“Open Educational Resources (OERs) are teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OERs can be textbooks, full courses, lesson plans, videos, text, software, and any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.” [https://sparcopen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/SPARC-Open-Education-Fact-Sheet.pdf]. With the dramatic rise in textbook costs in recent years, making open educational resources available can mean significant savings for students and support Rowan University’s pillar of Affordability.
If you are a Rowan University faculty member and you'd like to submit your open educational resource to this repository, please contact Denise Brush at email@example.com.
This module explores the nature of history. Popular perceptions of history rely upon two flawed ideas. First, employing a naive interpretation of the theory of evolution, many believe that history is a slow march of progress toward more complex species and, after the development of humans, more complex human societies. Second, another prevalent attitude is that the history of life contains patterns that repeat and can be predicted if studied. Instead, this module emphasizes the role of luck and contingency in the history of life both before and after the arrival of homo sapiens. Beginning with an exploration of why these popular theories persist, the module will explore contingency through such critical moments as the Cambrian Explosion, the end of the dinosaurs, and moments after the arrival of homo sapiens such as the fall of Carthage, the Chinese decision to end its ocean-going exploration before the discovery of the Americas, and even the failed assassination attempt of Adolf Hitler in Munich in 1939. The result will be a richer more nuanced understanding of the nature of history and of change over time.
This module explores the ethics of sustainability. “Sustainability” has become a buzz-word for any kind of environmentally positive activity. The word inherits its special meaning from the term “sustainable development,” introduced in Our Common Future, the 1987 UN commissioned Brundtland Report, as a way of describing the joint goals of economic development for poorer countries and environmental preservation/restoration. In the words of that report, sustainable development is development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” and is constrained by “the ability of the biosphere to absorb the effects of human activities.” Sustainability is frequently thought of in technical terms: how many people will the planet hold, how can we reduce our environmental impact while living decent lives. This module presents sustainability as first and foremost a moral rather than a technical challenge. It is a moral challenge for social as well as personal ethics. That is, it is a challenge for societies, institutions and governments as well as for individuals. The module provides students with a simple framework for thinking about moral issues. It also guides them in considering the unique challenges posed by collective moral problems of this kind, where the effect of individual actions seem inconsequential, while their aggregated effect is of profound moral importance. These challenges are intensified in this case, where issues of justice and moral considerability arise for our relation to future as well contemporary human generations, to citizens of other nations as well as our own, and to non-human as well as human life. They are further intensified by our current global reliance on unsustainable use of energy and resources, and on unsustainable production of waste. Finally, they are intensified by the apparent unsustainability of current forms of economic organization. The module features a variety of readings, videos, role-plays and activities designed to allow students to explore ways of meeting these challenges.
What happens when scientists use fiction to envision our future in a world radically altered by climate change? Who is most thoroughly to blame for our inability to sufficiently react to the horrific, even apocalyptic, future we’re told is coming for our children and grandchilden? This module dives into these questions via the short book The Collapse of Western Civilization, written by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. In this short, reader-friendly essay, Oreskes, a science writer who permanently changed how we talk about climate change, and Conway, a NASA historian, write a “history of the future” from the vantage point of 2093. The book offers a unique perspective on climate change and the future we’re heading towards by using fictional narrative, rather than relying on models and graphs, and by adopting a tone equally shocking to readers accustomed to thinking about climate change in terms of numbers and to readers who envision our future as an apocalyptic wasteland. Of particular interest is the book’s frank discussion of the failure of scientists to communicate their findings with the public and their commitment to hallowed principles like statistical significance and the burden of proof. Ultimately, the book and the module prompt fascinating discussions about what Oreskes and Conway call “the most startling aspect” of their story: “the people of Western civilization knew what was happening to them but were unable to stop it. Knowledge did not translate into power.” Module Resources: The module includes slideshows that introduce the book and generate classroom discussion, links to supplementary videos and short readings, and an easily adaptable assignment sheet that asks students to consider the strengths and weakness of various methods of communicating information about climate change.
Jennifer L. Kitson
This learning module presents a variety of ways to consider the role of walking as environmental methodology in courses with existing fieldwork components. Walking is a mobile practice and form of dwelling. The footprint is a powerful metaphor and narrative device expressing the lived scale and pace of the human body, including the accumulation of incremental personal stories into public histories (“one step at a time,” “one foot in front of the other”). Footprints also form the basis for human conceptions of empathy (“being in someone else’s shoes,” “following in someone’s footsteps”) and place-based environmental impacts (ecological footprint, hydroregion), both of which are integral to public discourse in a pluralistic society. A series of readings and walking-based activities will engage the human body and imagination through walking within the watershed (the land area into which rain falls and streams drain) in exploring connections between people, place and water.
Mahbubur R. Meenar
This learning module focuses on two broad topics — hazardous waste and brownfields — and is suitable for courses in environmental and sustainability planning, environmental engineering, environmental science, environmental studies, and community development. The first topic explains different types of hazardous waste and challenges associated with them, discusses landfills and Superfund sites, presents consequences of Superfund sites using historical case studies, and finally introduces Cradle-to-Grave hazardous waste management systems. The second topic focuses on the history and types of brownfields in the USA, their disadvantages and opportunities, as well as their redevelopment options. Using text, field visits, and a series of documentary clips and videos, this learning module explains why students need to enhance their understanding of hazardous waste management and brownfield redevelopment from the viewpoints of environmental justice, community development, and gentrification.
Are humans natural? Exploring relational values in the human-nature relationship in an evolutionary context
This learning module is a three-part series of learning activities focused around the following themes:
- The words “nature” and “natural” mean different things to different people;
- Humans and other species both effect and are affected by the environment;
- Most “human-traits” are not unique to humans and are adaptive traits shared by other species.
The larger goal of this set of learning activities is to promote a holistic/equalistic view of the human-environment relationship by leveraging humanistic content to support learning goals in both introductory post-secondary courses and general education courses (secondary or post-secondary) in the biological sciences. The learning activities in this module are designed to be accessible to students from diverse educational backgrounds by virtue of being scalable in difficulty and drawing largely from student’s pre-existing personal experience. In addition to being scalable in difficulty, this module is scalable for varying implementation times and teaching methods.
Seth D. Bergmann
Compiler design is a subject which many believe to be fundamental and vital to computer science. It is a subject which has been studied intensively since the early 1950’s and continues to be an important research field today. Compiler design is an important part of the undergraduate curriculum for many reasons: (1) It provides students with a better understanding of and appreciation for programming languages. (2) The techniques used in compilers can be used in other applications with command languages. (3) It provides motivation for the study of theoretic topics. (4) It is a good vehicle for an extended programming project.
There are several compiler design textbooks available today, but most have been written for graduate students. Here at Rowan University, our students have had difficulty reading these books. However, I felt it was not the subject matter that was the problem, but the way it was presented. I was sure that if concepts were presented at a slower pace, with sample problems and diagrams to illustrate the concepts, that our students would be able to master the concepts. This is what I have attempted to do in writing this book.
Seth D. Bergmann
This book is intended to be used for a first course in computer programming. No prior experience with programming should be necessary in order to use this book. But this book is intended to be used with a course that teaches more than computer programming; it is intended to be used with a course that teaches Computer Science. The distinction is subtle, but important.
The author(s) believe that a breadth-first approach is the best way to introduce the concepts of Computer Science to students. Rather than isolate topics in courses (bits and bytes in a computer organization course; formal grammars and languages in a theory course; lists, sets, and maps in a data structures course; etc) we believe that topics should be introduced in a brief and simple manner at the starting level. Elaboration on these topics should occur in subsequent courses. This breadth-first approach allows the student to build on existing knowledge and retain a greater proportion of the material.