This blog was created to keep our expanding audience informed about what is going on in the world of Open Textbooks and related topics. Please read and enjoy the posts. You are encouraged to add any comments that add to the discussion.
We are excited to name ChemWiki as our featured book for both June and July. This collection of online science textbooks features over 6800 high quality illustrations. To learn more about ChemWiki, please read the press release at http://prlog.org/11908511 or visit ChemWiki at http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/
Our eight adopter communities have been making great progress with their open textbook or OER projects. Focused on using these to improve teaching and learning for their students, adopter communities are required to have at least two college or university instructors who have adopted or who have plans to adopt an open textbook(s) or open educational resources as the primary text for a course they teach or plan to teach in the 2011-2012 time frame.
We just got an update from Professor Danielle Budzick and her colleagues at Cuyahoga Community College, OH on their business communications adopter community.
Here is her report on the progress they have been making at Tri-C with their grant:
The Tri-C grant team is diligently working on modification to the Flat World textbook. As a team, we are coordinating the re-ordering of the chapters to align with our official course outline.
Here is what the rest of the team is working on!
Fran Brady is taking the lead on editing the Intercultural communication as her day job is with Sherwin Williams and she works with international clients. She’ll be adding more examples and building out chapter.
Pam Grant is adding examples of emails, memos, and letters to provide a stronger context for students, as this is the first chapter in the revised book.
Linda Glassburn is ramping up with example of business proposals and reports by creating her own to include within the textbook. Linda also imported several grammar and punctuation chapters from two different Flat World books at the end of the text to provide an “appendix” area for a refresher to students.
Getting Ready for Summer Pilot
All of the grant faculty are going to be teaching Summer Sections of Business Communication using the modified textbook. Our next steps are finalizing the textbook, so we can share with an other instructors who are teaching college-wide.
I’ll continue to update as we finish the editing and get ready for summer. I can be reached via email at Danielle.Budzick@tri-c.edu.
ISKME’s 3rd annual Big Ideas Fest (www.bigideasfest.org) was held in early December in Half Moon Bay, CA, and as promised, creative doers and thinkers from diverse levels of education gathered to learn from and share with each other. This convening yielded creative, inspirational, and often revolutionary ideas about current educational challenges, while providing the opportunity to interact and engage with a mix of teachers, researchers, administrators, entrepreneurs, education leaders. Central to Big Ideas Fest is the “action” component, called Action Collabs–design-oriented labs where participants brainstormed, prototyped, and ultimately create scalable solutions to major education challenges, such as achieving universal literacy and math competency, and leveraging open education to transform teaching and learning.
In a major shift from traditional educational conferences, the event is designed to bring together kindred spirits on a level playing field, where a person’s work or role becomes less important than how they share and collaborate within their group. In this way, the mix of students, teachers, administrators, researchers, inventors, and executives operate as peers in solving a common problem. These common problems are referred to as “design challenges” at the Big Ideas Fest.
One of the design challenges that was taken on by the Action Collabs was to create solutions around leveraging open content, data, and research to transform teaching and learning. During the Action Collabs, teachers, administrators, and students worked alongside noted leaders and policy makers in the field of open education. The Action Collab process facilitates moving from brainstorming ideas to creating tangible manifestations of those ideas (using pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and other craft items), in a rapid low-investment way, and results in a visual representation of a solution that helps to see the idea in the real world.
Many of the Big Ideas Fest’s rapid-fire speakers were full participants in the Action Collabs as well. Speakers on open education included Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive; Martha Kanter, the U.S. Under Secretary of Education; Neeru Kholsa, Co-Founder of CK-12 Foundation and pioneer in the OER movement; and Barbara Chow, Education Program Director at Hewlett and champion of open education resources. Additional speakers included Jody Lewen, the Executive Director of the Prison University Project; Kaycee Eckhardt, an award-winning charter school teacher whose science and math academy is housed in a FEMA trailer in the 9th ward of New Orleans; and Adora Svitak, the 13-year old recipient of NEA Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education.
THE ACTION COLLAB
The Action Collab groups that were focused on “open” provided innovative and inspired prototype solutions to the question “How might we leverage open (content, research, data) to transform teaching and learning?” One solution, “Pandora for Learning”, was designed to connect students to content that students are passionate about and that they have curated. A second solution to the open education design challenge focused on creating a virtual learning experience that is learner- and teacher-curated, linking the end user to open content about the arts.
ISKME is committed to support the further development of these and other design solutions on the soon-to-launch online Action Collab Network.
In the last several years, we’ve seen the release of many excellent open textbooks, yet adoption still remains a challenge. From my perspective as a math instructor, I see two major barriers: discovery and ancillaries.
The first challenge for adoption of open textbooks is an instructor finding one. There are many instructors who are not even aware that open textbooks exist. Second, if an instructor is interested in open textbooks, even the reasonably well-culled listing at collegeopentextbooks.org can be daunting, and very few listed books resemble complete, ready-to-adopt textbooks. For a busy instructor, the prospect of having to remix resources from multiple sources is often more effort than they’re willing to put in.
To start addressing the second part of the discovery challenge, I built OpenTextBookStore.com. This site lists a subset of open textbooks I felt are really ready-to-adopt without requiring remixing or supplementing, and that are available in printed form. I’ve started with math books, but I hope to expand the listing with recommendations from subject matter experts in other fields. The site recreates the experience of browsing a publisher’s website; each listing shows a summary of the book, license information, the available formats, a table of contents, and a list of any available ancillaries.
Instructors have become accustomed to publishers providing extensive ancillary materials for textbooks, providing the second challenge for adoption of open textbooks. Many excellent efforts are contributing to addressing the ancillary challenge, including open courseware efforts like the Washington Open Course Library (which I was part of). In mathematics, online homework has become commonplace, and for a majority of faculty is a key part of their textbook adoption decision.
To help address this, I’m happy to announce MyOpenMath.com, a free and open online homework system for mathematics. It is built on open-source software I’ve been developing for six years, and that has been used by tens of thousands of students. It provides randomized, algorithmically generated homework with automated grading of numerical and algebraic answers, similar to WebAssign and other publisher products. It also provides a course management system with gradebook, file posting, discussion forums, etc. (To their credit, WebAssign has produced online homework for several open textbooks, but this comes with a cost to students and is not open.) MyOpenMath has homework aligned with open textbooks in pre-algebra, beginning and intermediate algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry. The courses can easily be copied and modified by an instructor and used with students as graded homework. Many courses include video lessons, classroom activities, or other supplements as well. These courses are also available to students for self-study, review purposes, or as ungraded practice. These courses were contributed by faculty in Washington and Arizona; please see our “About us” page for credits.
Increased adoptions of open textbooks will only come by making it easy for faculty to find open textbooks, having open textbooks that can easily replace traditional textbooks, and providing ancillaries that instructors rely on. I hope OpenTextBookStore.com and MyOpenMath.com can contribute to that effort.
The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (www.iskme.org) is hosting its annual Big Ideas Fest in December 2011 in Half Moon Bay, CA. This three-day gathering of the nation’s most creative makers and doers in education brings together champions across K-12, higher education, and informal learning, to participate in a truly unique interactive experience.
This is the one place each year where education change agents find each other at what one participant describes as “like TED on Steroids!” You’llhear from inspiring speakers.
Take part in Action Collabs.designed to incubate solutions to address education’s most pressing challenges. If you are looking for an opportunity to be recharged with new perspectives and learn how to use collaborative tools to prototype innovative ideas, add yourself to the list of those who have the desire and passion necessary to break down silos and call for real change in education.
Register today and use the invitation code = bif3022
Ms. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO will be officiating the launch of “Global Open Access Platform” (usually called the Global Open Access Portal) along with the launch of the UNESCO OER Platform, the re-designed Open Training Platform, and the OER policy Guidelines. The Launch is scheduled for November 1, 2011 at 6:30pm Paris time (GMT-1) and 10:30 am PDT and will be live-streamed in:
English – mms://stream.unesco.org/live/room_10_en.wmv
Français – mms://stream.unesco.org/live/room_10_fr.wmv
Academic & Textbook Authoring—Evolving Arts is the theme of the Text and Academic Authors Association’s 2012 Annual Conference in New Orleans, June 8-9, which will feature dozens of interactive sessions, posters and workshops, as well as several networking opportunities.
The 2012 Annual Conference Committee is seeking proposals for informative sessions that encourage opportunities for learner engagement. Session proposals should stimulate and provoke discussion on a topic related to authoring or publishing textbooks, academic books or academic journal articles. The committee is especially interested in proposals that feature non-traditional publishing formats, such as ebooks and open access. Proposal types include presentation, poster session, open discussion, roundtable discussion, learning lab and workshop.
For full proposal details visit http://www.taaonline.net/2012TAAConference
Deadline for proposals is November 15, 2011.
The Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) provides professional development resources, industry news and networking opportunities for textbook authors and authors of scholarly journal articles and books. Learn more about the TAA community at http://www.taaonline.net
If you have any questions, please contact Kim Pawlak at email@example.com
Submit your proposal online at http://www.taaonline.net/2012TAAConference/ProposalForm.html
Education-Portal.com just announced the winners of their first annual OCW People’s Choice Awards, which honor the best of the Open Education Movement. Over 4000 people voted for their best educational resources in this inaugural contest.
College Open Textbooks was recognized as the OCW People’s Choice Winner for Most Open. According to Education-Portal.com, “Openness is a key part of any OCW – after all, it’s in the name. But what providers excel at giving their users a wealth of material to access and lots of different ways to do it? The nominees in this category all understand that to make courseware truly open, variety and depth are key.” The finalists included Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) and UC Irvine OCW.
Other winners included Open Course Library, FGV Online, African Virtual University OER, Open Study, MIT Physics and more. For more information on the complete list of winners, go to http://education-portal.com/articles/OCW_Peoples_Choice_Award_Winners_Final_List.html
Word Processing Essentials is a Connexions collection of modules to teach or refresh skills using Microsoft Word. The
intended audience is anyone needing to create a simple term or research paper for a high school or college course. The collection was planned by Kenneth Leroy Busbee, the Chair, Business/Computer Science Department at the Community College of Qatar. The unusual and unique aspect of this collection is focused on the authors of the modules; who are students taking a BCIS1405 – Business Computer Applications course. As a class project it encompasses service learning, team work, Open Educational Resources (OER) and writing across the curriculum exposures to their collegiate experiences. More details are in the preface of the manual at: http://cnx.org/content/col11246/latest.
Recognized as one of the leading faculty members in developing and teaching distance education courses, Ken Busbee is a full-time professor in the Computer Science Technology within the Houston Community College. He is currently “seconded” to the Supreme Education Council of Qatar. His current assignment is serving as the Chair, Business/Computer Science Department at the Community College of Qatar.
Nicole Allen of the Student PIRGs shared an update on the open textbooks initiative such as the Higher Education Opportunity Act with the OER community. She pointed out that there has been tremendous progress made and accessibility to open education resources are growing.
“We just released a survey, How Open Textbooks are the Path to Textbook Affordability where we found that open textbooks can reduce costs by 80%, which would reduce average student spending from $900 to $184 per year,” said Nicole Allen. “Although open textbooks aren’t yet available for every course, the savings can still have a significant impact for students. For example, Professor D. Steven White at U-Mass Dartmouth saved his students $11,000 by using open textbook and other open resources in two of his Marketing courses,” continued Ms. Allen.
New federal law: On July 1st, a provision from the Higher Education Opportunity Act took effect requiring publishers to disclose textbook prices, revision histories and alternate formats when marketing textbooks to faculty. Our studies have shown that publishers often withhold prices in sales conversations, so the new law ensures this information is readily available to consider on students’ behalf.
Analysis of HEOA Textbook Affordability Provisions – The Student PIRGs
Guidance for colleges and publishers – U.S. Department of Education
Cost of textbooks must be disclosed - Pittsburgh Post Gazette (Jul 22)
Are publishers following the law? Click here to report your experience to Student PIRGs.
Open textbooks on the rise: With more than 1,300 adoptions this fall alone, open textbooks — which are offered under a license allowing free online access and low-cost print options – are rapidly gaining momentum. Options are available for several new courses, including Sociology, College Algebra and College Success. .
Lists of open textbooks:
Open Textbook Catalog, our list of the most widely used open textbooks.
Orange Grove Texts, a project of the Univ. Press of Florida and Florida’s digital repository.
College Open Textbooks, a list of open texts that have been reviewed by experts.
Are you using an open textbook? Click here to let the StudentPIRGs know!
Designed by ZABELLO DESIGN.