Projects funded by the Open Education Initiative, 2019-2020

Nick Camerlenghi, Art History

With funding from DCAL's OER initiative, I am developing an interactive tool for my virtual reality walk-through of a very important and ancient church in Rome, namely the Church of St. Paul, where one of Christianity’s foundational figures is buried and venerated. That building burned tragically in 1823 and, though rebuilt, only vaguely resembles the original. My VR walk-through already exists (albeit in an improbable version 1.0) so, with this OER, now the desire is to enable users to point to objects in the buildings and to learn about them on their own. They should be able to take measurements, listen and take audio/visual tours, and leave impressions. The principle is novel: to enable meaningful exploration of a building that no longer exists! Students and scholars from disciplines including art, architecture, and religion should benefit. Additionally, a dialogue should ensue about my reconstruction as well as about the use and meaning of such an important space. My research—collaborative in nature and developed over the course of nearly ten years—has been funded by a variety of universities, institutions, and foundations. At the core of this support is a desire to make learning broadly accessible. It is only fitting to share this work as openly as possible.

Eric Hansen, Engineering

I am creating an eBook for Digital Electronics (Engs 31 / CoSc 56). This course was overhauled in 2016 with the support of the Gateway Course Initiative, to incorporate active learning through in-class design exercises. The eBook is being designed to further support the new course format with focused readings, videos, embedded design exercises, and hyperlinks to online resources. Standard textbooks are adequate for basic material, but fall short in supporting the design and prototyping tools we use for labs and projects. The initial version of this book, available March 2020, focuses on supplemental material for these topics. The basics will be added in, over the next year, to cover the entire course. Also, unlike print textbooks, it can be updated as the course and tools evolve, and the open format could enable instructors of other courses to adapt the content to the particular needs of their courses. The authoring platform enables both HTML output (for web reading) and LaTeX (for print versions) to be produced from the same source. 

Alan Taylor, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric

College students are commonly required to purchase handbooks for use in their writing courses. These reference texts introduce students to the conventions of academic writing and often include chapters on academic research, critical thinking, grammar, punctuation, and formal citation.

However, most handbooks on the market today are bloated in both content and price. (I think the former is often the justification for the latter). The book I used previously is over 900 pages long and costs around $60. I think that is too long and too much.

My goal for this project is to create a brief handbook with everything students need to successfully navigate their college writing assignments, then give it away for free.

Tim Tregubov, Computer Science

With the help of the OER Initiative I am developing a set of interactive in-class coding mini-games for CS52 and CS66. The goal of these interactive exercises is to help students in and out of the classes to practice what they are learning, use discovery play to help understand certain programming concepts, and to get the students to engage with the materials in a more hands on way but without doing code demonstrations. All of the resources I create are open to the public as not all students are able to take these projects based capped enrollment courses. Putting the materials online allows for more students to benefit, both in and outside of Dartmouth. Additionally, students help create some of the content and to see it being used by future courses is empowering and motivating. Passing on what they have learned is a more effective teaching tool than learning the material initially, and should be an integral part of all courses. 

James Whitfield, Physics

I am making an open source course which will help teach quantum information to graduate students at Dartmouth and beyond. Dartmouth is a premier place to learn quantum information science and our group has built and contributed to some of the open source tools widely used include the codebases of IBM and Google's quantum computing software platforms.  

The teaching resources are a curated collection of examples utilizing modern quantum technology and their interfaces.  The use of actual quantum resources hopefully helps students realize that these ideas are no longer philosophical nor abstract but actual technology that can be deployed at small scales.  The aim of this course is to guide students in applying quantum information concepts to their work.

Despite the splintering of the quantum computing community by universities, companies, and their interests, the paradigm of open source pervades the zeitgeist. Our course is consistent with this community ideal in that other open resources will be both borrowed, curated, and remixed into something appropriate for Dartmouth graduate students with the Spring quarter timeframe.

About the Open Education Initiative

Now in its second year, the Open Education Initiative seeks to reduce textbook costs and improve student learning by replacing expensive textbooks with open educational resources. Learn more about the Open Education Initiative.