Collaboration leads to cost savings

By Mark Gunderman

An open nursing textbook project in Wisconsin leads to a new chapter in learning.

A Chippewa Valley Technical College-led effort that resulted in the recent publication of the first open education resource (OER) nursing textbook has saved students money, not only at CVTC, but at other Wisconsin technical colleges as well.

The electronic version of the textbook, “Nursing Pharmacology,” became available in June and the print version on Aug. 2. It has been adopted by CVTC and three other state technical colleges. It is expected to be adopted by the entire Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and by colleges across the country in the coming years. The textbook is the first of five nursing textbooks to be developed by the project, which is made possible by a $2.5 million U.S. Department of Education grant involving all 16 WTCS institutions, with CVTC as the lead institution.

Nursing students from throughout the country will be able to save thousands of dollars on textbooks as a result of the project.

Five developing authors, 13 contributors, 32 national peer reviewers and an advisory committee collaboratively created the textbook under the leadership of the CVTC Open RN team. CVTC nursing instructor Kim Ernstmeyer was the lead author. In addition to including current, evidence-based content, online learning activities have also been incorporated into the textbook that encourages students to apply content and make clinical judgments typically required during patient care.

Since the book was published, there have been over 8,000 international users of the free e-book and more than 300 downloads of the pdf version by over 200 colleges and universities. The textbook has also been uploaded to LibreTexts for easy remixing by faculty, and an affordable print version is available to students in college bookstores and on Amazon.

The book also has earned the Best OER Award of Excellence from Open Education Global, a non-profit supporting the development and use of open education around the world.

“The Open RN team is honored to receive the Best OER Award for Excellence,” Ernstmeyer said. “We look forward to impacting even more students and faculty as additional Open RN textbooks are published. Creating high-quality open educational resources takes a village of developing authors, contributors, peer reviewers and advisory committee members.”

“Not only will students see a financial benefit as a result of this project, they will benefit from an educational perspective as well,” said Shelly Olson, CVTC dean of health and emergency services. “This is an innovative and best-practice education, designed and reviewed by faculty throughout the state. It is a real collaborative effort to help strengthen our curriculum.”

The Open RN team also responded to the COVID-19 crisis by uploading over 120 OER nursing simulation videos to the Open RN YouTube channel. These videos were created previously by a separate grant project led by CVTC. Many have already been remixed into new online OER learning activities aligned with the Open RN textbooks.

With the videos available on YouTube, faculty anywhere can remix them into remote learning activities substituted for clinical courses affected by COVID closures. To date, there are 82 Open RN YouTube channel subscribers and almost 18,000 views of the OER simulation videos.

The Open RN team is currently developing two additional textbooks, “Nursing Skills” and “Nursing Fundamentals,” that will be published in summer 2021. The final two textbooks, “Nursing Mental Health” and “Nursing Management,” are slated for publication in Summer 2022.

This story originally appeared here.

Mark Gunderman

is a communications specialist with Chippewa Valley Technical College in Wisconsin.