Michael Dabrowski talked about the need to reflect on how we as educators can help students understand social issues.

Michael designed an assessment strategy for a highly diverse group of students and said “why not make an open textbook at the same time?”

for this to work:

  • Relationships are important.
  • Students need to work – be actively engaged.
  • They need to be able to contribute their knowledge and skills.
  • Other students need to be seen as the benchmark of success. Other students are the best judge of what the benchmark should be.
  • For open education the 5Rs are important.

They ended up crowd-sourcing a textbook.

Student work included:

  • Short stories
  • Comprehension questions
  • Discussion topics
  • A glossary

Their work is published in Moodle. That is intriguing. I didn’t think you could make an open textbook in Moodle.

Michael’s students learned Spanish in the process of writing a textbook that was framed using the sustainability development goals. There are risks with working with student authors. The topic may be difficult for some students to work through due to past personal experiences. Marginalized groups in the class may have difficulty and the topic was difficult. A focus on the issues and small steps that students can do to solve them is important. Privacy is also an important conversation to have.


Laura Killam is an experienced nursing educator from Northern Ontario with a keen interest in improving student learning through innovation. For more information please visit http://nursekillam.com/.


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