Open Access Educational Psychology

Members of TEP SIG have repeatedly expressed frustration with the ed psych texts currently available on the market. The quality of the material is generally high, but the books themselves are far too large for the typical one-semester course, and their cost has started to seem excessive (most current major texts are prices well in excess of $100). Instructors often end up skimming, or even omitting, many chapters, and students end up resenting paying for material that is scarcely used in the course.

A partial solution to these problems exists in the form of various open-access initiatives already available online. Three of these deserve special mention:

  1. The Teaching Educational Psychology Wiki (http://teachingedpsych.wikispaces.com). This website contains several hundred class activities, course assignments, and readings suitable for teaching introductory educational psychology. All are free to download and use; they are not under any restrictive copyright. The website is sponsored by TEP SIG and managed by Kelvin Seifert (a former chair of TEP SIG) and Zsuzsanna Zsabo. This fall, Zsuzsanna is planning to involve her graduate students in assessing the quality of the materials, and in recommending revisions as needed.

  1. Educational Psychology, 3rd edition, by Kelvin Seifert and Rosemary Sutton (http://cnx.org/content/col11302/latest/). This is a textbook about introductory educational psychology that is open-access—meaning that it is available free to download by anyone, without copyright restrictions. The book is a comprehensive textbook, and it has been “modularized” by the website managers, so that instructors and students can download short individual parts that are truly useful for their local needs. The text has been peer-reviewed and revised twice, and is currently published by Connexions, a major online, open-access publisher based at Rice University in Houston. Both of the authors are former chairs of TEP SIG.

  1. The Educational Psychology Adopters Group (email: edpsych.adopters@gmail.com). This is an online discussion group focused on further reviewing and revising the content of the Seifert/Sutton Educational Psychology text. Individual instructors within the group focus on particular themes or topics (e.g. information processing theory, motivation, or assessment of learning). They gather student feedback about the topic, recommend additional open-access material to strengthen it, and where necessary write new modules or materials to supplement or replace existing text. In addition to its periodic discussions, the group is applying for funding from the Hewlett Foundation to support the posting of open-access text content about ed psych. If you are interested in participating in the discussions, send an email request to edpsych.adopters@gmail.com.

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