Choose your own adventure with OER

This post was written by Angie Williamson, Program Coordinator (Open Education) at Deakin University Library. A member of the CAUL Enabling the Modern Curriculum (EMC) Advocacy Project team, Angie is one of the expert co-facilitators lined up for our upcoming EMC Melbourne workshop. For more OER learnings register for the workshop or the online Conference sessions.

Flag with "Explore" written on it as a call to action for OER engagement.

The possibilities of OER

Often when open educational resources (OER) are discussed the focus is on open textbooks.  Open textbooks can greatly impact a student’s learning by increasing access, increasing student satisfaction, and strengthening student success (Colvard, 2018). All of which is amazing but there is so much more to OER than just free textbooks!

"OER are teaching, learning and research materials in any medium – digital or otherwise – that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions” (UNESCO, 2017).

If we frame OERs as “teaching, learning and research materials”, OER encompasses multiple and diverse resource types. Think of the types of resources that you use in teaching – videos, review questions, presentations, infographics, simulations and associated ancillary activities to name a few. The formats of OER cover a whole range of resource types that can be used in inventive and engaging ways to support the learning needs of students. Additionally, as the UNESCO definition outlines, creative commons licences mean you can also adapt resources to the format that best suits your teaching. If a text is more in depth than you need, revise it to an infographic or a set of slides (with an attribution). This flexibility is what makes OER so useful and an invaluable treasure for teaching.

Imagination, pedagogy and participation

A step into the world of OER may lead to a personal journey shaped by your teaching philosophy. Exploring OER can be a beginning, maybe leading to the adoption of a resource, such as a textbook. This flip to an open textbook with creative commons licencing might nudge your imagination to create videos or animations or quizzes if they haven’t already been made. These newly created supporting resources in varying formats can then be shared as OER. Your work would then become part of assisting others using the open textbook for teaching. A supportive circle of reciprocal teaching practice!

In searching for resources for your specific need, you might find a textbook to adapt or even create your own using a variety of open resources. There are so many teaching opportunities that can be developed utilising open resources within the context of your pedagogical paradigm that can enhance student learning and interactions.

Participation in revising or creating OER is not limited to teachers, students can create too. Consider learning activities enabled by OER or the co-creation of open resources with students as part of their learning or assessment. The Creative Commons licences enable revision and adaption of open resources and learning activities can be designed to make use of this. Students could comment on open textbook chapters using a web annotator or could peer review, create question banks or diagrams based on an open text, developing lifelong learning skills while gaining an understanding of open practices such as attribution. Student assignments could even form part of an openly published text. With creativity and using open resources, teacher-student collaborations can produce innovative resources grounded in open educational practice for use by the wider community.

Multiple OER formats for new content creation and revision + the diversity of existing OER you can adapt = the application of open educational practice is only limited by your imagination.

Where to start on your OER journey

Start with exploring some platforms – you never know what you might find. Places to look for OER include:

  • OER Commons or MERLOT are both good starting points. Search for your topic and use the limiters to refine the material type if you need a particular format of resource.
  • Mason OER Metafinder has a real-time federated search which means it will search across multiple OER sources at the same time.
  • OAsis is an online open access repository where you can search over 100 sources for various resource types.

For ideas in open pedagogy and practice, have a look at the Open Pedagogy Notebook, Extending Into the Open or the Open Pedagogy Project Roadmap.

My key take-away for you

No two paths into open will be the same but the journey will be an adventure.

References and attribution

  • Colvard, N. B., Watson, C. E., & Hyojin, P. (2018). The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics. International Journal of Teaching & Learning in Higher Education, 30(2), 262-276.
  • UNESCO. (2017). Second world OER congress Ljubljana oer action plan 2017. 2nd World Open Educational Resources (OER) Congress, Ljubljana.
  • Explore photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Community, collaboration and capability building: The OER Collective Community Day

Last week, CAUL launched the OER Collective with an inaugural Community Day for academics and library staff at 30 participating universities across Australia and New Zealand.

Highlights of the day included:

  • The Open Textbooks 101 session, which explore the basics of OERs generally and open textbooks specifically – what they are, how they work and the key benefits to academics, students and libraries.
  • A keynote from Amy Hofer, Statewide Open Education Program Director for Open Oregon. Amy provided lots of practical advice on how we can collaboratively push forward the open textbook agenda.
  • A panel discussion on open textbook advocacy, featuring academics and librarians from across Australia and New Zealand.
  • An extended Q&A session with a panel of experienced open practice librarians.

The event also featured short presentations about the OER Collective, including:

  • An overview of the Collective model
  • An introduction to the Communities of Practice
  • An introduction to the Collective Publishing Workflow and the documentation to support it
  • An introduction to the Collective Grants Program (EOIs now open!).

We had lots of great feedback:

This has been fantastic and inspirational. Thanks so much to all who ran it and contributed their knowledge on this topic.

I am very new to this space, so the sessions today have been a fantastic introduction to the world of OERs. The posting of links to resources that were being discussed throughout the sessions was super helpful. Thanks so much for organising the session and I’ll definitely be checking out the CAUL OER guide and joining the CoP.

Terrific, informative, collegial day today!

We can’t wait to do it again next year, but in the mean time, you can catch up on the event via the recording. The recording includes bookmarks so you can jump between the sessions.

You can also find a document containing all the links that were shared in the chat during the event on the event listing on the CAUL website.

Even if your institution isn’t participating in the Collective, there is lots of useful information and inspiration in the recording.

A huge big thank you to the OER Collective Project Team, particularly Tahnee Pearse, Fiona Tyson, Jaime Royals and Richard Levy, who all worked hard to bring the day together. Thanks also to our speakers and panelists, and CAUL’s Engagement & Administration Officer Cicy Zheng. Finally, a big thanks to the 300+ registrants who signed up for the event and joined us at various points during the day. The conversation in the chat was fantastic, and it was so good to see so many people together, furthering the conversation about open textbooks.

Why I started writing an open text and why I’m glad I did!

This post was written by Dr Bronte van der Hoorn, Senior Lecturer (Project Management), University of Southern Queensland

What academic has time to write an open text? Here’s why I embarked on writing my open text – it’s about using visuals in management – and why I’m glad I did.

Who is willing to print a colour book?

Central to my open text is a catalogue of visual diagrams, and these visuals had to be produced in colour. Mainstream publishers are nervous about colour-print runs, particularly if the potential readership is (relatively) small, and the market (and author!) untested. Incorporating colour diagrams was no problem for University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Open Educational Practice!

Diagram representing building with five pillars. Pillar one states 'values first project.' Pillar  two states ' company restructure.' Pillar three states 'customer first training.' Pillar four states 'ICT refresh project and pillar five states back to market project.'
Diagram with arrow in center and six arrows pointing at diagram. It is a depiction of KPIs for a fictitious organisation. It includes KPIs such as 24 hour call center, 25% frontline staff increase

My book’s usefulness relied on the reader downloading files

My reader would get maximum value from the book by downloading and adapting the visuals for their own work. Sure, mainstream publishing can set-up a website for such ‘add ons’, but with an open text the downloads could be embedded in the book, thereby providing a fully integrated experience for the reader. 

I wanted to give back to my research participants

Recruiting research participants is never easy. I always feel bad that I’m asking participants to volunteer their time for very little personal benefit. It’s not that the participants’ input doesn’t result in research outputs. But my research participants don’t share the same view as Q1 journal editors in terms of what constitutes a worthy ‘contribution’. An open text was a way to communicate my research in a way that could make a difference to practice.

Students want a take-away from their study

My current students get access to lots of eBooks and journal articles, and for many the loss of access to these resources at time of graduation is cause for disappointment. When I chose to publish an open text, I knew that at least this course resource would be accessible for students post-study – and they could share it with colleagues who weren’t students as well! 

As I started writing, I was also surprised about some unexpected advantages of open text publishing…

An unexpected level of interactivity

As I started writing my open text, I came across multimedia content that would make the book more engaging. The amazing USQ Open Educational Practice team encouraged me to make use of Pressbooks multimedia and H5P capabilities and embedded videos in the volume and created dynamic hover-overs to enable interactive annotation of each visual, that helps make the book’s content clearer. The book also incorporates a H5P slider preview that enables the reader to quickly flick through each visual – that’s not possible in a hardcopy publication! 

A screen capture of an interactive H5P object in the textbook. It depicts change over time.

Connecting me to academia

I was always committed to my open text project but my excitement when my ‘writing’ day came around each week surprised even me. Any academic knows the competing demands we face and that finding time to write an open text isn’t easy amongst the pressure to produce top quartile articles, teaching duties, and never-ending admin requests. 

However, I found this project to be refreshingly different to my other academic (and admin) work! My open text was a space for me to express my passion for the topic in a manner that accurately represented my ideas and made them accessible for my target reader. And this was a novel luxury! I acknowledge here that the USQ Open Educational Practice team were abundantly accommodating of my vision, they trusted me as the content expert to make design decisions (another delightful novelty!) and worked tirelessly to see my vision come to life. 

It was during the writing of my open text that I have felt most ‘academic’. Not ‘academic’ in a theoretical, distant, clinical way – but in the way I had hoped academia would be; I was making accessible a topic that I continue to learn (research) about and was helping others to learn and grow interest and capability in that area too – not just in my classrooms, but hopefully beyond.

Call for participation: PhD research project on open textbook publishing programs at Australian universities

This post is written by Samara Rowling, PhD Candidate, Editing & Publishing, University of Southern Queensland. Email: samara.rowling2@usq.edu.au

Why research open textbook publishing programs at Australian universities?

While as many of you will be aware, there’s already a growing body of research on open educational practice (OEP) and open educational resource (OER) use in Australian higher education, little research has been conducted on open textbook publishing activities and experiences at Australian universities. Most existing research on open textbook publishing focuses on the international context (e.g. North America), where differences in funding and legislative support affect not only how, but the extent to which this work is undertaken. While we know from anecdotal evidence that many Australian universities are engaged in this work, currently, there is no comprehensive and cohesive data available about the state of open textbook publishing in Australia and how this compares to more established models overseas.

How am I addressing this gap in knowledge?

My Doctor of Philosophy project (HREC approval number H21REA125) will be the first national study of open textbook publishing programs at Australian universities. It aims to investigate current and emerging trends in open textbook publishing within the broader context of university and library-led publishing.

I’m collecting data for this research by surveying staff involved in open textbook publishing at Australian universities about their publishing activities and experiences. Once I’ve analysed these results, I’ll be conducting a series of follow-up interviews with a small group of participants to discuss their responses.

I’ll be sharing the data from this research in open access journals and in my PhD thesis, which I plan to make available under a Creative Commons license through my institutional repository with no embargo period, as well as as an open access book.

In my thesis, I’ll be using this data to make evidence-based recommendations about how we can build more sustainable open textbook publishing programs at Australian universities.

This 60-second animation, created for the 2021 University of Southern Queensland Visualise Your Thesis competition, gives a quick summary of the project:

What can you do to help?

If you’re involved in publishing open textbooks at an Australian university, I’m requesting your assistance with this research. Understanding how we can build more sustainable publishing programs, and consequently, increase production of high-quality Australian open textbooks will improve the student experience by helping to:

• reduce the financial burden of study

• remove geographic and copyright barriers preventing students from accessing essential course materials

• provide more accessible, diverse, and inclusive content than is typically offered by traditional publishers.

You can help with this important research by completing my 15-20 minute online survey at https://surveys.usq.edu.au/index.php/584337 by 28 February 2022.

During this survey, you’ll be asked to share details about your university’s open textbook publishing activities – on topics like funding, staffing, professional development infrastructure, and outputs – as well as your own thoughts about the benefits, challenges, and opportunities of engaging in this work.

If you’re just getting started, were previously publishing but have now stopped, or have decided publishing open textbooks isn’t for you, the survey contains alternate pathways designed to capture these experiences as well. After completing the survey, you can also nominate yourself for a follow-up interview if you would like to discuss your experiences in more detail.

For more information about this research, you can contact me at Samara.Rowling2@usq.edu.au. In the spirit of open access, I’ll be tweeting about this project as I go along, including sharing data and links to any publications, so please follow me at @SamaraRowling for updates.

Join the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective

This post was written by Chloe Czerwiec, Senior Librarian (Copyright) at the University of Western Australia. Chloe is a member of the CAUL OER Collective Pilot project team.

We’re calling it early – 2022 will be the year of the OER! With the various CAUL project teams busy beavering away behind the scenes, 2022 will bring some amazing opportunities to learn about, advocate for, and be involved in creating OERs.    

One such opportunity is the CAUL OER Collective. 

The OER Collective will provide an opportunity for participating CAUL Member institutions to publish open textbooks without investing in a platform, and to build institutional capability. It will also provide opportunities for collaborative, cross-institutional development of open textbooks. 

Watch this short video for a concise overview of the Collective model:

Detailed information about the Collective model is also available on the CAUL website.

Break it down for me – what are the benefits?

We’re glad you asked. By joining the initial “Connect” tier of the Collective (at a cost of $2,500 per year), participating institutions will have:

  • space to publish up to two open textbooks on the shared Pressbooks platform per year
  • access to training, guides and templates
  • access to two communities of practice – one for library staff, and one for academic authors
  • the opportunity for academic authors at their institution to apply for DIY Textbook Author Grants.

Call for participation is now open

The Collective was originally due to launch in January, but – COVID (need we say more). The Collective will now be launching in March, which means there is still time to for CAUL Member institutions to sign up. To express interest, please email Dr Kate Davis, Director, Strategy & Analytics, by Friday 28 January

Need more information?

The paper Introducing the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective provides a detailed outline of the Collective model, with a focus on the initial Connect tier.

Textbooks: The future is open

This post was written by Fiona Tyson, Kaiwhakahaere Taonga Tuku Iho | Manager, Cultural Heritage & Macmillan Brown Library, University of Canterbury. Fiona is also a member of the OER Collective Pilot project team. Fiona can be contacted at fiona.tyson@canterbury.ac.nz or on Twitter @Libfifi.

In recent years, the textbook publishing market has been changing in response to demand for e-textbooks and declining sales to students. The advent of COVID-related lockdowns intensified the emergence of new textbook publishing models for tertiary libraries (Gray & O’Shea, 2021; Van Malderen, 2021), usually aimed at one of two outcomes:

  • Limit academic library provision of textbook access (through expensive limited user licenses and download limits) – presumably to leverage individual textbook sales.
  • Provide cohort access to prescribed textbooks through expensive institutional subscription models based on enrolments.

As academic library professionals in Aotearoa New Zealand, we came together to share our experiences and talk about open educational resources (OERs) as alternatives to commercial textbooks. We quickly realised that while there was recent research on New Zealand students’ perspectives of textbooks (Brown et al., 2020; Stein et al., 2017) and we understood librarian perspectives of textbooks, we didn’t have concrete evidence of academic perspectives.

This was a significant gap, since academics are the market for academic publishers (and, often the authors – but that’s another blog post).

Academics hold considerable market power in the textbook market as what they select drives student and tertiary library purchasing.

Our research group launched a national survey, asking academics about how they used textbooks in teaching, their selection criteria, their experience during COVID-19 lockdowns and their perspectives on OERs. Members of our research group are Sara Roberts (University of Canterbury), Lisa Davies (University of Canterbury), Associate Professor Cheryl Brown (University of Canterbury) and Richard White (University of Otago), with support from Zhanni Luo. A more detailed analysis of our data from a recent presentation is available here and we anticipate more data/analysis will be forthcoming.

How do academics use textbooks?

We found that academics were well aware that the cost of, and access to, textbooks was an issue for students. They also reported that many students did not use the textbook, particularly from academics working in hard-pure disciplines (e.g. Chemistry, Physics).*

*In order to meaningfully analyse respondents by disciplinary group, we divided disciplines into hard-pure (e.g. Chemistry, Physics), soft pure (e.g. History, Philosophy), hard-applied (e.g. Engineering, Computer Science), and soft applied (e.g. Economics, Education), according to criteria first articulated by Biglan (1973).

Nonetheless, academics reported textbook practices based on the traditional print textbook model, assuming that the majority of students would purchase the book. Approximately 50% of respondents reported often or always teaching into courses with prescribed textbooks, mostly frequently setting one or two chapters of the textbook as readings. Other frequent usage was to structure a course around the textbook or set over half of the textbook as readings. Setting prescribed texts when using just one or two chapters suggests academics’ textbook practices are not aligned with their awareness of students’ perspectives.

This disconnect was made even clearer when we asked respondents what percentage of students they thought were purchasing prescribed textbooks.

Academic estimates regarding how many students buy the prescribed textbook.

It was not possible to draw a meaningful statistic from our data because the answers ranged from 0-100%. (Although, academics working in hard-pure disciplines did express a more realistic view of how many students were purchasing the textbook).

Academic perceptions of library textbook services & lockdowns

We were also interested in academic perceptions of tertiary libraries’ textbook services. Academics reported offering prescribed textbook alternatives such as requesting academic libraries put textbooks in high use collections, requesting academic libraries purchase textbooks, or recommending earlier editions. Interestingly, a number of respondents distinguished between getting an e-version and asking the library to purchase a textbook, suggesting academics don’t equate the library purchasing copies of textbooks with the library purchasing e-textbooks.

Furthermore, survey respondents almost always took price for students into account in textbook selection, but almost 60% of respondents reported rarely or never taking into account the price for the library. Given the financial pressures academic libraries face with textbook provision, we believe this finding indicates a need for academic libraries to be open and honest with academics about how the commercial textbook market is changing.

Libraries also need to communicate the pedagogical implications for academics of these changing models – both in terms of their own workload and the implications for student success. Academics reported on their experiences in lockdown in our survey, with around 20% sharing that textbook access became a significant issue when teaching moved online. Accordingly, they reported that an electronic format was an increasingly important factor in textbook selection. If academic libraries do not take the lead in talking about textbook practices and promoting viable e-textbooks models, such as adopting, adapting or creating open textbooks, the move to e-textbooks will only increase the financial pressure on libraries.

The way forward

Our survey confirmed that, by and large, tertiary educators in Aotearoa New Zealand are prescribing and using textbooks under the assumptions of the traditional print textbook model. The evidence suggests while they are aware of student perspectives, they do not materially grasp how these traditional textbook practices no longer align with the textbook publishing market, affecting students, academic libraries and, increasingly, their own pedagogical practices.

Academic libraries must lead in this space to ensure equity for students and maintain their role as information experts on campus.

References

Visualising usage analytics: An evidence base for open texts

This post was written by Emilia Bell, Coordinator (Evidence Based Practice), University of Southern Queensland. Emilia can be contacted at Emilia.Bell@usq.edu.au or on Twitter @EmiliaCaraBell.

How can evidence-based practice inform how we approach open education practices (OEP)? At the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) Library, the Open Educational Practice and the Evidence Based Practice teams have collaborated to collect data around USQ’s open texts on the Pressbooks platform. The result has been a Power BI data report to visualise the patterns of usage for these open texts. The data are collected as local evidence to support the continuous improvement of open education resources (OER) and OEP and to advocate for the value and values of openness.

Analytics

Data visualisation, using Power BI, has helped support a greater understanding of the Google Analytics data model and its hierarchy. The visualisations are not static, and they allow open education practitioners to engage with the data by filtering or highlighting data points that are relevant to their own evidence needs and practice. The interactivity and design choices help to recognise the collaborative efforts in creating OERs and the varied evidence needs of authors. Using Power BI has enabled authors to access and interact with the data collected on their open text, furthering an evidence-based approach to OEP.

Power BI’s Google Analytics connector allows us to easily draw on the dimensions and metrics required for the data report. The initial metrics used to capture patterns of usage include:

  • Page views and user sessions,
  • Downloads and file type,
  • Sources of traffic,
  • Geographic distribution of users,
  • Link resolver statistics (Alma Analytics), and
  • Users’ browser and device types.

Visualisation of web analytics data for open textbooks can enable open education practitioners to engage in evidence-based practice. The report encourages further exploration of the data and critical reflection on its relevance to OEP.

Screenshot of USQ’s Power BI report showing the unique page views and downloads for the open text ‘Academic Success’ (2021).
USQ’s Power BI report page for ‘Academic Success’ (2021).
Screenshot of USQ’s Power BI report showing the geographic distribution of users.
USQ’s Power BI report page showing geographic distribution of users of USQ’s Pressbooks.

Questions and reflections

Communicating the why of openness, as a value, requires evidence to guide how we approach OERs and the practices surrounding openness. Before creating the report, we dedicated time to deciding which metrics would be important to track and communicate to authors. We started with overarching and values-driven questions, not immediately answerable with our data, but highlighting the motivations behind OEP.

Formulating answerable and data-driven questions is critical to determining the local evidence needs for OEP. These questions support the application of evidence to practice. They allow us to consider what is important to be collecting in our local context and the value behind adopting specific metrics.

Initially, analytics questions may be descriptive, summarising the data:  What chapters are being accessed the most? What percentage of users are referred to a textbook from a learning management system? Over time, more exploratory questions can be identified, especially as relationships, trends, and patterns are recognised in the data and require further interpretation. Exploratory analysis will further inform how we approach openness and work with open texts, encouraging new questions and reflections.

Data visualisation represents one aspect of how we can take an evidence-based approach to OEP. It provides an interactive assessment of the usage of open texts, while also being accessible to authors and supporting a report design that highlights the collaboration behind OEP. As we continue to value, integrate, and assess many evidence types (local, research, and professional knowledge) to inform OEP, we can build continuous improvement and support advocacy for what openness can achieve.

Note: that the screenshots and corporate logos (such as the USQ Phoenix, and any other company represented) and branding are specifically excluded from the Creative Commons Attribution licence of this post, and may not be reproduced under any circumstances without the express written permission of the copyright holders.

Exploring another kind of open

In Open Access Week, we collaborated with Open Access Australasia to put together an event exploring the benefits of, and barriers to adopting, adapting and creating open educational resources. The event featured four case studies with academics who have adopted, adapted or created open educational resources, and unpacked some of the benefits they encountered and the barriers they identified.

The recording of the event is now available.

Along with the recording, we also wanted to share a bunch of resources that were posted in the chat during the event, and the responses the audience gave to some questions we asked during the event.

About the case studies

We featured four brief interviews with academics during the event, with details shared below. For each of these case studies, we have an extended version coming over the next few weeks, so stay tuned for that!

OER adoption with Dr Mathew Marques

Dr Mathew Marques used a psychology open textbook from the NOBA Project in his course at La Trobe University. He also switched the proprietary software usually used in the course for open source software. More on that coming soon in an extended version of Mathew’s case study!

OER adaptation with Dr Wendy Hargreaves

Dr Wendy Hargreaves led a project at the University of Southern Queensland that adapted the open textbook College Success for the Australian context. The adaptation, Academic Success, is available from USQ’s Pressbooks platform.

OER creation with Dr Govind Krishnamoorthy

Dr Govind Krishnamoorthy from the University of Southern Queensland, co-authored the open textbook Trauma Informed Behaviour Support: A Practical Guide to Developing Resilient Learners. The book is published on USQ’s open textbook platform and includes multimedia and quizzes to support student learning.

Indigenous knowledge and OERs with Dr Johanna Funk

The final case study explored how the underpinning philosophy of open educational practice aligns with Indigenous knowledge practices. Dr Johanna Funk is an academic at Charles Darwin University who uses OERs created by and with Indigenous creators in her teaching practice to encourage students to develop their understanding of Indigenous knowledge practices.

Tackling the barriers

For each of the case studies, we explored strategies for overcoming a barrier that the interviewee mentioned. For each barrier, I posed a question to the audience and to one of my co-facilitators. We tacked four barriers or challenges:

  1. Finding a textbook that covers all of the necessary content in sufficient depth.
  2. Understanding conventions around sharing and reusing content.
  3. Managing a large and complex open textbook project.
  4. Understanding Indigenous knowledge practices.

What the audience said

Browse through the questions we posed and the answers the audience gave.

Reading this post in an email? Click through to the blog to see the embedded slides.

What our panel said

Here’s what our panelists said about some of the barriers our interviewees highlighted.

Finding a textbook that covers all of the relevant content in sufficient depth

I asked Stephen Chang from La Trobe University what resources he would suggest to help academics work around this. You can hear his answer in the video, and here’s the list of resources he suggested:

Managing a large and complex project

One of the pieces of advice Dr Govind Krishnamoorthy offered other academics was to think about an open textbook development as a big project. I think a sense of not knowing where to start or how to manage an open textbook project can be a significant barrier for many academics. I asked my co-facilitator Tahnee Pearse to share a bit about how USQ library supports open textbook creation, and what resources she would suggest to help with tackling the management of an open text project. She told us about the Rebus Foundation. Their website is an excellent source of material on writing and publishing open textbooks.

They also run the Rebus Community, which is a “global community working together to create and share Open Educational Resources (OER). Here you’ll find people, processes, and tools to support your publishing efforts. You can use this platform to: 

  • start an open textbook project
  • give and receive guidance on publishing open textbooks
  • post and respond to calls for contributors, and
  • connect with global communities that are changing the world through Open Education.” (Rebus Community)

Additional resources

One of my co-facilitators, Adrian Stagg, also shared some general resources for authors of OERs. Here are the resources he spoke about:

A huge thank you to everyone involved in bringing this event together, including our case study interviewees, my co-facilitators (Fiona Salisbury, Stephen Chang, Tahnee Pearse, Adrian Stagg), interviewers (Nikki Andersen), and planners (Marion Slawson). And a big thanks to the Open Access Week organising committee, led by Thomas Shafee.

ICYMI: Catch up on these OER events from Open Access Week

It’s the week after Open Access Week, which means it’s time to catch up on all of the great events that you missed last week!

Australian university libraries offered a diverse range of online events last week and I have quite the list of recordings bookmarked to catch up on. There was so much on that it was tricky to prioritise, but many of the events were recorded and institutions have been releasing those recordings over the last few days. Here are three that I’ll be watching this weekend, all focused on open educational resources.

La Trobe eBureau presents: it’s publishing, but not as we know it – creating equitable and engaging resources for online learning

This panel discussion was hosted by the La Trobe eBureau as part of Open Access Week The panellists talked about the experience of writing an open textbook, the benefits and successes of this, and the challenges for normalising a culture of open educational practices in higher education. Facilitated by Fiona Salisbury, the panel featured La Trobe University academics Brianna Julien, Katherine Seaton, and Louise Lexis. Steven Chang, who is a member of the OER Advocacy Project Team gave an overview of La Trobe’s eBureau to start the event.

Watch the video.

Open access at UTS: How open textbooks will change your life

This panel session from the University of Technology, Sydney was facilitated by David Yeats and featured UTS academic Dr Amanda White, UTS Learning Design and Technology Specialist Dr Mais Fatayer, and Deakin University’s Dr Sarah Lambert. From the event description:

Libraries are under increasing financial pressure from textbook publishers, with costs skyrocketing and limited licence conditions. Open textbooks offer a solution that is cost-effective for students. They can also be modified for local needs to correct gender, socio-cultural and Indigenous under-representation in the curriculum. There is mounting research to show that students benefit from free textbooks in similar ways to scholarships and financial aid – by lifting grades and course progress rates.

Watch the recording.

And while you’re at it, if you haven’t yet discovered Dr Amanda White’s YouTube channel Amanda Loves to Audit, I highly recommend you take a look!

Open Education Practice Learning and Teaching grants panel discussion: Open book publishing – motivations and balanced outcomes

The University of Southern Queensland Library hosted a panel session featuring several USQ academics who were recipients of USQ’s Open Education Practice Learning & Teaching Grants and who have authored open books. Facilitated by Professor Christy Collis, the panellists included Assoc Prof Martin Kerby, Honorary Prof Tony Machin, Professor Tanya Machin and Assoc Prof Erich Fein.

Catch the recording.

Keep a lookout next week for a post about the OER event we co-hosted with Open Access Australasia during Open Access Week, Another kind of open. We’ll be sharing the recording along with all the resources shared in the chat and attendees’ responses to the polls we ran in the session, and extended versions of the case studies we shared during the event will follow over the next couple of weeks.

Paying it forward: Sharing OERS in the academic librarian community

This post was written by Annette Goodwin, Senior Client Services Librarian at Charles Sturt University. Annette is also a CAUL Digital Dexterity Champion.

Let’s start with an Open Educational Resources framing.  OERs are teaching, learning and research materials that “reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that permits no-cost access, use, adaptation and redistribution by others with no or limited restrictions” (UNESCO, n.d.). OERs can therefore include textbooks, curricula, syllabi, lecture notes, assignments, tests, projects, audio, video, software, coded elements and more.

Libraries and librarians around the world support and encourage educators, teachers and academics to create, locate, adapt and use OERs for the benefit of others.

But have you ever thought of the resources and objects you create as a librarian? Could they be considered OERs too? Absolutely!

Everyday, librarians create and use a wide range of resources that support learning, teaching and research at their institutions. Amazing session plans that unpack research methods  or interactive infographics about fake news. Workshops on how to make videos or seminar presentations demystifying referencing. Librarians are prolific creators! We need to harness the power of this work and share those resources with others. You may already use platforms like OER Commons or Merlot to locate OERs for your own use or recommend them to your academics, but have you considered sharing to the platforms yourself?

Let’s talk about a Digital Dexterity Commons

The Resource Sharing Group (RSG), a sub-group of the CAUL Digital Dexterity Community of Practice (CoP), has created a Group on OER Commons – Digital Dexterity Educators to help you understand and share OERs you’re creating. The CoP supports their organisations and the wider tertiary library community to build digital dexterity capabilities and drive positive change in relation to technology, so creating a OER sharing group seemed a natural fit.

The RSG is encouraging academic librarians around Australia and New Zealand to join our OER Commons group and share resources. If you’re not sure how to go about creating or sharing OERs, the RSG has created a couple of documents to help you to get started…

What can you do?

There are three steps that you can action:

  1. Check out and join the Digital Dexterity Educators Group on OER Commons,
  2. Consider whether the objects you create can be shared with a Creative Commons licence, and      
  3. Take the next step and, with your institution’s permission, share them with the group!

Reference: UNESCO (n.d.). Open Educational Resources (OER). https://en.unesco.org/themes/building-knowledge-societies/oer