This Open Education Resource (OER) textbook was created through the Digital Publishing Initiative (DPI) at The Creative Media & Digital Culture (CMDC) program, with support of the Library and Academic Affairs at Washington State University Vancouver, an Undergraduate Education Curriculum Grant and an Affordable Learning Grant. DTC 101 is an undergraduate course in the CMDC program that serves between 60-100 students each semester. The course provides a necessary orientation to the main theoretical concepts of digital media as a field of study and as an evolving medium of artistic expression and communication. This DTC 101 textbook will be a core text in multiple sections of the DTC 101 course, with individual professors providing their own syllabi and additional readings.
Between 2017 and 2019, CMDC students were selected to work on the overall design and development of this textbook. Liliya Truderung, Diana Boligar and Betsy Hanrahan created the design elements and graphics. Diana Boligar also helped to develop the site to be responsive to different devices. Joshua Yoes and Holly Slocum designed and built interactive units for various chapters.
Over time, this OER textbook will develop and respond to inevitable changes in the field of digital media and to the evolving needs of the CMDC students and faculty. As students and faculty using the textbook provide feedback and input, the text will be edited and modified and other faculty and student-created interactive units, features and design elements will be added. Faculty will also contribute their own sources and ideas to the main content of the chapters.
A summary study, conducted by Dr. John Hilton III, of various quantitative evaluations on the effectiveness of OER in undergraduate learning and retention, concludes that while OER does not prove overwhelmingly more effective, the cost savings to students and their parents are an important factor.
“If the average college student spends approximately $1,000 per year on textbooks and yet performs scholastically no better than the student who utilizes free OER, what exactly is being purchased with that $1,000?” (Hilton)
Other factors, such as the quality of the OER textbooks, compared to the more highly-produced commercial textbooks, determines the success of adopting OER. It therefore seems imperative, in this project, to spend the time on the writing, navigation and design of the OER textbook. Besides the cost savings, the proposed DTC 101 textbook would address the pedagogical needs of students immersed in a networked, media-saturated world. Cathy Davidson, one of the leading researchers in the Digital Humanities addresses the issue of distracted students in the classroom by proposing that “partial attention” might be a learning strategy:
“In our global, diverse, interactive world, where everything seems to have another side, continuous partial attention may not only be a condition of life but a useful tool for navigating a complex world. ” (287)
The DTC 101 textbook address this partial attention of students with relatively short, juxtaposed chunks of media and information that are designed to supplement the more traditional readings and in-class discussions. Particularly in a course that combines topics in computer science and media studies, students would benefit from a digital resource that demonstrated multimodal, networked and interactive digital learning. For example, the comprehension of how binary numbers produce alphanumeric symbols would improve if a text explanation were accompanied by a visual and interactive demonstration. Not only would comprehension about digital media improve with digital media resources, the digital textbook would itself demonstrate the affordances of a digital and networked text in a changing world. The purpose of this OER textbook project is to build an engaging multimodal and interactive online textbook that is free for students and that introduces and makes accessible the main ideas and historical contexts that are in the course’s eight main study areas:
Each chapter will contain a selection of public domain illustrative graphics, animations and audio and video resources, at least one student-created interactive demonstration of an important concept, a written explanation of the main ideas in the area of study, a guideline and historical context for the related course-pack readings, a glossary and suggested practical exercises to help with comprehension. The DTC 101 OER textbook would fill a gap in the undergraduate pedagogy of digital media studies and further place Washington State University’s CMDC as a leader in an emerging field. The textbook would also be a model and template for CMDC digital publishing and for other OER projects in the university.
All text by Will Luers, except for Chapter 07:Digital Games, which was written by Michael Rabby.
Web Design by Liliya Truderung, Diana Boligar and Betsy Hanrahan
Programming and interactive units by Joshua Yoes and Holly Slocum
All images and video are in the public domain or labled for non-commercial use.