December 15, 2021
On the 5th of October I presented a summary of finding and recommendations of the Open Textbooks and Social Justice national scoping project at an expert panel seminar event.
The expert panel comprised of myself (Dr. Sarah Lambert) and Ms Fiona Salisbury, Executive Director Library and University Librarian, La Trobe University; Prof. Kevin Ashford-Rowe, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Digital Learning), Queensland University of Technology; and Dr Johanna Funk, lecturer in cultural knowledges, Charles Darwin University.
The findings and foci on the recommendations of the recent National scoping study to the Higher Education sector, were described by one panellist as a ‘road map’ for the next few years development of Open Educational Resources (OER) and open textbooks.
On top of the panellists’ insights, there were also plenty of audience contributions from the over 110 participants who shared links and previous experiences. Please check out this Tweet summary posted by Library leader Clare Thorpe, a great take on the main points discussed at the event.
I was particularly pleased to be able to share a set of “sketchnote” summaries by artist Deb Baff (@debbaff) which summarised the findings in a visual way. The findings covered the economic and cultural belonging/inclusion benefits of using and modifying open textbooks (free, digital, openly licenced) to provide free localised resources to students and bring curriculum up to date.
The recommendations about cross-sector collaboration really seemed to resonate with the panellists and audience. Frank Ponte from RMIT Library has also published an article reviewing the event and the research recommendations for action. As Frank notes,
The OER movement should tailor development of open resources to fit into the policy and strategic directions established locally at each institution, rather than wait for funding from government legislators.
This was another important takeaway for the audience from across the library, academic and ed-tech sectors at different institutions. Open textbooks projects can help concrete many different policy objectives, from renewing curriculum, to expanding digital delivery and supporting women in STEM and indigenous reconciliation aspirations. A recording is available on YouTube for those unable to attend.
Note: this blog post is a version of one written for the CRADLE website with additions of the sketchnote images.