I received a grant to adopt an open textbook!

I was informed earlier this week that I was one of 13 faculty who were awarded the Alternative Textbook Grant that is provided by OU Libraries. Very cool! From the news release:

University Libraries awarded Alternative Textbook grants to 13 recipients for implementing open educational resources for their classes in the 2018-2019 academic year. The grants from these projects alone are projected to save OU students more than $850,000 over the next three years. Previous recipients of the Alternative Textbook Grant have already saved OU students over $1.9 million since the program began in 2014.

I’m slated to teach my very first large lecture course this Fall: Introduction to Advertising. I’ll have 140 bright and smiling faces looking back at me as I wax poetic about the past, present, and future of the country’s current favorite industry. This is the first course in the advertising sequence that advertising majors take and, in all seriousness, I’m a tad nervous just thinking about the task of shepherding that many students into the program. With that said, I welcome the challenge to venture into uncharted territory.

Like many faculty, I started my prep process by poking around the latest textbooks to get a sense of what the structure of the courses tend to look like. I’m not what you would call a “textbook kind of guy” but it’s as good of a starting point as any I suppose. I started by checking out the syllabi of similar courses at peers institutions and seeing what texts they had adopted. All had adopted some traditional textbook for their course.

One issue with textbooks is its relevance, particularly in evolving disciplines. As you can imagine, a lot has changed in advertising in the last couple years rendering most books slightly outdated on current issues. But while the industry and media(s) surrounding it have drastically changed, the process for conceptualizing and actualizing it isn’t terribly different. So I opted for adopting a slightly older–but much more cost effective–book. It’s titled Launch! Advertising and Promotion in Real Time and was published by FlatWorldKnowledge during their free textbook era. You can get the PDF here and view it online here. While no single textbook necessarily thrills me, I’m excited to know this option will save students between $180-220/student (or, collectively $25K+) had I picked a major publisher option.

And, if you know me, you know I’m not one to stick to the script, so this book will be merely a starting point. I’m also building a set of case studies to accompany the course. The case study method is also a new pedagogical venture for me, but I’ve taken classes that were case study-based and I have always loved the lively discussions. This will allow me to bring in some newer and relevant examples of advertising–which is nice because there isn’t an exact formula to successful advertising, but rather guiding principles, examples of what has/hasn’t worked, and methods for evaluating effectiveness.

Thanks to OU Libraries and, particularly, Jen Waller, who is the initiative’s fearless leader. But really. This grant was the extra push I needed in order to commit to the project and I’m super appreciative for the support.


Featured Image: The Last Bookstore flickr photo by shinya shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license