Welcome to the College Open Textbooks Blog

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.



July 2016
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Subject matter related to events related to open textbooks.

Mid-Pacific ICT Conference: Share and Share alike

logo for Mid-Pacific ict center featuring west coast and pacific ocean

Mid-Pacific ICT Center

The Mid-Pacific Information and Communications Technology (MPICT) conference held on January 6-7 in San Francisco was entitled “Improving ICT Education in Challenging Times” and focused on promising strategies for educating students to find jobs and stay current in the emerging ICT sector. A college faculty friendly conference, it offers free attendance and small stipends for out-of-area attendees. Mobility, smart phones, tablets, wireless, 3G, 4G cellular networks were strongly featured. A panel of IT hiring managers from small to medium business and state government weighed in on the job skills they are looking for in applicants. Soft skills were emphasized – particularly the ability to empathize with customers and solve problems. Although familiarity with web technology and a conceptual view of computer networks was required, specific technical details can be learned on the job if an applicant is a self-learner who can thrive in a team environment.

Cora Landy, development director for the ECDL Foundation, reported on how departments of education and workforce have collaborated in countries as diverse as Egypt, Singapore, and Ireland to bridge the digital divide through use of computer digital literacy standards (IDLC) comparable to reading and math standards. A business college in Ohio and the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institutions are utilizing the ICDL curriculum here in the U.S.

I presented to an amazingly full room for 4:30 p.m. on Share and Share Alike: Find, Author, Share Open Textbooks A quick survey of participants indicated that most were faculty looking for alternatives to traditional and expensive textbooks. Tom Murphy, Computer Science program chair at Contra Costa College reported that he and other CIS instructors were developing an open computer science curriculum for deployment at their college while another professor queried how an instructor could afford to write a textbook for free? This is a good question and one that has many answers. Some write open textbooks through grant funding or on sabbatical leave. Others fit it in around other departmental activities. Many faculty have expressed the desire to develop materials collaboratively with colleagues where each one writes a separate module or chapter and it is then assembled into a collection.

The Friday morning keynote was a good review of emerging broadband technology featuring Gordon Snyder, ICT national director out of Boston. 4G Networks will be coming into their own this year with Verizon rolling out now and AT&T later on this year.

Use of the iPad in Education was another eye opener for participants who were able to play with iPod touches and iPads already loaded with apps including iStarWalk and iCircuits. Apple presenter Charles Du called it “frictionless” learning.

Moodle Accessibility was a good refresher on accessibility law from the iLearn folks at San Francisco State. We looked at how to design courses to support all learners and learning styles through use of a clear and structured layout and providing alternative text for images.

A self-publishing session taught by technology teacher of the year, Mike Qaissauneed, department chair, Brookdale Community College outlined futures textbooks which don’t look much like what students are now using. Highlighting a book/app by David Eageleman: Why the Net Matters: How the Internet Will Save Civilization, he demonstrated how navigation of non-fiction narrative in a non-linear fashion is now possible on a tablet-type interface. Mike also showed the open source tool Calibre converting instructional materials in WORD format to ePub that can then be posted to iBooks or iTunesU for easy distribution to students.

For more details on presentations check out the conference archives. Videotapes of classrooms and presenters will be available in a few weeks at the main ICT center website.


Sponsorship Program for Advocate Trainers Announced

Make Education Affordable!  Help us open more doors!

College Open Textbooks is focused on driving the awareness and advocacy of open textbooks for students and we need your help in opening more doors!  Faculty members are fast becoming advocates and trainers in the use of open textbooks on their local campuses. They are helping us open doors to more affordable textbook options for students and colleges.

Our new sponsorship program, “Open Textbooks, Open Doors” advocacy workshops, will enable us to extend the reach of our advocate trainer program to more faculty across the country. We have plans to host workshops in CA, IL, KY, NY, VA, and WA but we need sponsorship support.  Sponsor one workshop at $1,500, provide matching funds, or become a major program sponsor at any level between $15,000 and $30,000. This will provide stipends for the trainers of the “Open Textbooks, Open Doors” advocacy workshops.

We have already seen the success of these workshops in driving awareness and advocacy amongst faculty.  Here is a summary of our successes to date:

  • Fourteen “Train-the-trainer” workshops both online and in person CA, FL, GA, KY, MD, MI, TX, and WA.
  • Over 50 educators have signed up to be trainers.
  • Over 35 “Open Textbooks, Open Doors” workshops have been given by the newly trained advocates, fueling a growing grass-roots advocacy initiative to make textbooks more affordable

Sponsorship Benefits:

  • Focused access to educators who could become customers or advocates for you
  • Branding and marketing to the education community via signage at the workshops, marketing   flyers, blogs and on the College Open Textbooks website
  • Sponsorship Recognition Certificate as a thank you for your support
  • Press Release, expressing our gratitude and giving the sponsor a public thank you
Want to learn more about College Open Textbooks sponsorships, contact Mitchell Levy at mitchell.levy@collegeopentextbooks.org or via phone at +1 408 257-3000.


Webinar (11/16, 11:30am PST) – How to Drive College Costs Down & Quality Up in TX and CA: Emerging Textbook Solutions

CCCOER Board member, Dr. Cable Green – Director of eLearning & Open Education, Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges – asked us to forward this webinar invitation.

Title: How to Drive College Costs Down and Quality Up in TX and CA: Emerging Textbook Solutions
Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Time: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM PST/1:30 PM CST/2:30 PM EST
Register: https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/399352082

Long recognized for their far-reaching influence on education and textbook publishing, California and Texas are poised to be national leaders in efforts to reduce barriers to higher education and combat escalating textbook prices.

Join CA Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez; Dr. Charles Cook, Vice Chancellor, Houston Community College; Eric Frank, President, Flat World Knowledge; and Dennis Passovoy of The University of Texas at Austin for this webcast on new textbook affordability initiatives and the rise of open textbooks.

Webcast will discuss:

  • Why textbooks costs have sky-rocketed.
  • How textbook costs impact students, faculty and institutions.
  • Current efforts in CA and TX to address textbook affordability and  educate faculty on emerging solutions.
  • What defines open educational resources and open textbooks, and how they can reduce student costs by 80 percent, while increasing quality and accessibility, and faculty innovation.

Nov. 9th webinar: Ohio Higher Education's Textbook Affordability Initiative

Presenter: Dr. Steve Acker, Research Director, eTextOhio Project-OhioLINK

Join us for an information packed webinar on Ohio Higher Education’s Textbook Affordability Initiative.  Mark your calendars for this Tuesday, November 9, 2010 from 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST/11:00 am – 12:00 pm PST.

Two years ago, Ohio launched a textbook affordability initiative under the direction of Chancellor Eric Fingerhut. The value proposition of the textbook affordability strategic plan focuses on improving learning outcomes as well as reducing the cost of textbooks.

The three strands of textbook affordability are: (1) working with traditional textbook publishers, (2) engaging in open educational resources initiatives, and (3) supporting digital literacy workshops and programs for both faculty and students.

This presentation will focus on the OER (Open Educational Resource) strand of textbook affordability/learning outcomes. We will discuss the rationale for the faculty innovator program and the faculty team OER authorship initiative; what we have learned to date; and where we hope to move in the future.


1.  Click on the following link or paste it into your browser window:

2.  Locate the webinar – Ohio Higher Education’s Textbook Affordability Initiative on November 9, 2010 at 11:00 a.m. (PST)  (which is also 2pm EST).

3.  Click on “GO” at the right end of the row.

4.  Enter the requested information in the dialogue box:

  • first and last names
  • institutional e-mail
  • screen name + institutional affiliation (so others know what state or group you are with)

5.  Click on “CONNECT”. The software should automatically begin to download which may take anywhere from 2 to 10 minutes depending upon your Internet connection speed. If it does not download, check to see that ActiveX is enabled on your computer. You may have an information bar displaying at the top of your screen: “Click to run an ActiveX control on this webpage.” If yes, click in the box.
Audio is available in two ways:

  • A phone conference that enables you to listen and talk. Information regarding joining via phone is available to you when you sign in.
  • Another option is to listen on your computer’s speakers or headset and type questions and comments in the chat window.


For technical support contact clientservices@cccconfer.org
Tel: 760-744-1150 ext. 1537 or ext. 1554

Please contact David Nelson at dnelson@distancelearn.org or (850) 921-2796 if you have any questions regarding the webinar, registration, or have an idea for a webinar topic or speaker.  Thank you for your continued interest in open textbooks!


Don't Miss Open Access Week! Sign up today!

Learn.  Share. Advance.

This is the mission of the fourth annual global event, Open Access Week which is being held this week online. It is an opportunity for the education community at all levels to continue to learn about the benefits of Open Access from colleagues and to share what they’ve learned in helping to make Open Access more of a reality in scholarship and research.  OA Week is a great opportunity for all members of the community to continue the momentum of open access moving forward.

Dr. Wayne Mackintosh, director of OER Foundation and founder, WikiEducator, spoke yesterday on a webcast about “Using Open Production of Course Content to make a Difference”.  Wayne shared the findings from the 2010 Horizon Report which focused on the technologies to watch.  Open Content, mobile computing and electronic books all topped the list.  To view an archive of Wayne’s webcast, go to http://hdl.handle.net/2149/2835

Get involved!  Participate in Open Access Week and join the community of over 1200 members.  It is simple.  Just sign up at http://www.openaccessweek.org/.


9/15 Quarterly CCCOER Meeting Summary (surprise visitor)

The quarterly CCCOER meeting on Wednesday, 9/1510 went extremely well including a surprise visit from California State Senator Dean Florez and his chief of staff who participated in the discussions with both the online and in-person attendees at Foothill College.

Highlights from the meeting included:

1) Clancy Marshall from DynamicBooks talked about their  product and announced that her firm is in the process of porting 26 open textbooks over to it for a Spring 2011 release.
2) Mitchell Levy from Happy About talked about the release of book “#OPEN TEXTBOOK tweet” and gave physical copies to those in attendance and pointed folks to the WikiEducator site to pick up the PDF ebook version, available under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA license.  The marketing team is also sending out books that can help spread the word (and demand) for open textbooks. If you want a copy and are not sure you are on the list, please e-mail info@happyabout.info and ask for it.

Our speakers – Clancy Marshall, GM of Dynamic Books; Nicole Allen, Textbook Advocate Director at The Student PIRGs; Liza Loop, CCCOER;  and Alice Krueger, Chairman of the Board from Virtual Ability – did a great job of sharing their views on open source textbooks, the future of CCCOER, student textbook affordability and accessibility for all that need it.   Each provided good content that was appealing to the attendees:

  • Clancy talked about the the interaction that the DynamicBooks platform offers both students and faculty
  • Nicole talked about making textbooks affordable and the work the she and her team has been doing.
  • Liza Loop talked about the direction and activities of the consortium.
  • Alice Krueger talked about textbook accessibility and gave us insights into how her team worked to provide thorough review of over 60 textbooks

If you would like to listen to the archive of the meeting, click here.

Mark your calendars for the next quarterly meeting on December 9th.


#OPEN TEXTBOOK Tweet available on Wiki Educator under CC-BY-SA license!

Crowdsourced by the OER community, #OPEN TEXTBOOK tweet book gets praise from Wayne Mackintosh, founder of Wiki Educator and Director of OER Foundation for creating a moment in OER history

Educators and faculty members discover how to drive awareness and adoption of open textbooks at their own colleges. In an easy, accessible, readable style that has become the hallmark of THINKaha books, #OPEN TEXTBOOK tweet Book01′ shows authors and educators how they can participate in this win-win effort and seize this opportunity to contribute positively towards ensuring open, affordable college learning for all.

A special thanks to all the contributors in the OER/ Open Textbook community especially Jacky Hood, Judy Baker, Geoff Cain, Bill Buxton, Mitchell Levy, Tom Caswell and others.  Their insights were invaluable in creating tweets with a purpose.

To download your own CC-BY-SA ebook of #OPEN TEXTBOOK tweet, visit http://wikieducator.org/Open_Textbook_Tweet


Dynamic Books and College Open Textbooks in Pact to Offer Affordable Textbooks

Check out this announcement in Publisher’s Weekly
about our new agreement with Dynamic Books!
Dynamic Books, a publishing platform and line of customizable digital textbooks from Macmillan, announced an agreement with College Open Textbooks to identify quality public domain or open licensed textbooks that can be integrated into the Dynamic Books platform. College Open Textbooks has identified 27 open textbooks on a variety of academic subjects that will be made available through Dynamic Books beginning in January 2011 for a fee of $20 per student per term.   College Open Textbooks is a nonprofit coalition of 15 institutions formed to help reduce the cost of textbooks by finding and promoting the use of public domain, peer reviewed textbooks. COT identifies and promotes the use of these texts (either found in the public domain or licensed under a open Creative Commons copyright) to more than 2000 community colleges around the country.  Jacky Hood, director of College Open Textbooks, said the organization also provides more than 1000 people around the country to train colleges how to use open textbooks. Hood said that COT texts are used in trade schools, community colleges and military service academics.
Launched earlier this year, Dynamic Books is a line of interactive textbooks that offer customization, highlighting, easily circulated notes,rearranging chapters and the ability for professors to customize and make additions to textbooks. Dynamic Textbooks can be accessed online, downloaded to PCs, laptops and hand-held devices or through POD editions. Dynamic Books are offered for sale at about a third of the cost of print textbooks.  Clancy Marshall, general manager of Dynamic Books, said the “goal of the program is to give students affordable and relevant textbooks. We’re taking these open licensed texts and making them easy to edit and easy for teacher to personalize.”

New members add value to College Open Textbook Collaborative!

We are excited to welcome these new member organizations to the College Open Textbook Collaborative.  Both Benetech/ Bookshare and Virtual Ability are dedicated to the mission of providing individuals with disabilities equal access to open educational materials.  Textbook\Media provides students with affordable price/media options that increased their buy-in and use of textbooks.  We are looking forward to working with these organizations to continue our goal of driving the adoption and advocacy of open textbooks.


U.S. Department of Education includes OER in notice of proposed priorities for grant programs

Timothy Vollmer recently blogged on Creative Commons about the importance of  including  OER in the notice of proposed priorities for grant programs. This is a step forward in including OER as an integral part of the future of education.  As the world changes the way learning is delivered, OER and open textbooks continue to grow in importance.  You can read more about this at http://creativecommons.org/weblog/entry/22912