I am not sure who said the title quote, but I strongly believe it is true. Books can have far more impact when they are made openly available. The strengths lies in the concept of openness as a broader term that is making textbooks free, accessible and adaptable. 

Around the globe, there are so many open textbooks being generated. For example OpenStax hosts peer-reviewed, openly licensed and 100% free textbooks. Since they started in 2012, OpenStax books have been used in 38,143 classrooms, saving students more than $1.2 billion (USD).

Here in Australia, many have realised the potential impact of open textbooks on improving the quality of the learning experience. Great initiatives emerged to support the development of open textbooks such as the CAUL Open Educational Resources Collective that provides a shared open textbook publishing platform for participating CAUL Member institutions. Other initiatives emerged in different Australian universities such as Deakin University, RMIT, and University of Southern Queensland. At UTS, Associate Professor Amanda White kicked us off with her open textbook Accounting and Accountability; she will be sharing her approach on 9 March at the event ‘Open Textbooks: is it the way of the future?’. 

Exploring Three Approaches to Open Textbook Development

At UTS, many academics have produced an abundance of intellectual output, including journal articles, book chapters, conference papers and more. However, only a few have had the chance to transform their research into a book. This could be attributed to several challenges, such as high costs and some publishers only accepting submissions through agents, making it difficult to break into the industry.

Despite these challenges, some academics have pursued alternative routes and self-published their own textbooks. This approach not only maximises the benefits of contributing to the body of knowledge, but it also allows for a broader audience reach than traditional publishing methods could provide.

Last week I had the pleasure of talking to colleagues from the University of Southern Queensland who used different methods generating open textbook.

  • Nikki Anderson, Open Education Content Librarian, who recently received the 2022 Australian Award University Teaching Citation For Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning, shared with me her approach in developing Enhancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) in Open Educational Resources (OER).
  • Dr Eseta Tualaulelei, a senior lecturer, Early Childhood, Curriculum & Pedagogy, shared her approach of utilising open pedagogy into the creation of open textbooks and engaging students and professionals in the development of Gems and Nuggets and Hidden Treasures
  • Dr Wendy Hargreaves, senior learning advisor, talked about a massive scale project of creating Academic Access through systematic approach of engaging a large team.

Watch the three interviews and be inspired by their approaches to creating open textbooks and how they integrated their open textbooks into their learning and teaching.

An approach to open textbooks: Insights into accessibility
An approach to open textbooks: Co-creation with student authors
An approach to open textbooks: Efficient collaboration

Come along to the upcoming session with Amanda White during Open Education Week when she will share her approach with her open textbook Accounting and Accountability on 9 March at the event ‘Open Textbooks: is it the way of the future?’.

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