College textbooks are expensive. In most industries, a more expensive product is also a higher quality one. However, in college textbook publishing this may not be true. In the following case study, an instructor at the University of Utah on the hunt for better materials for an entry-level Arabic language course came to the library looking to create a solution. This article explores the resulting workbook, the collaborative process, and the future of course materials like this one.
We have opened the General Issue for Volume 7 of the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication (JLSC), and have published 7 new articles. JLSCinvites new submissions to the journal – please see the author guidelines for details.
In celebration of international Open Education Week, SPARC teamed up on March 5th with a group of open education advocates for a day of meetings on Capitol Hill to educate lawmakers about how open textbooks can make higher education more affordable and effective for students. Our action-packed day on the Hill involved a panel briefing for Congressional staff, a meeting with long-time open textbook champion U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), and conversations with key offices on both sides of the aisle to renew and strengthen Open Textbook Pilot funding and pass the Affordable College Textbook Act.
Textbooks are so expensive that Hailey Hollinshead usually borrows from them from other students, gets used copies, and often skips buying them altogether.
So, last year when her organic chemistry professor invited students to use a free open textbook from the LibreTexts library, the 21-years-old junior at the University of Illinois Springfield was thrilled. Hollinshead didn’t have to spend $250 to $350 on a new textbook and she had access to the materials from day one.
In honor of Open Education Week, the PALSave Team would like to extend gratitude to the numerous faculty members who have taken their time to write reviews of titles in the Open Textbook Library, which is the collection of open textbooks maintained by the Open Textbook Network. These titles offer a glimpse into the breadth of subjects in the Library. The reviews provided by PALNI-supported faculty will benefit others considering open textbooks.
Have a look!
From Kenneth C. Green in Digital Tweed/Inside Higher Ed:
It’s time to add OER – Open Education Resources – to a list of technologies (or technology resources) that might really be a catalyst for major change in higher education. Admittedly, it is still very early days here – the front end of the Gardner Hype Cycle fueled initially by the Peak of Inflated Expectations, followed by the Trough of Disillusionment, which leads into the Slope of Enlightenment, until we arrive at the Plateau of Productivity. (Remember the NY Times declaration that 2012 was the “Year of the MOOC?”) We’re a long way from the plateau with OER.
The basic OER arguments, offered with great passion by OER advocates and evangelists, are compelling. First, commercial textbooks are expensive. Second, OER offers a seemingly pragmatic strategy to provide “Day One” access to core course materials for students in critical gateway courses. And third, the absence of copyright and related clearance issues means that OER provides significant flexibility for faculty as they select and mix curricular materials from various sources for their syllabi.
Last year, when Congress authorized a second round of $5 million in federal funding for programs that support open educational resources, senators included explicit instructions to the Department of Education, which administers the grant program:
Conduct a new competitive process for grant applications in 2019.
Disperse funds among at least 20 proposals, rather than devoting $5 million to one program, as happened last fall.
But the department appears to have gone in a different direction. Earlier this year, it quietly awarded $2.5 million to each of two applicants from last year’s submission pile. This year’s winning programs are based at Chippewa Valley Technical College and Arizona State University, according to representatives of both institutions.
Whether you are starting to get interested in OER or you already have a team in place, this workshop will help your institution take the next step in affordable learning. Campus OER advocates and teams can use this an opportunity to ask questions of Open Textbook Network leadership and address barriers.
If you came in November, feel free to attend again! Your discussion will shape the content of the workshop, and you can also tell us what you hope to learn on the registration form.
See the invite below (which may be extended to your campus partners such administrators, instructional designers, bookstore managers, centers for teaching an learning, etc.).
PALNI campuses are affiliate members of the Open Textbook Network (OTN) through PALSave, and we’d like to invite you to a workshop with OTN’s leadership to learn about developing successful Open Educational Resource (OER) programs on your campus.