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Thursday, November 20 • 9:45am - 10:15am
Adopt, Remix, Create: Meeting University Goals with an Open Textbook Initiative

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In Spring 2012, the University of Wisconsin-Madison began a series of pilot projects to learn about and influence e-textbook activity on campus. It was clear that digital formats had the potential to lower costs and provide more flexible ways for instructors to customize content and for students to access and read on the devices of their choice.

During the course of these pilots--all focused on commercial textbook options--campus leaders developed a set of seven guiding principles to inform future e-textbook pilots and initiatives. After three semesters of experimentation and evaluation with commercial e-textbooks, we decided to find out if open textbooks would be a better match to our guiding principles.

In this session, we will describe the development, successes, and challenges of that open textbook pilot. We will examine instructor attitudes, the critical partnership between campus libraries and the academic technology department, and what we've learned so far.

Evaluations from students and instructors participating in the first three e-textbook pilots indicate that publisher-driven solutions do not meet our needs. The price point of commercial e-textbook rentals available to students through online stores (Amazon, Google Play, CourseSmart) are still well above what students say they are willing to pay. In addition, students' vision of an ideal digital textbook is more interactive, customized to their own course, and allow more options for downloading and reading offline than available commercial e-textbooks.

UW-Madison's "eTexts: Adopt, Remix, Create" initiative is intended to encourage a transition away from high cost commercial textbooks and to explore new paradigms for course readings. The pilot supports three different options for instructors. They can adopt an existing open textbook or other OER content (Adopt); replace a traditional textbook with a combination of articles, book excerpts, etc. that are library-licensed, open access, or freely available online (Remix); and/or replace a traditional textbook with instructor-authored content provided for free or at low cost to students (Create).

In January of 2014, the pilot program began providing support to eight courses. Librarians provided research and copyright consultation, instructional designers and academic technologists provided platform and technical support, and participating instructors were given a $1,500 stipend to defray costs associated with their efforts. We will share the outcomes of these eight projects and our plans for future open textbook activity.


James Jonas

UW Madison - MERIT Library
"Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration." - Abraham Lincoln Father, husband, librarian, skeptic, bicyclist, nerd, part-time misanthrope.

Carrie Nelson

University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries

Thursday November 20, 2014 9:45am - 10:15am
Virginia Ballroom

Attendees (88)