Determining Textbook Cost, Formats, and Licensing with Google Books API: A Case Study from an Open Textbook Project

Authors : Eamon Costello, Richard Bolger, Tiziana Soverino, Mark Brown

The rising cost of textbooks for students has been highlighted as a major concern in higher education, particularly in the US and Canada. Less has been reported, however, about the costs of textbooks outside of North America, including in Europe.

We address this gap in the knowledge through a case study of one Irish higher education institution, focusing on the cost, accessibility, and licensing of textbooks. We report here on an investigation of textbook prices drawing from an official college course catalog containing several thousand books.

We detail how we sought to determine metadata of these books including: the formats they are available in, whether they are in the public domain, and the retail prices.

We explain how we used methods to automatically determine textbook costs using Google Books API and make our code and dataset publicly available.

URL : Determining Textbook Cost, Formats, and Licensing with Google Books API: A Case Study from an Open Textbook Project

DOI: https://doi.org/10.6017/ital.v38i1.10738

Do open educational resources improve student learning? Implications of the access hypothesis

Authors : Phillip J. Grimaldi, Debshila Basu Mallick, Andrew E. Waters, Richard G. Baraniuk

Open Educational Resources (OER) have been lauded for their ability to reduce student costs and improve equity in higher education. Research examining whether OER provides learning benefits have produced mixed results, with most studies showing null effects.

We argue that the common methods used to examine OER efficacy are unlikely to detect positive effects based on predictions of the access hypothesis. The access hypothesis states that OER benefits learning by providing access to critical course materials, and therefore predicts that OER should only benefit students who would not otherwise have access to the materials.

Through the use of simulation analysis, we demonstrate that even if there is a learning benefit of OER, standard research methods are unlikely to detect it.

URL : Do open educational resources improve student learning? Implications of the access hypothesis

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0212508

How to Fight Fair Use Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt : The Experience of One Open Educational Resource

Author : Lindsey Weeramuni

At the launch of one of the early online open educational resources (OER) in 2002, the approach to addressing copyright was uncertain. Did the university or the faculty own their material? How would the third-party material be handled? Was all of its use considered fair use under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (Title 17, United States Code) because of its educational purpose?

Or was permission-seeking necessary for this project to succeed and protect the integrity of faculty and university? For many years, this OER was conservative in its approach to third-party material, avoiding making fair use claims on the theory that it was too risky and difficult to prove in the face of an infringement claim.

Additionally, being one of the early projects of its kind, there was fear of becoming a target for ambitious copyright holders wanting to make headlines (and perhaps win lawsuits). It was not until 2009 that the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for OpenCourseWare was written by a community of practitioners who believed that if fair use worked for documentary film makers, video creators, and others (including big media), it worked in open education as well.

Once this Code was adopted, universities and institutions were able to offer more rich and complete course content to their users than before. This paper explains how it happened at this early open educational resource offering.

URL : How to Fight Fair Use Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt : The Experience of One Open Educational Resource

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17161/jcel.v3i1.9751

Open Practices in Public Higher Education in Portugal: faculty perspectives

Authors : Paula Cardoso, Lina Morgado, António Teixeira

In recent years, the Open Educational Resources (OER) and Open Access (OA) movements have been essential in creating opportunities in all scholarly activities, within the context of higher education.

The main purpose of this research was to understand how perceptions and practices of faculty towards OER are related to their perceptions and practices towards OA. It is an exploratory and descriptive study, with a mixed methods approach, undertaken in Portugal.

Results indicate that, although faculty already show some degree of knowledge and use of OER and OA in their teaching and research practices, there is still a general lack of knowledge in both fields.

However, the convergence of perceptions regarding both fields provide evidence on the possibility of a common approach to both fields in faculty’s educational practices, with the purpose of opening up their educational and scientific resources, thus reinforcing the principles of transparency, collaboration and openness to knowledge.

URL : Open Practices in Public Higher Education in Portugal: faculty perspectives

Alternative location : https://openpraxis.org/index.php/OpenPraxis/article/view/823

Strategies for Supporting OER Adoption through Faculty and Instructor Use of a Federated Search Tool

Authors: Talea Anderson, Chelsea Leachman

INTRODUCTION

Open educational resources (OER) are gaining traction in higher education and becoming accepted by academics as a viable means for delivering course content. However, these resources can be difficult to find and use, both due to low visibility and confusion about licensing.

This article describes one university’s work with faculty members to identify barriers in their search process when they are looking to adopt OER.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

A scholarly communication librarian and science librarian partnered to collect faculty and instructor reactions to a particular OER search tool, with the intention of better understanding the difficulties encountered during the search process.

Eight interviews were conducted as participants were asked about their preferences when it comes to locating OER, understanding licensing information, and adopting materials for class.

NEXT STEPS

From these interviews, the librarians identified practical recommendations for instruction/liaison librarians and technical services/systems librarians as they continue working to support faculty and instructors through the OER discovery and selection process.

These recommendations relate to four themes uncovered in interviews with faculty and instructors: the need for increased transparency in search tools, the importance of intuitive narrowing and broadening features in search tools, the need for detailed and consistent metadata in OER records, and the need for clarity in intellectual property statements.

The librarians note that these recommendations might best be pursued through wide-scale collaboration across library units and, more generally, between libraries, consortia, and institutions.

URL : Strategies for Supporting OER Adoption through Faculty and Instructor Use of a Federated Search Tool

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7710/2162-3309.2279

Equipping the Next Generation for Responsible Research and Innovation with Open Educational Resources, Open Courses, Open Communities and Open Schooling: An Impact Case Study in Brazil

Authors : Alexandra Okada, Tony Sherborne

There has been an increasing number of projects and institutions promoting open education at scale through Open Educational Resources (OER) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) to broaden learning opportunities for all. However, there are still many challenges in relation to sustainability, effective implementation and evidence-based impact to support educational policies.

To explore this gap, this paper focuses on an integrated model that combines OER, MOOC, Communities of Practice (CoP) and Open Schooling to promote open education and foster inquiry skills for Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), a key approach coined by the European Commission.

This study focuses on the ENGAGE Project, with 14 partners in Europe who produced more than 300 OER, 60 MOOC in ten languages and supported 27 CoP with more than 17,000 members in the world including more than 2,000 from Brazil.

Through a novel framework on impact assessment of OER for RRI underpinned by a mixed method approach, this study examines the influence of open education on academic and non-academic groups and the correlation between the outputs developed in the project with the outcomes reported by the Brazilian communities.

Qualitative and quantitative data from the ENGAGE platform, journal articles produced by the Brazilian participants and interviews with authors were analysed.

Findings report the different ways that the community developed open schooling projects, the changes in their practices to foster digital scientific literacy, and outcomes with implications for society.

URL : Equipping the Next Generation for Responsible Research and Innovation with Open Educational Resources, Open Courses, Open Communities and Open Schooling: An Impact Case Study in Brazil

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/jime.482

Barriers, incentives, and benefits of the open educational resources (OER) movement: An exploration into instructor perspectives

Authors : Serena Henderson, Nathaniel Ostashewski

Open educational resource (OER) barriers, incentives, and benefits are at the forefront of educator and institution interests as global use of OER evolves. Research into OER use, perceptions, costs, and outcomes is becoming more prevalent; however, it is still in its infancy.

Understanding barriers to full adoption, administration, and acceptance of OER is paramount to fully supporting its growth and success in education worldwide.

The purpose of this research was to replicate and extend Kursun, Cagiltay, and Can’s (2014) Turkish study to include international participants. Kursun, et al. surveyed OpenCourseWare (OCW) faculty on their perceptions of OER barriers, incentives, and benefits.

Through replication, these findings provide a glimpse into the reality of the international educators’ perceptions of barriers, incentives, and benefits of OER use to assist in the creation of practical solutions and actions for both policy makers and educators alike.

The results of this replication study indicate that barriers to OER include institutional policy, lack of incentives, and a need for more support and education in the creating, using, and sharing of instructional materials.

A major benefit to OER identified by educators is the continued collegial atmosphere of sharing and lifelong learning.

URL : https://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/9172