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What is an OER?
Open Educational Resources (OERs) are learning materials that are available in the public domain or have been licensed so they can be used freely by others. Faculty can incorporate all or a portion of these resources in their courses and may even be able to make modifications to better meet their desired learning outcomes.
Students and faculty benefit greatly from high quality OERs. Due to rising educational costs, many students cannot afford the prescribed textbook(s) and are coping by using borrowed books, copies placed on reserve in the library, “pirated” or out-of-date editions found on line, or just the PowerPoint slides and class notes provided by the instructor. In developing countries, where accessible education is so critical to economic development, buying new or even used textbooks is beyond the means of most students. Publishing companies have responded by providing customized and electronic books at a reduced cost, but prices are still high. This is especially true for international students who have come to study in Canada in hopes of immigrating. Many work multiple front-line jobs in the service sector to pay for their own living expenses and much higher international tuition. Faculty who take the extra time to adopt and adapt free OERs in their courses are doing these future Canadians a great service.
What is available?
This OER contains 21 modules that can be used to teach various introductory and advanced finance management courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels either on campus or online. Each module consists of an introduction, learning outcomes and a reading of approximately 30 pages, along with end-of-reading problems, detailed answer keys, and lecture slides. Case studies and online discussion are also included for use in evaluating students. Capital budgeting and cost of capital are normally taught at both the introductory and advanced levels, so two versions of the readings, slides, problems, and answer keys are provided for these modules. For the module on financial planning, videos are provided that guide students through the process of preparing pro forma financial statements.
Compared to typical finance textbooks, these modules provide a number of advantages besides cost. They are comprehensive and highly practical with applications relating to both small and large business enterprises. All modules are concisely written to better maintain the reader’s interest and allow them to cover more material at a faster pace. Headings, sub-headings, and bullet lists are used extensively so students can more easily follow topics and better retain important information. Finally, the end-of-chapter problems and case studies are extra challenging which teaches students how to better apply what they have learned.
Faculty are welcome to make any changes they wish to these materials before using them in their courses. Chapters are written from a Canadian perspective, but teachers from other countries are encouraged to re-write them to match their unique economic and business environments and then share them with their colleagues.
At Thompson Rivers University (TRU) these educational materials are used in six courses:
FNCE 2120: Financial Management
FNCE 4110: Advanced Financial Management for Accountants
FNCE 4120: Business Valuation and Corporate Restructuring
FNCE 4130: Advanced Financial Management
BUSN 6020: Corporate Finance
BUSN 6210: Advanced Corporate Finance
Each of the courses listed above is linked to an outline so users can see examples of how these modules can be combined to achieve different learning outcomes.
Some recent comments by students include:
“Dan’s text book was awesome.”
“It seems more straight forward than other textbooks.”
“It has more simple language than the regular textbook.”
“We can really relate to the Canadian examples in his book compared to the mostly American examples in the regular text.”