Do you feel your institution is ready for a move to more openness? Are there supports in place to help faculty adopt and adapt open textbooks? Are there supports in place for students? Do your senior administrators understand the value of openness?
Wow. What a great video. So much information. Well, here I am teaching in the state of Washington and I learned more about what is going on here in my own state from information shared by another country! This is what sharing is all about. This makes me realize that my institution and I are not having any meaning conversation about this. We have people informally talking about it but it is not a campus wide discussion yet.
Our state does offer classes to learn about using OER resources and I am signed up to take an online course next week but we have to get more people at our campus discussing this formally. I know teachers would be interested. But there would have to be institutional support to departments allowing instructors to work on this initiative in place of part of their teaching load and work out what that time frame would be. Of course it can be done, it just needs to get started and I am happy that Washington state is already going down this path. It will make it easier for my institution to follow along.
There are several of us from Clark College in this class and I hope that we have a chance to talk about this face to face this term. Lunch anyone?
Good for you Chris! The conversation has to start somewhere, and for many instructors, administrators and others, this is a brand new concept.
You've hit the nail on the head with your comment that departments need to allow instructors time to work on this. For that to happen, there has to be buy-in at the institution, and for that in turn to happen, we need advocates like you to tell the story of why it matters. Bravo!!!
My institution was quite literally born ready. I'm leading a group that's starting a distance learning institution called New World University that's meant for students in low and middle income countries. We know we have to keep costs as low as possible, so by design we're using textbooks that are as freely licensed as our faculty members can find. Our first programme will be a Bachelor's degree in International Business Leadership that's meant for entrepreneurs, and we're offering it with zero textbook cost to students.
That sounds great Steve! We would very much like to work some Textbook Zero scenarios into our project as well. Do you anticipate being able to find enough existing open textbooks to cover off what you need for the degree?
For those who don't know, the idea of Textbook Zero is that for an entire program, a committment is made to students that they won't have to pay for textbooks as only open resources will be used. You can read more about it here: http://www.lumenlearning.com/textbookzero. From an institutional perspective, it not only provides a significantly reduced cost to students, it also provides a marketing angle for those looking for a business case for OER.
Thanks, Mary! In the short to medium run, we're fine with what's currently available. By starting with a set of undergraduate Business programmes, we enjoy a pretty broad selection of available fairly open texts -- we have to use more NC-tagged materials than we'd like, but that can't be helped. We'll likely do a set of undergraduate programmes in ICTs next, and it should be possible to do that with what's available as well.
Institutions with a broader focus than ours would have more trouble. I can't imagine one could do an entire undergraduate programme in something like Biology or Psychology with the open texts currently available. Our movement's come far, but there's a long, long way to go.
One thing that might serve as a stopgap measure is putting together texts out of the better researched and written Wikipedia articles out there. I did a presentation on how one can do this using their Book Creator tool, and while I don't claim it's a replacement for a properly done book, in many cases it may be an approach at least worth considering.
At Simon Fraser University (SFU), I believe there is a growing awareness and critical mass being built-up around "openness". For example, in 2012 the SFU library hosted an Open Access week (http://www.lib.sfu.ca/node/11486). There is the open source PKP conferencing system (http://pkp.sfu.ca/ocs/). Recently, SFU Document Solutions was chosen as a Print on Demand node for the Open Textbook project.
In general, the JISC document on "Tips for Success" highlights a number of focus points. Two of those tips stand out to me and seems to go counter to the prevailing culture in academic:
- Create a culture of openness across the institution
- Find ways to reward and recognise staff members who create and use open educational resources
I believe if the two points above are addressed clearly and equitable, then institutional and individual adoption will be quick and easy. The first point is related to the question about support structures (technical training, time releases, student demand and usage, etc). The second point is related to motivation and long term continuity of the OER effort. Collectively, they mimic the life lesson that "motivation will get you started on something while habit and proper tools will make you continue".
In our synchronous session in the first week, Mary had mentioned the important role that Libraries and Librarians serve in the OER movement. In the third week of October, the SFU library will be hosting an Open Access Week of activities:
Open Access Week - Redefining Impact