Impact of OpenStax textbook on physics students, South Florida College

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Student impact | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

Erik Christensen, Chair of the Natural Science Department at South Florida Community College, has explained the impact that use of open textbooks has had on his students.

He reports a 30% increase in scores for concept inventory tests which are designed to evaluate whether a student has an accurate working knowledge of a specific set of concepts.  He also expresses his satisfaction with the quality of the textbook and notes that students are very happy with them too.

I have the honor of being the very first adopter of OpenStax College’s College Physics textbook. As a principal reviewer during prepublication, I had an early inside look at the textbook and was very impressed by it from the start. I am now in the second year of adoption and it has been smooth sailing.

I have coupled OpenStax College Physics with Learningpod, the free online practice problem collection from Kaplan Test Prep. It has really increased the dynamics of homework problem solving. The combination of these resources has played a significant role in helping my class achieve a 30% increase in Hake-g scores on the Force Concept Inventory (FCI) over those from the last five years.

The book is easy to read, full of vivid examples and illustrations, good sample problems, and plenty of homework problems to choose from. What I really like — since many of my students are headed towards careers in the allied health field — is that many of the homework problems are life science-related, helping them see value in learning physics. Students love the many options the book offers: they can view it online, download it as a PDF, or print out selected pages for free. For $4.99 they can also download a nice iBook to for the iPad. For the few that still want a hard copy, students can order a printed copy for less than $50.

The bottom line is that both my students and I love this book and wholeheartedly recommend it. Your students will thank you too!

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