During the past three years, the College Open Textbooks Collaborative (COT) has demonstrated success in building heightened awareness and increasing adoptions of open textbooks and open educational resources (OER) at community and two-year colleges.
A key initiative of COT was outreach to the education community. This included building a peer-focused 1,000+ community to share ideas and start discussions. Over 2,000 faculty and staff participated in on-campus or online workshops learning how to find, select, and adopt open academic materials for their online and face-to-face courses. We’ve identified over 500 open textbooks on the COT website and have facilitated peer reviews of over 140 of them. The Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), a Collaborative member, interviewed the pioneering teachers and students who participated in this first wave of open textbook usage. An instructor reported on how integration of open resources resulted in new collaboration:
“My colleagues and I collaborated to integrate the book with our existing syllabi and course curriculum … now we meet regularly to talk about lesson plans.”
The research identified important challenges including a need for more information about the impact of OER on teaching and learning and professional development to support increased usage of OER. This research and feedback from our community of practice indicates the need for additional faculty support to adopt quality open resources, customize them for learners, and enhance the value and currency of resources over time.
To continue the work started in these initial grants and to further promote open education, several members of the College Open Textbooks Collaborative plus Silicon Valley Education Foundation, MathScore, OCW, three community colleges, and other institutions and individuals have created a new collaborative called the Open Doors Group. Open Doors is a group of non-profit and for-profit organizations that have come together to sustain the resources built by COT and to drive adoption of open educational resources in community colleges and beyond.
Various members of Open Doors take the lead on specific projects; recently both Words & Numbers and MathScore have led grant submissions. The group is actively seeking program funding from the Gates, Lumina, and Wallace foundations and is also establishing sustainable business models to support ongoing efforts.
Activities include the ongoing marketing and promotion of the College Open Textbooks website and Ning, and the creation and support of various communities of practice. To view the members and some projects we’re pursuing, please visit the new Website: http://opendoorsgroup.org/
We are open to new members and suggestions for projects and activities. Please reach out to one of us if you’re interested in participating or recommending a course of action or lending a hand.