DePaul University was a pioneer in the State of Illinois when it joined the Open Textbook Network in July 2016, and librarians, faculty, and students have continued to explore, and advocate for, the use of open educational resources throughout the past academic year. Since early 2017, library staff have collaborated with the Office of the Provost to raise awareness of open educational resources as part of the routine adoption of course materials, and this collaboration continued with a recent workshop on the use of open textbooks offered to DePaul faculty and staff by the Open Textbook Network (OTN)
On May 12, 2017, OTN representatives came to DePaul to discuss the emergent policy environment influencing the growing use of open educational resources in higher education, as well as the impact that rising textbook costs have been shown to have on student success. Faculty members from the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of Science and Health, College of Computing and Digital Media, and College of Business have already reported consideration, adoption, and/or use of OERs and open textbooks, and this workshop provided an opportunity to explore one key resource, the Open Textbook Library, in greater detail. Faculty participants were also invited to contribute peer reviews of open textbooks in their areas of interest, and to connect with faculty members at other institutions also pursuing open textbook options in their fields.
One view of emergent practice at DePaul came from Associate Professor David Allbritton (Psychology), who shared an early version of a paper that he and his graduate student will present at the 2017 Distance Teaching and Learning Conference, in which they explore the decision to adopt an open textbook for use in Introductory Psychology classes (PSY 105, PSY 106). Library staff hope to identify and collaborate with other early adopters of open textbooks at DePaul in the coming year to identify opportunities to “make the switch to open,” share best practices in OER use, and make a difference for our students in pursuit of greater educational affordability.
If you would like to learn more about OERs or open textbook options in your field, please contact Terry Taylor, Association University Librarian for Teaching, Learning, and Research Services, or your liaison librarian.