Tammy Faux, chair of the Wartburg College Department of Social Work, has received a $3,000 grant to develop open resource instructional materials for an undergraduate social work research course.  


The grant was funded through the Iowa Private Academic Libraries (IPAL) Open Educational Resources Project, which received money from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund. Faux’s project was one of 38 from 15 different schools funded during the first round.  

Open educational resources (OER) are materials in any medium that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license for use in teaching, learning and research. These resources can be used with no or limited restrictions.  

“Our social work faculty have noticed an increase in students not having required textbooks at the beginning of the semester and an increase in students who never purchase the textbooks. Students who rely on sharing books end up not having time to read the materials in a timely manner, have less access to taking notes and often do not review materials before exams or projects are due,” Faux said. “Another barrier to learning is the use of rented, digital format textbooks that must be returned at the end of the semester or sometimes before the semester is over.”   

The open resource materials Faux has developed will allow students to bookmark, save and reuse them during future classes, in their portfolios and in their professional work.  

“Switching to OER materials for my research course is about more than just cost, though. Traditional research textbooks haven’t changed much in the 25 years I have been teaching, but the field of social work and what students need to know about research as social workers has changed quite a lot,” Faux said. “Students entering the workforce now need to know about evidence-based practice, but current textbooks don’t seem to be covering this critical area, and when they are covering it, there is little information about assessing services to diverse populations.” 

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