Open Textbook Mashup

Introduction to Open Textbooks – let’s hear from inspirational teachers, researchers, students, policy makers and advocates in the US and Canada.

I have been following these open textbook initiatives for a number of years now, and the books you see photographed in this video are from BCcampus and OpenStax. Other excellent sources of open textbooks include the Open Textbook Library and for books specifically relating to international relations please visit E-International Relations. Further open content textbooks can be accessed from Wikibooks.

Why this video now?
I am worried about the plight of our students. The National Union of Students have reported on the rising costs of university in terms of tuition fees and living expenses, alongside the escalating costs of essential study items such as books. I wrote previously how my students were spending between £300 and £900 on books, and one of their major concerns was echoed by a UMU student in this film – that often they purchase expensive books that the teacher / professor / faculty member then does not even use.

Last summer I was struck by one student who had secured a dream placement at a local children’s hospital. Students on professional healthcare courses such as these do not have the long vacations in which to earn extra cash. This individual was holding down four part-time jobs to support their studies. I was devastated to hear that they had not passed their modules and the placement opportunity was suspended. I cannot imagine such pressures of having to earn money, study and have my career aspirations in the balance all at the same time. I decided then to start raising awareness about open textbooks and linked in with the National Union of Students (NUS) #cutthecosts campaign. I started up @UK_SWOT to promote ‘Success With Open Textbooks’.

Introducing open textbooks!
I participated in #OpenLearning17 last week and was very much inspired by Steve Greenlaw’s sessions on open educational resources (OER). The live webinars and recordings provided were excellent – some of which you see in my video, although it does not do justice to the depth of discussion and debate from last week. (Thank you Steve!). The video I hope serves as an introduction to open textbooks – what they are, what are the benefits to learners, emerging pedagogies and the results of evaluations.

References and attributions

Student debt data:
Science textbook costs – Viv’s own data Textbooks cost whaaaat?

National Union of Students 2015 – “Debt in the first degree” report available via this blog post: https://www.nus.org.uk/en/news/debt-in-the-first-degree-9k-fee-graduates-dissatisfied-with-degrees/

Star performers:

Dr Kelly Damphousse, University of Oklahoma
Featuring OpenStax.org books, Feb 2nd 2014,

Kelly is editor of the OpenStax “Introduction to Sociology” textbook and in the video talks about his rising concerns about student study costs. The book is a wonderful collaboration by authors and reviewers across a number of institutions. One of the Amazon reviews of this book captures everything:

“I am so thankful that so many professors are switching to OpenStax textbooks. Written, in my opinion, more clearly than some of the textbooks that cost all four limbs, OpenStax has given me access to an affordable education without a sacrifice in quality or understanding”. (16th November 2016)

Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education SPARC
Feb 18th 2012, CC BY

Nicole is a wonderful advocate of open education and leads international debate to put open education in the spotlight. Her blog summarises some of her incredible work influencing US education policy that has been seminal in enabling open textbook adoption in US schools, colleges and universities at such a scale.

Mary Burgess, Executive Director BCcampus
Filmed at 2015 #OpenEd converence, Vancouver
Jan 16th 2015, CC BY

Mary is Executive Director at BCcampus which leads open education initiatives across post-secondary institutions in Canada. The growing collection of Open Textbooks are widely adopted across 32 institutions, and Mary’s work at BCcampus also includes the publication of accessibility toolkits and a range of guidelines for institutions and authors.

John Hilton III, Brigham Young University
Video by Steve Greenlaw for #OpenLearning17
March 21st 2017
(Note – John is live-broadcasting top right – photographs on the slides are of co-authors).

John is a seminal scholar in this field and was awarded the Open Education Consortium’s 2017 “Excellence in Research Award”. He has conducted several evaluations of the impact of open textbooks on student learning and their wider education experiences. As part of the Open Ed Group he has established a useful research framework for academics (COUP) and the group website provides details of on-going and published work.

Kelley Swenson, Molly Miller and Steve Greenlaw (moderator)
University of Mary Washington, 27th May 2016
Series of 6 videos here including no. 3 Student Panel.

Steve is a Professor of Economics at the University of Mary Washington and he shared this student panel video as part of OER Week for the #OpenLearning17 course. He is a critical friend of the open education movement and conducts his own research into the effectiveness of open texts. He has co-authored OpenStax texts on Macroeconomics and Economics and in this video here (Textbook Hero) he describes the authoring and collaborative processes experienced in producing the books. (Note to self – good topic for next open textbook video). I really liked the student contributions to the debate as they echoed some of the thoughts of my own students around the purchase of books that are then not embedded within classes.

Amanda Coolidge, BCcampus
Filmed at 2015 #OpenEd15 converence, Vancouver
January 12th 2016, CC BY

The #OpenEd15 crew in Vancouver filmed a number of videos which are all worth a view. Amanda is a Senior Manager within the BCcampus team and is a real champion of open textbooks. She has co-authored guidelines and other materials for those wishing to author open textbooks – Open Textbook Authoring Guide  and in 2016 she was selected to be an Institute for Open Leadership Fellow to contribute to discussions on policies and practices around openness.

Dr Robin DeRosa, Plymouth State University
Filmed at UMW OER Summit 2016
May 27th 2016
Series of 6 videos here and you may need to select No. 6 featuring Robin.

Robin is a Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Plymouth State University. She is editor of an open-access journal Hybrid Pedagogy, and combined with her regular blogging in the field of digital and critical pedagogies,  she provides a much respected critical voice which is helping shape the open education movement. In her video which was part of a UMW event in 2016 she describes how the co-authoring of open texts empowered her students, and how the open textbook can be and should be re-imagned beyond being a replacement for a traditional book.

 

Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani, Kwantlen Polytechnic
Filmed at BC Institute of Technology, Feb 26th 2016
CC BY

I do insult to Rajiv here in snipping out just a short statement about the need to raise awareness of open textbooks, from what was a superb hour long presentation on the future of open education hosted by David Porter at the BC Institute of Technology. Rajiv is author of several open textbooks including Research Methods in Psychology (for BCcampus), Principles of Social Psychology (for BCcampus) and has contributed to the psychology-based NOBA Project. Rajiv is a passionate advocate of open, a researcher and recipient of notable awards and fellowships, as outlined on his blog ThatPsychProf.com.