

Reviewer Name: Bingrui (Cindy) Sun

Resource Type: Module, Textbook

Date of Review: 2016-09-13 11:15:00

Description: This review aims to improve the current open text so it could become a standard text for STAT 213, at the University of Calgary. To be specific, Chapters 1 to 9 of this text are reviewed. The overall quality of this text is good. It has a nice selection of topics that may cover many instructors’ choice of topics. However, the limited usage of real life problems and the simplicity of the examples and exercise questions makes this text fall short to be an excellent source of assessments. But it may help students to practice on their own and get self-assessed thanks to its enclosure of solutions for most questions, if not all. Further the lack of simulation apps and discussion of software usage in this text disqualify itself to be a great source of lab work sheets. There are typos and statements where further clarifications are needed, and more details on this matter could be found in the comment area below appropriate review criteria.

Introductory Statistics

Subject: Sciences

Course Level: 1st Year Ungergrad

Reviewer Name: Collette Lemieux

Resource Type: Textbook

Date of Review: N/A

Description: An introductory statistics textbook that covers descriptive statistics, probability (discrete and continuous), sampling distributions, hypothesis testing (one sample, two sample, ANOVA, chi-squared tests), and simple linear regression.

Insults by Shakespeare: A TEDTalk Lesson Worth Sharing

Subject: Arts

Course Level: 1st Year Undergrad

Reviewer Name: Sonia Perna

Resource Type: Test Bank, Lesson Plan, Lecture (Notes, Audio or Video)

Date of Review: 2016-09-13 11:15:00

Description: Insults by Shakespeare is a six-minute Ted Ed video as well as learning resources (multiple-choice questions and long-answer questions) and additional resources (PowerPoint and YouTube videos).

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