Thinking about OERs beyond cost savings, a public lecture by Brett McCollum

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The adoption of quality OERs is reshaping HiEd classrooms, lowering the cost and furthering the democratization of learning. However, there is also a movement of disengagement with text-based learning that threatens to undermine the impact of open textbooks. Most learners are no longer reading for class or leisure (McCollum, 2018). When course content is summarized through lecture slides, learners express little incentive to read the textbook (Yonker & Cummins-Sebree, 2009). If no one is reading the course textbook, its democratization does not have the intended impact.

In this session, Dr. McCollum will share results from an iterative pedagogical redesign to motivate improved reading habits and familiarity with course terminology and communication styles (McCollum, 2016). He will discuss his experience participating in the OER community (Larsen et al., 2017), his strategies for re-engaging students with their textbook, and his research that shows it is peer relationships — more so than course content — that incentivizes good reading habits (McCollum & Morsch, submitted). Along the way, he will explore why experts in teaching and learning advocate for the continued inclusion of text-based learning in the modern classroom. He will also examine the purpose of the textbook in the learning experience and how OERs can benefit students in more ways than just their wallets.


Brett McCollum is a Professor of Chemistry at Mount Royal University, a Nexen Scholar of Teaching and Learning, the education columnist for the Canadian Chemical News, and an Associate Editor of LibreTexts, the highest ranked and most visited online open education resource textbook project. He is the Chair of Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) Canada, a Board member of the Society for Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, and the MRU Board of Governors’ University Teaching Chair in Educational Leadership.

McCollum has published over 30 papers and book chapters on chemistry education research, SoTL, and muon spin spectroscopy. His research has been recognized through numerous awards, including the Alberta Colleges and Institutes Faculty Associations Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Award (2012), a Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award (2015), and the MRU Undergraduate Research Supervision Award (2019). McCollum was recently named one of Canada’s 3M National Teaching Fellows, the most significant honour in higher education teaching.

This lecture is presented by Dalhousie Libraries and the Centre for Learning & Teaching. 


Lectures, Seminars




Killam Library, Room 2920 OR online (you will receive a link after registering)