|When we started to build a 3-course curriculum for heritage learners at Ohio State University, Stacey and I began researching textbooks for the lower division course. As we looked for different textbooks, we realized that the experiences of students in Ohio or the Midwest were not reflected in the content of the books that were available. Even more, we wanted to build something new, innovative, and free for our students, using digital projects already publicly available online. Mi idioma, mi comunidad: español para bilingües, is an open-access textbook that uses podcasts, videos, neighborhood maps, and music, to promote interactive exploration of culturally relevant content while supporting students’ language maintenance, growth, and pride. The content centers on students’ experiences with language, identity, and belonging in the Midwest through real-world applications. It uses a project-based approach that engages students in real-life applications by exploring culturally diverse topics in language use, arts, festivals, food, ethnography, oral history, digital lives, and the university. The textbook is divided into an introduction and eight chapters and we featured different projects to raise awareness of other resources available about Latinx communities in the Midwest. As we write in the book: “El Midwest muchas veces no se percibe como parte de esta historia porque se localiza más al norte. Sin embargo, las poblaciones latinas en el Midwest tienen una larga y diversa historia. Por esta razón, decidimos enfocarnos en las comunidades de estados como Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Kansas y Ohio, las cuales muchas veces no son representadas en los libros de texto, y mucho menos en la cultura popular. Esto nos animó a recuperar el legado encontrado en espacios más íntimos como las historias familiares, las celebraciones, organizaciones comunitarias y documentos oficiales poco explorados.” A few universities have used the textbook and some instructors have chosen a chapter or two from it to use in their classes. The book offers many possibilities for integrating it into your classes in the way that fits your schedule and students best. |
We received support from the Office of Distance Education (ODEE) and E-learning at Ohio State and used the Pressbooks platform to build the book. The support from ODEE is part of an initiative to increase text affordability on our campus, and one way to this is by creating OER. In addition to affordability, OER helped us to develop a project-based approach. Having all of our content available digitally allows for courses to be easily adapted to an online format. We came to appreciate the need more fully for increased accessibility during the COVID-19 pandemic. We do recommend that the book is used on the website, because all the interactive features are available there. You may download it as a PDF, but the interactive features will take you back to the website. We welcome your questions if you may be interested in adopting our textbook as well as feedback as we continue to make improvements in the future.