Keeping Current in Contemporary Social Problems with an OER




Swink, Nathan

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



In this PowerPoint-aided session, I will discuss efforts made toward keeping course content current despite an aging OER.

In my once-a-week, 3-hour long, face-to-face Social Problems class we draw on the textbook for foundational material like general theories and historical data. Students are required to read the chapter before each class. We then begin class with a 20-minute news round-up. In the first half of the semester that round-up comes from Reuters. In the second half of the semester students (individually or in groups depending on class size) select a news source for each class period. Next, students write about what they learned in the chapter and make connections to the news of the day. After having time to organize their thoughts in writing, students share what they learned in a group conversation. Once that conversation fizzles out it is time for a quiz using Plickers Cards. Students are partnered with one other student (one group of three if there is an odd number) and given a series of 10 questions, one at a time. First, they provide an individual answer, I tell them how many have it right, then they talk it over, then they have a chance to change their answer before I give the answer and a bit of lecture on the topic. By incorporating current news and educating students about bias in reporting we are able to keep Contemporary Social Problems contemporary.