CNM English Instructors Create Free Online English Textbook to Save Students Money

May 10, 2017 -- A new e-textbook for English 1101 and 1102 was piloted at CNM during the 2016 Fall Term and the 2017 Spring Term and will be used again by students in the fall. The English textbook is available for free. Students can download it on their computers, tablets or smart phones.
May 10, 2017

“We started talking about such a replacement textbook during an English faculty meeting a couple of years ago and wrote it down as one of our goals,” said Jennifer Schaller, who co-wrote the book with fellow English instructor Tammy Wolf.  “We were pretty excited about providing students with a free online book that would otherwise cost $100.”

Schaller and Wolf started poring through Creative Commons-licensed English texts, which are free to the public, and pulled out chapters from each that are applicable to what CNM English students need to learn. They then revised those chapters to make them specifically geared for the CNM population and wrote new chapters for the CNM curriculum that they couldn’t find in the Creative Commons textbooks, making the online book specifically geared for the CNM population.

“Many of our 1101 and 1102 classes take a genre approach and focus on college writing, thesis development, essays, analyses, perspectives and arguments, “ Wolf said, adding that other English instructors have the option to adopt the book.

She said that after writing the book, they worked with Thomas Gallegos and Jacob Lujan in CNM’s Distance Learning department. They took the written document and enhanced it with videos, visual aids, a glossary, self-checking quizzes and CNM Glass presentations. (CNM Glass captures videos of short lectures presented by instructors who write on a tempered glass board facing those watching the video and the technology flips the image so it’s readable on the other side of the glass).

“We enhanced the overall look of the book and made it engaging for the students,” Lujan said.

The textbook is a multi-platform book distributed on the web for free that can be used on a smart phone, tablet or computer. They can also buy a paper version at the CNM bookstore for $20, if they are so inclined.

Schaller and Wolf used the e-book for the fall and spring terms in their English 1101 and 1102 classes as a pilot and expect it to be one of two primary texts that English faculty can use in their courses this fall. Two other instructors used it during the Spring Term. The book is not being used this summer while they make a few more tweaks.

Another e-textbook will be coming out shortly for criminal justice classes.