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Open Educational Resources

SOC 435: Social Psychology

Amara Miller's Open Educational Resources Adoption Portrait

Abstract: These open course materials are being utilized in an undergraduate Sociology course by Amara Miller at Cal State East Bay. These resources provide students with multiple ways to engage with free materials that are available through the use of instructor generated content, external websites and our library . The main motivation to adopt free resources is to increase student success while lessening the financial burden to students . All student access the open these materials through our learning management system, Blackboard.

COOLforED is a service of the California State University-MERLOT program.
Partial funding provided by the State of California, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundationand the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Questions? Email cool4ed@cdl.edu

About the Resources


Description: Using more affordable learning materials allows my students to focus on reading, rather than become stressed about additional costs. This helps create a more equitable classroom space, where folks who come from poorer backgrounds are able to spend their time and energy learning course content without additional burdens, like having to go to the library to use a shared resource for free. Instead, all my students are able to access the course content easily through the online library system, Blackboard, or the web.

Formats: My course uses a mix of academic articles, chapter excerpts from books, as well as online news articles and/or podcasts. All content is available through our Blackboard LMS which provides various formats of PDFs, web articles, etc. through the use of the Blackboard Ally tool. These resources can be downloaded to students personal devices.

Supplemental resources: I recommend a variety of additional academic work throughout the term for those who would like a deeper dive into various fields of research.

Cost savings: This course is zero cost to students and has saved an average of $42 per student.

Accessibility and diversity statement: I chose accessible and free materials for this course. All videos are captioned and all uploaded content can be accessed in various formats through the use of the Blackboard Ally accessibility tool.

About the Course


Course Number: SOC 435: Social Psychology

Description:  Examines the relationship between the individual and society. Emphasis on scientific study of the social behavior and experiences stemming from individuals’ participation in social groups, interaction with others, and the effects of the cultural environment and social structures on individuals.

Prerequisites: None

GE credit: This is not a GE course

Syllabus available here: Here is a link to the course syllabus. 

Learning outcomes:
1. Explain how the fields of social psychology, sociology, and psychology differ in their approach even when studying the same social phenomena

2. Summarize fundamental theories in social psychology regarding the nature of the psyche/self, including socialization, dramaturgy, and network theory, and be able to apply these concepts to class case studies as well as your own life experiences

3. Recognize forms of intergroup discrimination that contribute to social inequalities and stigmatization

4. Explain how our psyches are shaped by broader social structures, including privilege, conformity, and obedience, by using these concepts to analyze contemporary events

Curricular changes: The course objectives stayed the same.

Teaching and learning impacts:
Collaborate more with other faculty : No, this process was done on my own


Use wider range of teaching materials: Yes.


Student learning improved : Yes


Student retention improved : Unsure


Any unexpected results: N/A

Sample assignment: 

OER Adoption

OER Adoption Process

I chose accessible and free materials to fit the various topics covered in the class as well as case studies we look at. Typically each unit has some foundational academic work as well as contemporary cases in the form of news articles or podcasts. I have found that this engages students more deeply with the academic material we study and makes the material more relevant to their lives and the contemporary moment.

CSUEB has been very supportive of my adoption of affordable materials. They make it easy for students to identify affordable classes when building their schedules, and on my end have worked with me to provide support to ensure my class is still academically rigorous and accessible for students.

Student access: I typically upload pdfs of all academic work (articles, book chapters) to the Blackboard site directly for them to download, and they can also access the articles through the library system if they wish. For other content like news articles or podcasts, I provide a link in the syllabus that allows them to access the reading/podcast through a web browser.

Student Feedback: Students have reported anything specifically about the resources used in this course. 


Amara Miller

I teach multiple courses in the Sociology Department at the Cal State East Bay including Social Psychology, Research Methods, Popular Culture and the Sociology Capstone Project course.


Teaching Philosophy: As an educator, I seek to challenge my students’ preconceived ideas about the world and about themselves. I consider education to be a means of liberation, by which we can empower individuals and communities, providing shared understandings and a common language to better negotiate the power relations we are all enmeshed within. I encourage my students to engage in critical thinking, to be compassionately curious, and to develop their sociological imaginations so they can understand the influence of history, biography, and social structure on their lives. By doing so, I hope to prepare them to engage in actively shaping the organizations/institutions they are involved with in ways that produce more socially just and equitable outcomes for themselves and others. As a scholar, my research agenda explores mechanisms and impacts of cultural and social change, with an emphasis on how power relations and inequality regimes give rise to and ultimately constrain movements for social justice and equity. My main areas of focus are cultural sociology as well as social movements and complex organizations, with broader interests in post/colonialism, bodies/embodiment, feminist theory, critical race theory, religion & identity, social psychology, digital media technologies, and historical/field methods.