By Una Daly, Director of the College Open Textbooks Collaborative
What is an Open Textbook Adopter?
Although significant progress has been made in adopting open textbooks, the decision is not easy for many faculty and their departments. When high-quality open textbooks are available, the decision is easier but still a concern that a text may not be maintained in the future can remain. In some disciplines, a single high-quality open textbook is not available although multiple high-quality open educational resources may be. In other disciplines such as math, faculty may want to use homework systems and test banks which may require additional work to integrate with open materials.
Open Textbook Adopter communities are a result of feedback from instructors and staff who told us they wanted to work in communities of practice to share and adapt open textbooks and open educational resources. Some faculty find they have to go outside their own college to find colleagues engaged in OER. Adopter communities are virtual so you can meet online for sharing ideas and educational materials.
Barbara Illowsky, Math professor at De Anza College, and co-author of the open textbook Collaborative Statistics, reports that opening their textbook made it better. They received valuable feedback from other instructors not only about errors but more importantly new and innovative ways to teach difficult topics.
Sharing the maintenance and leveraging expertise from different stakeholders can lighten the load and make a better textbook. With this in mind, College Open Textbooks sponsored the Adopter Communities Small Grant program this fall to fund the enhancement of open educational resources including textbooks. Eight projects were awarded small grants to increase adoptions of these materials within their communities through these enhancements.
Join the Open Textbooks Webinar on Thursday, November 17
We invite anyone who is interested in learning more about how open textbooks can make a difference for students and educators to attend an open webinar on November 17, 1:00pm Pacific where the eight winners of College Open Textbooks' Adopter Communities Small Grant program will present their winning projects.
Each community proposed an outstanding project that uses open textbooks or open educational resources to improve teaching and learning for their students. Disciplines ranged from the highly enrolled general education subjects of Chemistry, Physics, and Math to American Government and Developmental Reading & Composition.
Professional and career disciplines were also represented with Business Communications, Advanced Water Mathematics, and pre-teacher Educational Psychology. Overall 27 faculty members are participating from 17 colleges and 4 universities with approximately 3200 students anticipated to be positively impacted during the grant period alone. Join us!
• 3-D Molecular Models in ChemWiki: Dr. Ron Rusay and colleagues, Diablo Valley Community College
• Educational Psychology: Dr. Brian Beitzel, State University of New York, Oneonta with other colleagues in Florida, Illinois, New York, and Manitoba, Canada.
• Introduction to American Government: Dr. Mirya Holman and colleague at Florida Atlantic University
• Business Communications: Professor Danielle Budzick and colleagues at Cuyahoga Community College, OH
• Physwiki Dynamic Textbook project: Professor Erik Christensen at South Florida Community College and colleague at Monroe Community College, NY
• Developmental Algebra: Dr. April Strom and colleagues at Scottsdale Community College, AZ
• Advanced Water Mathematics: Dr. Regina Blasberg & colleagues at Community College of the Canyons, CA
• Indigenous People's Reader: Professor Jacqui Cain & colleague at Community College of the Redwoods on the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.