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Design Across the Disciplines: Learning the value of communication design through practice” is an OER (open educational resource), digital textbook under prototype testing in a media design course. The text is created in collaboration with a librarian, two faculty from different colleges and two students who have completed the course. This interdisciplinary team was formed with the directive to embrace the powers of design thinking through digital content to develop a product that truly recognizes the needs of the primary users, our students and key stakeholders, the faculty. Several semesters of student feedback provided the insights for considering textbook cost; the need for continual access to the text even after the course is completed; simplicity of use; and the need for multi-modal content. From this feedback, the design evolved to employ the chunking of content with scalable vector illustrations; limited and direct text; short, highly directive instructional videos; and assessments that provide internship and employment artifacts that are evidence of a student’s digital design capabilities. The design is a prototype in action being tested in class as well as through a research study on faculty perceptions to OER textbooks. The execution of this textbook is based not only in the empathetic approach to gathering user needs through the employment of several prototypes and observations, but also through student and faculty interviews to determine desirability, viability and feasibility conditions for success. This presentation shares what a librarian, marketing professor, design professor and graphic design student learned through a two-year process in developing a OER digital textbook.


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