OER Citations

A Case Study on a New Collaboration Model for Producing a Visually Appealing OER Laboratory Textbook


Guzman, I. L., & Gomez Woolley, S. (2024). A Case Study on a New Collaboration Model for Producing a Visually Appealing OER Laboratory Textbook. Geo-Congress 2024, 396–404. https://doi.org/10.1061/9780784485354.039


The lack of accessible and affordable education is one of the major obstacles inhibiting upward social mobility of students coming from middle to low socioeconomic backgrounds. The availability and adoption of good-quality visually appealing open educational resources (OER) textbooks has the ability to significantly ease the economic burden on student populations. This case study presents a unique approach to the creation of a visually appealing OER soil mechanics laboratory textbook. The approach consisted of pulling together resources commonly available at the New York City College of Technology and the City University of New York. These include undergraduate research programs, collaborations with visual arts departments, surplus department technician funds, and professional collaborations, among others. We presume that similar resources are available to many universities and colleges across the United States. Of particular interest was the collaboration between a faculty member of the Communication Design Department (the second author of this publication), student artists, and the author of the textbook who is a faculty member of the Construction Management and Civil Engineering Technology Department (the first author of this publication and author of the OER manuscript). The partnership resulted in a novel collaboration model, which was named the designer-director-client model, which aims to develop visual content for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) publications. The model paired the manuscript author (client) with student artists (designers) to create visually appealing illustrations under the direction of a communication design faculty member (director). During the process, the designers and art director were compelled to learn principles of soil mechanics to be able to produce technically sound illustrations. This process fostered the general education outcomes of the students involved, while exposing them to a situation common in their field where learning and researching a topic outside of their realm is essential to satisfy the needs of a client. This had the added benefit of propagating general knowledge and awareness of soil mechanics topics to a wider audience. Meanwhile, the author of the manuscript (client) developed a good understanding of the creative process that leads to quality illustrations. The collaboration resulted in a visually appealing, technically sound OER textbook. The model presented in this case study has the potential to serve as a road map for collaborations from other STEM disciplines and beyond.

Citation Type: Conference Paper