Two Marian University faculty members have released a new peer-reviewed open textbook through the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI). In “Comunidades,” authors Yuriko Ikeda, assistant professor of Spanish, and Julia Baumgardt, chair, Languages & Cultures and associate professor of Spanish, aim to teach novice-level Spanish students through the incorporation of authentic materials, cultural concepts, and real-life conversations with Spanish speakers in the American Midwest. Additionally, the book offers a suite of complementary activities and resources intended for reinforcing these concepts beyond the classroom setting.
The book was published with a Textbook Creation Grant from the PALSave: PALNI Affordable Learning program, and as an open educational resource—OER—it is entirely free to students.
About the Book
“Comunidades” is a comprehensive textbook that places a unique emphasis on the rich cultural products, practices, and perspectives of Spanish-speaking communities around the globe. Crafted to cultivate students' cultural and communicative proficiency, the text connects readers with authentic resources and real-life video conversations with native Spanish speakers, providing a genuine and immersive learning experience.
Key features include interactive activities tailored to enhance proficiency across three modes of communication—interpretive, interpersonal, and presentational. Each chapter is enriched with a diverse range of elements, including at least one Integrated Performance Assessment, exercises featuring automated feedback, and thought-provoking prompts that encourage cross-cultural comparisons through research and reflection.
“We are excited to have been able to write the textbook that we want to teach from,” says Baumgardt. Adds Ikeda, “We created Comunidades based on the financial and pedagogical needs of our students. One of the things that I like the most about the book are the student videos as they reflect the richness of the Spanish language and the cultural diversity of our students.”