Dr. Bruce Gordon is a Residential faculty of Physical Sciences. He is also Assistant Chair of Physics & Physical Sciences. Dr. Gordon holds a Ph.D. in Physics specializing in Wave and Ion Interactions in the Outer Solar Atmosphere. He has repeatedly been nominated for teacher of the year in previous positions and his students really appreciate the work he does. He also offers concurrent honors options for students in his classes. Dr. Gordon is a Glendale Community College Reimagine Program alumnus and received a grant for his Physics 116 Project-Based Learning project.
Dr. Gordon is teaching Physics 101, 115 & 116.
Dr. Gordon’s contributions to open education arose from a concern that the textbooks were too expensive and the students just didn’t use the book. He recognized that the textbook he was using originally was over $200 and continued to have errors in it. So, he stopped using it and found an OpenStax version that had all the right information. The textbook is a free digital textbook. He developed his own problem sets, his own lecture notes, homework sets, and video files to share with the students as well. There are also typical homework, quizzes, and exams. On reflection, the students appreciate the online sources and find them to be enough. As he said, “It was a lot of work upfront, but now that it is there I don’t have to reinvent the wheel every semester.”
Physics has projects and activities that could be expensive. The department does use a small course fee to cover the costs. The projects that Dr. Gordon does are low or no cost to students whenever possible. He makes sure to recycle materials to help save costs.
He has tried using pre-created publisher materials again for a special “flipped classroom” attempt but discovered that he felt detached from the materials. He said he, “would never go back to a published book.”
Dr. Gordon recently presented at the Heart of Teaching conference at Glendale Community College. He demonstrated how he has incorporated Project Based Learning into his Physics 116 course. He also was happy to share how his project-based learning project was naturally an Open Educational activity.
For faculty members who are considering OER, Dr. Gordon mentioned that there are a lot of resources out there, “which are as good as the high-cost resources.”
Because of his positive experience with his work with OER, Dr. Gordon shared his perception that developing resources gives faculty a feeling of ownership and control, as well as the ability to say “this is what I really want the students to know.”
It is important to be aware that question sets and answers appear on websites that cater to students. This occurs with both publisher materials and OER materials. Faculty should be prepared to create their own question sets and “tweak the materials” as needed.
The OER Spotlight reveals faculty in different departments across the campus to whom you can reach out to ask questions about OER. If they don’t know the answer, they are willing to help you find out. Contact Open Education @GCC for more information.