BYU Faculty Highlight | Royce Kimmons
For this campus highlight, we interviewed Dr. Royce Kimmons, assistant professor of Instructional Psychology and Technology in the David O. McKay School of Education, where he researches technology integration in K-12/higher education, open education, and social media. We asked him about why he chose to incorporate affordable course materials into his classes. He said there are two reasons why he decided to adopt Open Educational Resources (OER) in his courses. "I decided to adopt OER to drive down absurd textbook costs for my students." Virtually every university student across the country has felt those "absurd textbook prices" each semester. More importantly he said that he chose OER to "improve [the students] learning experiences by using resources that are accessible and adaptable."
He describes the benefits he has seen from using OER. "My students are very grateful that I use OER and have commented many times about how it helps them to see how I care about them." According to a study by the University of Kansas, When professors show that they care about their students, an environment is created that is conducive to successful student learning, in-class engagement and course outcomes.
Not only do students enjoy the online OER, but Dr. Kimmons has found that using them is particularly beneficial for him as well. He said, "OER have also been beneficial for giving me more control over my courses and allowing me to provide the best resources possible to my students that also align with my instruction." Because of this openness and accessibility, Dr. Kimmons has created some OER of his own and has them hosted on a publishing platform of his own creation, edtechbooks.org.
As with any pedagogical approach, there are pros and cons. Dr. Kimmons reports that "the biggest struggle is just finding time to find and update resources to make them the best they can be." He proposes that this can be solved by providing "better tools, practices and sources of support to help streamline OER use." He also reports that "misconceptions from peers... faculty, administrators and publishers... prevent them from having the impact that they should.
Because of recent technology advancement, the internet is teeming with these resources that have not yet been tapped into. Here at BYU Affordability, staff are available to meet with faculty members about potential course content, and direct them to other resources that they may find beneficial. Faculty are also encouraged to reach out to their department's librarian about finding more affordable course materials.