While beginning with the disclaimer that she simply compiled a random list of resources “to better understand open access textbooks in particular and the use of open educational resources in general,” Youngstown State University (YSU) Librarian Christine Adams has provided a wonderful online list of resources for all those who might want to share in her discoveries. As a member of a search committee for the newly created position of Director for a proposed Electronic Textbook Center, Adams researched OER issues and organizations and posted the results on her Maag Library Blog. Dedicated pages for Open Educational Resources include links to major textbook projects, definitions of keyterms, explanations of licensing issues, and a list with links to the leading portals, gateways, repositories, and projects.
When she set up the blog pages, Adams comments, she was surprised “at how much is already available.” Nevertheless, though still relatively new, the developing momentum of the OER movement has already been great enough that YSU faculty and library administrators have recognized it as an area they want to pursue in service of their students.
Paul Kobulnicky, Executive Director of William F. Maag Junior Library at YSU, comments that he has been following nationwide developments such as California’s Digital Textbook Initiative and Rice University’s Connexions, among others. He adds that since it’s the mission of libraries at public institutions such as his “to give students access to the materials they need,” the library “is a logical place” to be supporting faculty innovation. Looking at the issues more broadly, he observes that “you can do electronic textbooks, but they won’t be successful unless you also look at the underlying pedagogies.” So, the faculty needs to look at ways to teach that make the best use of these materials. Without knowing where these explorations will take them, Kobulnicky expects to see the proposed YSU Electronic Texbook Center creating textual, audio-visual, and assessment materials online using an open license model.
The immediate goal is to hire a Director for the Center who will provide high-level advice to faculty on architectures, licensing issues, and the current status of larger national efforts. In addition, the University is looking to staff the center with more technically oriented employees who can create the online resources. He invites potential candidates for the position of Director to visit the YSU job posting.