As a high school student Benjamin Craig's motto was, "Here's my plate, load it on." He brought that mentality with him to Emmanuel, where he has always been ready to take on a new opportunity.
As part of an Open Educational Resource (OER) initiative, Assistant Professor of Accounting Donna Marchand recently redrafted a textbook, “Introduction to Financial Accounting,” to reflect the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of the United States and to be published as an OER by Lyryx Learning.
OER are freely accessible, openly licensed texts and other materials used to aid teaching, learning and researching at reduced costs, providing a way for students to more easily afford and access course materials.
After spending several years searching for a well-developed and engaging OER textbook for financial accounting students, Marchand discovered the Introduction to Financial Accounting text on Lyryx, a text originally based on International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), the accounting standards used in more than 110 countries. Being both impressed with the text and wanting to make it accessible and applicable to her students, Marchand began the process of redrafting the text to reflect GAAP.
"The cost of college textbooks has risen 812% since 1980 and there have been student surveys done showing that 66% of college students will go without purchasing a required text due to the cost," Marchand said. "I've noticed in my own courses that students will often go the first few weeks of a course without a textbook and are immediately starting the semester at a disadvantage. I feel strongly that the use of OERs has the ability to alleviate these issues for students."
Marchand's interest in OER originated during her time as an instructor at another university and thus developed into a passion she carries through her career.
"Many of my students were first-generation college students struggling to pay for college and pay for textbooks all the while juggling classes and working full time," Marchand said.
At that university, Marchand joined a yearlong professional learning community to learn about OER and how instructors could implement them into courses. Later, while working at another institution just south of Boston, Marchand was able to help launch an OER initiative wherein she converted four business courses to OER, working toward the goal of a 100% OER program.
"My hope is that my OER initiative provides students with the resources they need to complete a course successfully in the most cost-effective way," she said.
Marchand and Economics Lecturer Florencia Gabriele will deliver a presentation on OER at Emmanuel College on Thursday, March 14th, at 12:15 p.m. in the Maureen Murphy Wilkens Science Center, Room 103.