Open Textbooks have seen impressive growth and impact in the North American context, through providers and initiatives such as OpenStax, the Open Textbook Network, BC Campus, and Lumen Learning. With the exception of Siyavula in South Africa however, the open textbook model has largely been restricted to North America.
Whether this is a result of particular contextual dependencies (such as the relative cost of textbooks) or because this is where the funding and interest has been focused is as yet unknown. The aim of this project then is to test the transferability of this model to a new context, namely that of the UK.
Our overarching research question is:
- What is the viability of introducing open textbooks in UK higher education through the testing of two proposed models: OpenStax and OpenTextbook Network approaches?
We have also identified several subquestions:
- How does the context differ?
- What are the methods for uptake that are transferable?
- What can be generalised for adoption elsewhere?
We are interested in speaking with a range of stakeholders, including:
College / University educators (academic teams, teachers). We are looking for people to join us in a series of workshops (led by OpenStax) to explore how to search for and adopt an open textbook in your area. We are focusing on this academic sector since the OpenStax books currently available are a good match for Foundation Degree and early-years Undergraduate Study, particularly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.
Libraries! We will probably form three UK hubs led by champions who are part of our project team, and these champs will provide on-going support and also work with libraries to raise access and awareness of these resources in their institutions, such as the materials already produced by UWE library services (University of the West of England).
Wider open education / learning technology / academic and library communities. We will blog about our experiences every step of the way, so if you are unable to hop on board with the project within the short timescales we have, you can certainly follow and learn from the experience.