Tom Caswell, Program Manager for the Open Course Library, reported 10, 000 visitors to their site since its official launch of the first 42 courses on October 31, 2011. He sums up the project which will contain 81 open courses targeted at the highest-enrolled general education classes for lower division college students as thus:
“The Open Course Library is a collection of expertly developed educational materials designed by faculty and openly shared with the world. It includes textbooks, syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments for 81 high-enrollment college courses.”
“42 courses have been completed so far, providing faculty with a high-quality, affordable option that will cost students no more than $30 for course materials.”
“Faculty (anywhere) can modify and build on some or all of the course materials. There are no strings attached. We only ask that faculty cite the Open Course Library in their course and fill out our short adoption form.”
Image Credit: Timothy Valentine & Leo Reynolds CC-BY-NC-SA
It is with great pleasure that I announce the 8 winners of our Adopter Communities’ Small Grant program. 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.
For the purpose of this program, an adopter community had to contain at least two college or university instructors who have adopted or commit to adopting 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 timeframe. Collaboration between multiple colleges and inclusion of peer reviewers, staff, and students as community members was highly encouraged. In addition, all enhancements, new materials, and ancillaries produced by the community in the grant period (2011-2012) must be made available to other educators using a Creative Commons license that allows further modifications such as CC-BY.
A huge thanks goes to our panel of judges who read all 17 grant application and finalized their results with conference call on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Using a rubric to help ensure inter-rater reliability, the panel included a community college dean, a higher education program manager, and the technology director for a large OER project.
Finally, I want to commend all the adopter communities who applied for their thoughtful projects that used open textbooks and open educational resources to improve teaching and student learning at their colleges. In the end, we were limited by our overall budget and not the inspiring visions of all of the applicants.
Please check out our College Open Textbooks community site for more details on these amazing Adopter Communities and to watch their progress over the next year. Webinar with grantees scheduled for November 17 at 1:00 PM (Pacific).
Image:Some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC) by EpicFireworks
The Open Courseware Consortium (OCW Consortium) announced a new partnership with the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) to maximize the impact of open courseware to community college students, faculty, and learners worldwide. CCCOER has over 200 affiliated colleges nationwide and in Canada while the OCW Consortium has 250 colleges and universities worldwide, which will benefit from their combined resources.
Dr. Judy Baker, dean of Technology and Innovation at Foothill College and one of the founders of the CCCOER stated “Both CCCOER and the OCW Consortium serve to increase access to education for students with limited means, which makes this partnership powerful. When educators pool their expertise to foster a culture of shared knowledge, everyone benefits.”
The partnership between CCCOER and the OCW Consortium allows us to raise awareness and broaden access to higher education with new audiences”, commented Mary Lou Forward, executive director of the OCW Consortium.
College Open Textbook was founded in 2008 to drive awareness and adoption of open educational resources and textbooks primarily focused on the two-year colleges. Research at that time indicated that faculty need professional development to find and adopt OER and determine the benefits of teaching and learning with OER. In response, the college open textbook catalog was born to provide easy access to available texts from open access repositories worldwide and a nationwide network of open textbook advocate trainers was created from interested faculty and staff to provide training on their local college campuses.
Nearly three years later, a catalog of 650+ open texts organized by discipline with a growing number of peer and accessibility reviews provides the backbone of advocate trainers and faculty resources for adopting OER. Although an ever-increasing supply of open instructional materials is emerging, many faculty members feel the need for additional assistance to transform their teaching practice. Some of the challenges they face are a lack of ancillary materials such as test banks, homework assignment managers, and study guides that are often available from commercial textbook publishers. Others worry that open textbooks may not be revised thus eventually becoming outdated and unusable. Many faculty have expressed interest in working with others in their discipline to create, share, and re-use OER particularly when they lack engaged peers on their own campus.
The Adopter Communities Initiative was launched with these faculty concerns at its forefront and the College Open Textbooks collaborative is currently supporting the formation of nine online communities organized around open textbooks in the following disciplines:
|Economics||Basic Microeconomics||Larry Reynolds|
|Statistics||Collaborative Statistics||Barbara Illowsky, Susan Dean|
|English Composition||Deconstructing American English||Lynda Lambert|
|Educational Psychology||Educational Psychology||Kelvin Seifert, Rosemary Sutton|
|Accounting||Financial Accounting||Ben Hoyle and C.J. Skender|
|Project Management||Project Management Certification||Adopter Community|
|Sociology||SociologySociology of the Family||Ron Hammond with Anne Marenco, Kathryn Coleman|
|Basic Math||Fundamentals of Math||Denny Burzynski, Wade Ellis||
|Chemistry||Organic Chemistry||Richard Daley and Sally Daley|
Organized around one or more high-quality open textbooks in a highly enrolled discipline, faculty adopters come together in online forums to review and enhance these texts and share ancillaries such as syllabi, lesson plans, and additional instructional materials. Original authors of open textbooks can play a key role in such a community but often are no longer available so adopters take on the role of expanding and creating new versions of the textbook for the community. Faculty and staff from colleges and universities who have already adopted open textbooks or are investigating the possibility are strongly urged to join.
Several of the Adopter Communities will be presenting their findings in a panel at the upcoming 4th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium, a joint symposium of Sloan-C and MERLOT in San Jose on July 12. Please check-in at collegeopntextbooks.ning.com for further details.
Our mission at College Open Textbooks Collaborative is driving adoptions of open textbooks and educational resources among faculty and staff primarily at community and two-year technical colleges. The journey of adopting an open textbook starts with browsing our catalogue of 600+ open textbooks organized by subject and directly linked to repositories and individual faculty websites worldwide. But after locating one or more open textbooks, the next step is evaluating its appropriateness for use with students. Faculty’s number one concern about open resources is their quality and they want feedback from other instructors on usability of materials as well. Fortunately, our site contains 130+ peer reviews and 100 accessibility reviews of open textbook which can help to answer these concerns. Peer reviews are a detailed evaluation of a textbook by a subject matter expert with teaching or training experience. Here is an example of one of our peer reviews for the recently published Value Networks Business textbook.
The collaborative is fortunate to have an outstanding cadre of college level instructors who peer review open textbooks evaluating them chapter by chapter based on a rubric of 11 indicators and providing a summary of overall appropriateness for community college students. Today we want to honor several of our peer reviewers who truly exemplify the spirit of open education by sharing their time and expertise freely.
Michael Goldberg has been an adjunct professor at Berkeley College for over 10 years and has extensive experience in business marketing, editing, and writing. Michael has reviewed five business textbooks for us this year providing thoughtful and nuanced feedback that directly addresses the concerns of faculty who are looking for high-quality open textbooks to use with their students.
Secondly, we would like to recognize a team of project managers who jointly peer-reviewed Project Management for Scientists and Engineers housed at the Connexions repository. Rekha Raman, PMP certified, marketing communications manager; Lalit Sabani, APICS certified, semiconductor project manager; and Linda Williams, IT project manager provided a thorough review of this valuable resource.
We would like to thank Michael, Rekha, Lalit, and Linda for the generous gift of their time and expertise in providing these outstanding peer reviews.
The Open Library project of the Internet Archive initiative just updated their online BookReader with some very compelling features for the growing number of digital readers including:
• improved and larger screen layout,
• navigation bar including chapter markers that show your progress
• a read-aloud feature
• improved full-text search
More than two million digitized books (and other items) are available free from The Open Library and Internet Archive including 449 e-textbooks published between 1518 and 2014 including many public domain books from the turn of the 20th century which can be read online. The more recent publisher textbooks appear to be just web pages that identify the title, author, cover and offer locations for borrowing a physical copy or places to buy.
Internet Archive has also recently doubled the number of books available to the print disabled by providing free access to more than 1 million books in the specially designed format, Daisy, to support those with visual impairments. These include classic 19th century fiction and current novels to technical guides and research materials.
Foothill-De Anza Community College District’s College Open Textbooks (COT) at was one of four recipients who received the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technology (WCET) Outstanding Work award at the WCET Conference in La Jolla, CA on November 12, 2010. Accepting the award were Dr. Judy Baker, Executive Director, and Una Daly, Associate Director, COT.
Dr. Baker reported that the high cost of textbooks is a barrier for many students in attending college and this is particularly severe for community college students where textbooks comprise a higher percentage of the total cost of attendance. The COT Collaborative’s main goal has been increased adoptions of open textbooks and it has achieved this by creating greater awareness of open textbooks and providing training and tools for faculty to find and select the highest quality open textbooks available.
Other winners included Sandy Cook, Systems Director, Distance Learning Technologies, Kentucky Community and Technical College System , Vernon Smith, Vice President, Academic Affairs, Rio Salado College, and James Bowey, Founder Winona 360, Winona State University. Dr. Linda Thor, Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, also attended the WCET awards panel.
Read more here
Three great OER projects presented Think Globally Act Openly yesterday at the annual WCET Conference in La Jolla. Susie Henderson, Director of Florida Distance Learning Consortium shared the collaboration between University of Florida Press and the Orange Grove Repository that produced Orange Grove Text Plus (OGT+) for open textbooks. James Glapa-Grossklag, Dean of Distance Learning, Educational Technology, & Learning Resources, and John Makevich, Director of Distance and Accelerated Learning, at College of the Canyons reported on the playlist concept of OER which leapfrogs over textbooks into customized learning object lists. Una Daly, Associate Director College Open Textbooks, shared their online collaboration model which has resulted in nationwide OER partners as well as British Columbia and other Canadian partners.