Australian open textbook authors: Linguistics, Paramedics, and Ancient History

Last week we looked at the process of adopting an open textbook. In this week’s post we’ll focus on three local authors of open textbooks from our study. These examples highlight different contexts and motivations for writing an open textbook.

Dr Tonya Stebbins from La Trobe University teaches Linguistics and Language subjects. Through conducting PhD fieldwork, Tonya said she could see the inequalities between white researchers and Indigenous communities and wanted to work more collaboratively so as to avoid replicating these inequalities. To begin with, she published a version of her PhD thesis exegesis as a book in 2003. The book identified a range of practical, theoretical and personal challenges associated with working closely with language activists in a First Nations community who are seeking to address language loss. Recently a second edition was published as OER by La Trobe’s eBureau service: “Fighting language endangerment: Community directed research on Sm’algyax.”

Dr Sarah Midford is also from La Trobe, and teaches Classics and Ancient History subjects. She Produced 2 niche and 1 foundational OER textbooks with colleagues through the eBureau service. These are: “Gallipoli, Anzacs and the Great War”Caesar’s triumphs over Gaul and Rome” and “Key concepts in the humanities and social sciences.” Dr Midford said that “I have published open access texts because I believe that education should be freely available to everyone. My texts are research-based but written with a view to supporting tertiary curriculum. Making them freely available to anyone, anywhere, promotes inclusivity through access. Publishing open access texts ensures those who are interested in learning, whether they are undertaking self-guided learning or formal education through an institution, have access to quality peer-reviewed research that supports their studies at no cost to them.”

Meanwhile over at QUT, Dr Steven Bartlett developed an OER Text “Law, ethics and Paramedicine” as part of the QUT PressBooks pilot. The book integrates lecture notes, YouTube videos and podcasts. Dr Bartlett said that part of the motivation for writing an OER text was that not a lot of students attend the lecture, so having a comprehensive alternative way to provide key learning content was appealing. Also, he was motivated by the fact that an OER text available as a fully online reference guide can be useful for students who graduate when they want to access or revise information.

Category list: academic practice

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