Digital and OER Textbooks: The Library’s Next Frontier?


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Presentation at the 2013 ACRL annual conference. Offers value propositions of OER for libraries, faculty, students, and administrations. Concludes with audience poll on how/whether libraries should assume leadership in textbook licensing.

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  • 3rd annual state meeting representing Students, Faculty, Administrators, Librarians, Bookstores, IT, and Accessibility staffs
  • ALEKS is an adaptive learning program that individualizes how students learn math. Students are located in a knowledge space and demonstrate learning through correctly answering concept-centered problem sets. ALEKS is similar to The Kahn Academy in this regard.Among the six institutions that participated in our pilot, those that demonstrated the most student learning (28% opting out of at least one developmental math course) did so when the instruction was offered in an Emporium setting. Those with negligible learning gains attempted the ALEKS curriculum individually from home. Students beginning college with compromised study skills need an inclusive community to succeed. Our data support this finding. Libraries offer excellent group learning spaces and can promote digital literacy.
  • Flat World has moved from providing an OER option as entre into Freemium content into a low-cost customizable publisher.
  • David Ernst at the University of Minnesota established a website for the review of OER. The Minnesota system has expanded on these efforts and offers this site for evaluating open resources in a variety of forms.
  • Cost-effective data are trending downward as the Flat World business model has changed from “Freemium” to “Lost Cost and Personal.” The balanced preference for digital and paper needs unpacking. At the class level, the preferences are best met with “both-and” rather than “either-or.” Most interestingly, students expected to print up to 80% of digitally-delivered content. At end of term, approximately half printed less than 20% and only about 10% of the time did students actually print 80% of the digital content.Libraries can help with digital literacy and the appropriate ways to leverage the study tools bundled with most digital textbooks.
  • OhioLINK led this Next Generation Learning Challenge project. Open educational resource packages were constructed for a “ladder” of math courses and a two coures sequence of Applied Engineering courses.
  • Complete books privilege the author’s voice. Modular resources privilege audience ears (different learning styles and levels of preparation). What follows is a sample of OER websites.
  • Washington State’s 42 course collection of high enrollment courses offered at $30 or less per course
  • Look at the rate of change in materials and users
  • The virtue of modular content and flexible, individualized resource packs for students is that a faculty can build multiple pathways through different packages of modular learning resources. We used the concept of funnel to consider how two different pathways could lead to the fulfillment of learning outcomes, imperfectly measured as grades received in a class. We were interested in whether two different sequences could lead to equivalent learning outcomes. In the case of accessibility, two different populations, those needing accessibility support and those without this need would use two different starting pages. If the modules on each learning path provided content that was equally supportive of student learning, and if the number of modules visited was approximately the same, we would have information to help us construct parity of learning pathways for students with print disabilities and those without.
  • Here’s an example of a flexible license that could be extended through negotiation in the textbook realm.
  • Usage logs can be used to establish short term access privileges around class times, midterms and finals. This dynamic access is similar to how IT departments manage bandwidth based on demand (e.g sporting events, commencement addresses).
  • Is this quote accurate and worth reflection? Let’s take a vote
  • The poll– supports voting by smart phones and twitter, among other approaces.
  • A singular opinion in need of debate, refinement and creative opposition
  • PollEverywhere limited responses to 40. These are the first forty audience members (total audience approximately 250). While the results are not necessarily representative and the sample not drawn as “representational,” it reflects the mood of those in attendance.
  • Digital and OER Textbooks: The Library’s Next Frontier?

    1. 1. Digital and OER Textbooks:The Library’s Next Frontier?Stephen R. Acker, Research DirectorOhio Digital Bookshelf ProjectOhioLINK/The Ohio Board of RegentsPresented to the ACRL Annual ConferenceApril 12, 2013, Indianapolis, IN
    2. 2. Agenda• OER/Digital Value propositions– Students, faculty, institutions and libraries• Digital and OER- crossing zebras and leopards– Formats and business models differ• State of Ohio textbook/learning materials initiatives– ALEKS (Commercial)– Flat World Knowledge (Freemium)– Scaffold to the Stars (OER)• Re-visiting the Library value proposition– An audience poll and discussion
    3. 3. OER/Digital Value Propositions• Students– Learning Outcomes/Cost= Value• Faculty– Curricular flexibility/Time= Value• Institution– Credential Completion/Time= Value• Library– Services/Budget=Value• Pathfinding, accessibility, digital literacy, licensing
    4. 4. Libraries and textbook affordability96% of attendees felt libraries should play an important rolein promoting affordable textbook options
    5. 5. ALEKS Adaptive Learning
    6. 6. Ohio’s Flat World Knowledge Pilots
    7. 7. Minnesota System’s OER Center
    8. 8. Ohio Flat World Knowledge Study Results
    9. 9. Ohio’s Scaffold to the Stars
    10. 10. Pathfinding: Discovering content• Library-faculty partnerships are needed to vettOER resources.– There are literally millions of OER resourcesavailable offered in complete textbooks and asmodules.
    11. 11. OpenStax
    12. 12. CK-12
    13. 13. OpenTextBookStore
    14. 14. Open Course Library
    15. 15. Merlot
    16. 16. Florida Orange Grove
    17. 17. Accessibility• Library Reserves have long had challengesmaking their resources accessible.• The accessibility metadata tag introduced inScaffold offers a teachable moment for facultyeReserve contributors.• Google Analytics funnels track and sequenceequal outcomes for equal effort consistentwith ADA requiremets.
    18. 18. Equifinality- Multiple Paths to Learning
    19. 19. Digital Literacy• In our post-course focus groups, too manystudents indicate they were unaware of toolusage in digital reserves.– Libraries are excellent sources of digital literacyinstruction in general and could provide essentialsupport in navigating eTextbooks and OERcollections.
    20. 20. Licensing• An under-leveraged resource on mostcampuses is library expertise in negotiatinglicenses.– Favorable terms for core textbook access wouldbe of great value to students and institutions.• This value-add should increase library budgets.
    21. 21. Flexible licensing model•Refinement of patron acquisition model–Volume and Temporal (dynamic demand functions)•Example point of departure–ebrary’sthree-user model•patron driven acquisition and Extended Access™ models•also with YBP’sGOBI for firm orders as well as demand-driven acquisition.
    22. 22. Spring thaw: Time to fish• Why am I writing about this in the Scholarly Kitchen? Because I am concerned, firstof all, that our unwillingness in libraries to cut — to stop doing things, todiscriminate not between what is and isn’t valuable, but between what is lessvaluable and what is more valuable — is contributing to a decline in our relevance,a dynamic to which we have so far tended to respond by ever more loudlyprotesting our ongoing relevance. Second of all, I worry that this tendency extendsto academia as a whole and puts higher education (as we understand it) at risk ofimplosion under the external pressure of emerging competitors in a cold andheedless marketplace of new educational opportunities — perhaps not this week,but sooner than we think. And third, I am concerned that if and when thisimplosion happens, what will take the place of libraries and universities as wecurrently understand them will serve us less well in the long run, because thosewhose choices will shape the future of academia are not always guided in thosechoices by consideration of their own long-term best interests.– Rick Anderson, Interim Dean, University of Utah Marriott Library• Anderson, R. (Mar 26, 2013). Federal Research Funding and the Unwillingness to Cut Bait, The ScholarlyKitchen Blog.
    23. 23. Re-visiting the Library Value Proposition• What should libraries stop doing to start doingtextbooks?– Nothing, all current services are essential.– Some things, but not to start doing textbooks.– Some things, to start library-housed textbookpilots.– Whatever it takes, textbook-related services areneeded to reverse declining relevance and budgeterosion.
    24. 24. PollEverywhere Preliminary PollA singular opinion in need of debate, refinement and creative oppositiondeclining relevance and budget erosion.
    25. 25. ACRL Live Audience ResultsReverse declining relevance and budgeterosion.Note: Audience response poll limited to first 40 respondents. Non-scientific and notnecessarily representative.
    26. 26. Contact• Steve Acker (acker.1 at– Research Director, Ohio Digital Bookshelf Project– OhioLINK/The Ohio Board of Regents