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Principles of Microeconomics - California State University Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait


Principles of Microeconomics covers the scope and sequence for a one-semester economics course. The text also includes many current examples, including the Keystone Pipeline, Occupy Wall Street, and debates over the minimum wage.

The pedagogical choices, chapter arrangements, and learning objective fulfilment were developed and vetted with feedback from educators dedicated to the project. The outcome is a balanced approach to economics and to the theory and application of economic concepts.

Economics professor Daniel MacDonald writes:

"Considering that a parsed-down ebook version of proprietary textbooks can cost upwards of $100, and considering that I teach around 60 students per quarter, I save my students roughly $6,000 per class, per quarter. I teach 4 lower-division microeconomics and macroeconomics classes per year, all of the same size, meaning that the savings to students from my adoption of the open educational resources are around $24,000 per year.

Like most instructors, I don't stick to the book completely. I have my own interests and things that I want to share with my students that may not be covered in a standard textbook. Unfortunately, too often professors or students feel bad when material from the book is not covered. Professors may feel bad because they are assigning these expensive textbooks and then not using all the material in them. Students may feel bad for similar reasons, and these reasons may be bound up in questions like "why is (he or she) teaching this when it's not in the book? Will it be on the exam?". With OpenStax, I can be clearer about the material I will and will not use from the book, because it's all free. There are no restrictions on what I "should" or "shouldn't" teach during the course. This increased freedom is a really substantial relief and it allows me to cover topics like health care in more detail without having to worry about students getting upset with me for not covering the last couple chapters of a text that they paid hundreds of dollars for.

Using the open textbook enabled me to be more flexible when designing my course. It also allowed me to bring in topical examples without needing to spend a lot of time searching outside of the textbook. By using a textbook that both I and my students were happier using, I could focus more directly on the actual content.

There is no doubt that the new textbook has raised student interest in the material and provided them with a more reliable reference point. Instead of buying earlier editions of proprietary textbooks that might be outdated or have inadequate contemporary examples, students get a high-quality learning resource.

Finally, the textbook improved the quality of my lectures and allowed me to bring in additional topics for discussion that I would not have otherwise integrated. The books did this by giving me more real-world examples and offering me the opportunity to use more material that I found interesting and useful."

Adapted from under a CC-BY licence.


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