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A Shoestring Grassroots Approach to Publishing an Open Educational Resource Engineering Textbook

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2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting


Virtually Hosted by the section

Publication Date

November 12, 2021

Start Date

November 12, 2021

End Date

November 13, 2021

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Paper Authors


Ivan L Guzman P.E. New York City College of Technology Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Guzman is an assistant professor at New York City College of Technology. He received his Ph.D. in Civil/Geotechnical Engineering from New York University (NYU). His research interest include transparent soils, rapid penetration into granular media, sustainability and Green Roof farms. He has over 12 years of pre-academia professional consulting experience in government and private sector projects within the fields of geotechnical, structural and environmental engineering, and construction materials testing.

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Sara Gómez Woolley New York City College of Technology

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Sara Gómez Woolley is an award-winning illustrator, graphic novelist and educator living and working in Brooklyn, NY. Her work has been recognized by the New York Society of Illustrators, the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles, and 3×3 Magazine of Contemporary Illustration. She has worked on a variety of projects for clients including DC COMICS, Image Comics, Scholastic, and Random House.

Sara is currently illustrating a Non-Fiction book for National Geographic, Pirate Queens, the Dauntless Women who dared to Rule the High Seas, due for publication in January 2022. Her most recent published work, a YA graphic novel, Wonder Woman: Warbringer, colored for DC Comics was released in January of 2020.

Sara’s ongoing personal project, a fictionalized graphic memoir, Los Pirineos the mostly true memoirs of Esperancita Gómez, was singled out for an award by the National Association of Latino Arts and Culture, the largest Latino arts organization in the US.

Sara is current illustration faculty for the City University of New York.

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The lack of affordable and accessible education is one of the major obstacles inhibiting the upward social mobility of New Yorkers from low to middle socioeconomic classes. Students from lower income, underrepresented and first-generation college households in an urban setting, are particularly affected by the rise of higher education costs, which further marginalizes the members of these communities. The availability and adoption of good quality Open Educational Resource (OER) textbooks, has the ability to significantly ease the economic burden on the student population; however, upper level engineering text books, available as OERs, are scarce and vary in quality. This case study presents a grassroots approach for the creation of a Soil Mechanics Engineering Textbook on a shoe string budget. This ongoing work is being done by putting into play an array of interdisciplinary resources, available within the New York City College of Technology and the City University of New York. These include library collaborations, communication design professionals, students, undergraduate research programs, surplus technician funds and professional community goodwill. The result is a well-rounded, visually engaging and appealing, peer reviewed OER textbook, which when published will become available free to any student and faculty member worldwide. This translates to direct savings of approximately $112 per student, at local and/or national higher education institutions that make use of the textbook for their entry level soil mechanics course. The author estimates that when adopted at the New York City College of Technology, the entire cost of publication of the textbook will be recovered through student savings within three semesters, by conservative estimates.

Guzman, I. L., & Woolley, S. G. (2021, November), A Shoestring Grassroots Approach to Publishing an Open Educational Resource Engineering Textbook Paper presented at 2021 Fall ASEE Middle Atlantic Section Meeting, Virtually Hosted by the section.

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