Introduction to Theatre Arts

Developed by Debra Caplan, Theatre & Fine Arts, Baruch College, CUNY

This syllabus is for Professor Caplan’s “Pathways” (CUNY’s term for general education) Introduction to Theatre Arts class. Enrollment for each section is typically 100-110 students, primarily first-semester freshmen, and primarily non-majors.

Planning this course was Professor Caplan’s first experience with developing a course that used only OER materials. In many ways, this was a natural progression for her since she had taught this course for several years without a standard textbook and using primarily zero-cost online resources. However, in the past, she always required students to buy 1-3 contemporary plays and this presented challenges (see Transitioning section, below).

The oer & Course Artifact

Introduction to Theatre Arts OER Syllabus and Open Resource List:

Professor Caplan uses an open textbook called Theatrical Worlds, edited by Charlie Mitchell and published by the University Press of Florida.

transitioning to and Teaching with oer

The challenge of developing this course into an OER course for Professor Caplan was in finding a way to restructure the course to make the reading more historical (and thus more readily accessible via sites like Project Gutenberg, another OER) and to find new resources to introduce my students to topics and trends in contemporary theatre. Professor Caplan was delighted to discover the OER textbook Theatrical Worlds while searching OER textbook repositories, saying “Theatrical Worlds covers much of the same material that I cover in my Intro to Theatre course, and I found it to be clear and informative.”

After finding Theatrical Worlds, she ended up using it to replace or augment material throughout the course that she had originally planned on keeping as is. Instead of sending students to myriad different websites and resources, Professor Caplan felt that the Theatrical Worlds textbook would give her students a central resource that they could easily refer to when studying or when they had questions. She felt that the discovery of this OER textbook ended up improving her overall course materials more than she had anticipated at the beginning of this process.

She expects that students will be very pleased to have a user-friendly OER course where the resources are easy to find and navigate, all at zero cost to them.

Faculty Information

Debra Caplan is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Baruch College.

Licensing information

The syllabus and materials for this course are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

OER - This resource can be used, modified, and redistributed freely.  The textbook linked above is an OER.