Dr. Wan-Lin Chang
About Dr. Wan-Lin Chang
Dr. Wan-Lin Chang is an Assistant Professor and the Basic Course Director at the Department of Communication. The courses she teaches include Introduction to Communication and Interpersonal Communication at the undergraduate level and Communication Education at the graduate level. Her research interests include instructional communication, health communication, family communication, and interpersonal communication. She has several publications in peer-reviewed journals and more than 50 conference presentations.
Course Redesign Project and Experience
Dr. Chang redesigned COMM 1311: Introduction to Communication. This is one of the General Education core courses offered by the College of Liberal Arts. The Department of Communication provides 45~50 sections of COMM 1311 each academic year and averages 35 students per section.
Since COMM 1311 is a core course, enrolled students usually come from diverse economic backgrounds and have very different majors. In fact, for most of the COMM 1311 students, this is the only communication course they take throughout their higher education journey. This is not a “Major” course so most students have less incentive to spend $80~$140 on the textbook. Instead, students rely on lectures to gain the information needed for the course.
As a basic course director, Dr. Chang tried to find ways to ensure her students have access to all their course materials. With support from the Affordable Textbook Adoption Grant in Fall 2022, she completely redesigned COMM 1311 to be taught with zero-cost resources. This way, COMM1311 students can access the materials without having to worry about financial barriers. The OER not only saves more than $100K for students every year, but also fulfills the requirements of the course description as well as aligns with the learning objectives in the syllabus.
These are a few student feedback examples Dr. Chang received after she redesigned her course around zero-cost course materials.
“I think the free online textbook is great. It provides plenty of useful information about communication at no cost. The lecture recordings are great as well. They’re my favorite because sometimes certain lessons can be a little confusing, but someone explains in the lectures.” —anonymous
“I think it is very considerate that you provide a free online textbook and the recordings. With a textbook super pricy, it is hard for all students to purchase it, so I like how it is free online.” —anonymous
Overall, Dr. Chang believes that even though instructors might need to edit open textbooks to make them more concise and easier for students to follow the learning objectives in the syllabus, it helps students tremendously to access the materials without worrying about financial barriers.