Advanced study of the literature of Spanish America from Colonial to Contemporary periods

Purpose: to help other instructors teaching the same course

Common Course ID: SPANISH 6630
CSU Instructor Open Textbook Adoption Portrait

About the Course

Advanced study of the literature of Spanish America from Colonial to Contemporary periods (SPANISH 6630)

Brief Description of course highlights:  

Advanced study of the literature of Spanish America from Colonial to Contemporary periods (3 units): This seminar explored the novella narrative genre as practiced by Latin American authors of the twentieth century. It will highlight the recurrent thematic concerns and narrative strategies of the modern Latin American novella. We will develop an understanding of this genre through close, selective readings of chosen texts and cultural context. Formerly SPAN 651 A-D. \ Semester Prerequisite: Graduate standing and SPAN 6606, or consent of the graduate committee.

Student population:

All of the students are first year or second year graduate level and are working toward getting their Spanish M.A. offered by the Department of World Languages and Literatures. The majority of the students are pursuing to teach Spanish at the secondary level. The students come from a wide range of socio-economic demographics.  Prerequisites: Graduate standing and SPAN 6606, or consent of the graduate committee. 

Learning or student outcomes: 

Upon successful completion of the course the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a sound general understanding of the development and defining features of the novella in Latin America. 
  • Show a detailed knowledge of the texts, their recurrent thematic concerns and narrative techniques. 
  • Analyze selected texts, showing an awareness of their relation to the cultural contexts in which they were produced, and present critical results orally and in writing where appropriate. 
  • Evaluate and apply a range of critical approaches to the material covered independently. 

Key challenges faced and how resolved

Besides the time spent searching for the texts online, I didn’t really experience other challenges. Sometimes an OER text would not have a properly legible font but that was easily fixable.  

Syllabus and/or Sample assignment from the course or the adoption [optional]:

About the Resource/Textbook 

Textbook or OER/Low cost Title: 


Student access:  

Most students accessed the texts three ways: by hyperlinks on the course syllabus, PDFs on Blackboard website, and by, an app I used to deliver content in a more design and user-friendly way. 

Cost Savings:

I have no data about the cost of materials previously used. However, students, during the implementation of Affordable Solutions Program in my course, paid nothing. I estimate, nevertheless, that students would have had to pay around $150.00 each given the number of novels we read (ten). Thus, overall, the class in total saved around $2,000 

OER/Low Cost Adoption

OER/Low Cost Adoption Process

Provide an explanation or what motivated you to use this textbook or OER/Low Cost option. 

I wanted to save students money and improve their retention and success in the course, for the cost of books/textbooks is a rather big financial burden on them.

How did you find and select the open textbook for this course? 

I spent countless hours browsing a myriad of websites until I found ones that I thought would be an ideal fit for my class. Having identified an OER text, I continued to search for other versions of it until I found the one with the best quality.

What did you change as part of the OER adoption?

I did not change anything.

Teaching and Learning Impact

  • Do you collaborate more with other faculty now or use a broader range of teaching materials and methodologies, etc.? Yes.  I now use a wider array of internet-based resources.  I have also discussed teaching materials with my colleagues who also use OER texts.
  • Have student grades improved or stayed the same? I cannot say with certainty. 
  • Did student retention improve? Yes, it did. I had 100%. 
  • Did you experience any unintended results? What were they? No.

Student Feedback or Participation

Students were rather grateful for my having provided all texts for the class free of charge. It was remarked on several occasions by multiple students.

Sharing Best Practices: 

I would say that one has to have an open mind and be flexible when searching for texts, for sometimes one might not find that specific text(s).

About the Instructor

Esteban Córdoba

California State University, San Bernardino