Providence College has joined the Rhode Island Statewide Open Textbook Initiative. Launched in September 2016 the goal of the initiative is to reduce college costs by saving students $5 million over five years using openly licensed textbooks and open educational resources (OERs). In addition to PC, current participating institutions include: Rhode Island College, the University of Rhode Island, the Community College of Rhode Island, Brown University, Bryant University, Roger Williams University, and the New England Institute of Technology.
Here at PC work has begun raise awareness of OERs and open textbooks on campus. Representatives from the Library teamed up with Assistant Professor of Economics, James Campbell, to provide an introduction to open textbooks at the Center for Teaching Excellence on November 1st. The presentation covered the basics of OER, information on locating open materials, and open licensing with Creative Commons. Campbell is using an OpenStax textbook to teach several sections of Microeconomics this semester. His insights on the experience were extremely valuable. You can view the slides from the talk here.
Through generous support from the Provost’s Office the Center for Teaching Excellence and the Library are collaborating to administer a series of small mini-grants to support course design and revision projects that prioritize open educational resources (OERs). Awardees will be selected this month. Over the spring semester mini-grant recipients will work closely with the Library to incorporate open content into their syllabi for adoption in Fall 2017.
A Steering Committee made up of library representatives from participating institutions will be responsible for implementation of RI Open Textbook Initiative. Members of the Steering Committee will communicate with the Open Textbook Network (URI, RIC, and CCRI are now member organizations), provide training opportunities around OERs for librarians around the state, and develop instruments for documenting and reporting student savings resulting from the initiative.
The Library’s Digital Publishing Services has been engaged with work around OERs for some time. We are thrilled about these new opportunities to collaborate with PC faculty around OERs. For further reading on this subject check out some of our previous here, here and here.