Frydenberg and Matkin, “Open Textbooks: Why? What? How? When?”

Read the article at https://edtechbooks.org/-Vqgb


Educators, authors, administrators of open-source based organizations, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders in the open textbook movement, gathered in Newport Beach, CA in 2007 to explore four basic research questions:

  1. Why do we need open textbooks?
  2. What are open textbooks (how are they defined)?
  3. How will open textbooks be produced and then used?
  4. And finally, when will open textbooks be available in sufficient quantity and quality to have a positive impact?

Key Points

  1. Why open textbooks? College textbook costs are skyrocketing and open textbooks are one solution on how to make college more affordable. The K-12 textbook process is fraught with politics and bureaucracy, so it is not addressed in the same manner, although open textbooks can save public schools money as well. In developing countries the key is access to high quality materials, which open textbooks provide.
  2. What are open textbooks (how are they defined)? The discussion revealed several pairs of new dimensions to consider:

Additionally, barriers to the use of OER, include initial cost and sustaining resources, inertia, technology, distribution and discoverability, lack of quality standards, intellectual property and digital rights management and politics, which must be considered in the broader context of adoption of OER.

Next steps: Aside from additional funding, these five activities are essential in moving forward:

Minor improvements can be made that will help the movement make significant strides.

Discussion Questions

  1. How can openness fit into the proprietary textbook model appropriately?
  2. What are the benefits and drawbacks of viewing OER through the lens of the new dimensions above?
  3. What are your top three ideas for overcoming the barriers of OER use?

Additional Resources 

CK-12 Foundation http://www.ck12.org/

OpenStax College https://edtechbooks.org/-TDnE

Boundless http://www.boundless.org/

Open Textbook Library https://edtechbooks.org/-ft

College Open Textbooks http://collegeopentextbooks.org/

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