Melody Yunzi Li; Katherine Carter; and Ariana Santiago

We started contemplating on this project in the summer of 2022. The idea is a result of multifold: 1) I’ve always been interested in e-publishing and want to contribute to it. 2) In 2022, I published an edited volume Affective Geographies and Narratives of Chinese Diaspora, published by Palgrave MacMillan.  3) I am a big advocate for students’ works. I am always amazed at some good-quality work of my students and would like to promote it to the world. The OER platform is perfect, as it would take a much shorter time for their work to reach the world. I would like them to produce something they are proud of and can share with their friends and family when they get out of my class. All these points led us to start brainstorming this project in summer 2022.

This course, “CHIN/WCL 3342: Tales of East Asian Cities,” already has a good structure for a book. I have divided the course contents into six major cities in East Asia, including Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, and Seoul, with us covering a new city every two weeks. I replaced the original final project with anOER project, which is the biggest assignment and assessment for the class. The course contents have determined the OER book format easily: that the chapters are named after the cities and each chapter includes an introduction of the city coauthored by the group, as well as their individual sections that involve critical analysis of the literature and films of that city. And I redesigned the weekly contents toward this goal. In the beginning of the semester, we have students sign up for each city and group them according to the cities. Students of each city present the history, tourist attractions, and other media information related to the city every two weeks. Every couple of weeks, we have students learn about OER knowledge and concepts, and we work on creating the OER book in Pressbooks with OER librarians Ariana and Kate. We were hoping through this project for students to not only obtain the critical analytical skills but also learn about e-publishing, Pressbooks, and copyright. Most importantly, through this project, they have learned to work with each other as a group and as a class, which they did not get to do as much during the pandemic.

I am excited to see the final product and am very proud of it. First of all, even though some students found the assignment confusing in the beginning, as it’s the first time we are trying this out, in the end, everyone followed the format and chapter guidelines nicely. Second, many of the students’ works are amazing, not only exposing the readers to the new media and literature that are worth reading and watching, but also demonstrating interesting, in-depth discussions. Third, the book has shown students’ intense interest in the subjects they pick, as well as the group work and self-learning they have put in. It really looks good as a student-authored e-book. I think this will inspire other educators and students to adapt the model and produce more e-books. Meanwhile, this OER publishing format allows us to share works faster and more conveniently than the traditional form, enabling many more to benefit from our work.

– Dr. Melody Yunzi Li


Working with Dr. Li’s class on this project was an exciting opportunity as our first collaboration to support an open pedagogy assignment, one that “engages students in using, reusing, revising, remixing and redistributing open content.” The timing worked out perfectly, as our capacity to support open education increased with Kate joining Ariana in the library’s OER team. From the very beginning of this project, we felt it was important to center student rights and privacy, and used the list of key questions to consider around licensing issues, provided by the Rebus Foundation, as a guide when planning aspects of the assignment. The questions include:

  • “Can students in your class project choose whether to openly license their work or not?”
  • “How do students want to be cited and attributed in their work and future derivatives?”
  • “What if they do not want to be cited at all and prefer to be anonymous or keep their work private?”; and several more.

These questions strongly influenced the collaboration on this project, and led to our developing processes for students to 1) decide whether or not they want to openly-publish their work, 2) select which license to apply to their work, if they publish openly, and 3) determine how they want to be attributed in the work, including options to be attributed anonymously or with a pseudonym. We strived for, and hope we lived up to, this “informed open pedagogy” approach throughout the rewarding experience of seeing students’ efforts come to life and be shared with a broader audience. This was a great learning experience for us and we look forward to continuing to support faculty and students in their creative and innovative open assignments.

– Kate McNally Carter and Ariana Santiago


Book cover photographs taken by Joseph Poon and used with permission.


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CHIN/WCL 3342: Tales of East Asian Cities Copyright © 2022 by Melody Yunzi Li; Katherine Carter; and Ariana Santiago is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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