Proponents of open textbooks, particularly at a university level, often utilize a three-prong approach in their advocacy. The first is anchored in what Okamoto (2013) termed "the textbook affordability crisis" which results in students spending "on average $1,168 on textbooks and other course materials per year" (p. 268). The second approach is time related, whereby the length, which textbooks take to go from concept to print, can render them out of date before they enter the classroom, especially in fields that are innovation driven and oriented. The third approach is to argue that the technology available today makes it possible to easily and at a low-cost distribute widely various intellectual properties (Frydenberg, Matkin, & Center, 2007) for the benefit of others world wide. Other approaches and arguments exist, but the overall goal remains to create a culture that facilitate diffusion of an idea amongst varied stakeholders such as instructors, who may need encouragement to adopt, adapt or create open textbooks.
In an effort to build a culture for open textbooks, The Oklahoma State University Library launched the Wise OSU Library Open Textbook Initiative in 2015. Modelled on a similar program offered at the Kansas State University Libraries, the Wise OSU Library Open Textbook Initiative has a mandate to encourage OSU instructors to adopt, adapt or create open textbooks for their curriculum by offering them a financial incentive to facilitate the transition. Since unveiling the program last year, the Library has reached out to instructors to inform them of the program and encourage the submission of proposals. To date, the Library has received proposals from all levels of instruction at the University, including undergraduate and graduate classes in diverse disciplines such as Educational Technology, Psychology, Soil Science and International Composition. Additionally, interest in the program is coming in from other academic departments around the campus and we anticipate the program will continue to grow moving forward.
The program has presented the new opportunities and challenges for the Library as we position ourselves to provide new services, meeting new needs in new areas with fewer financial and staff resources. It has also encouraged the Library to reach out across the campus community to explore and forge new partnerships to provide those necessary services to support the development of open textbooks at the University.
This session will discuss the development of the Wise Initiative, the Library outreach efforts to publicize the program, the process of working with instructors to create their open textbook projects, determining needs for support services, tapping into campus expertise to support the program participants, and the sometimes steep learning curve the Library is currently engaged in as we learn (often alongside our program participants) what is necessary to support and encourage the development of open textbooks at OSU. The session will also present a case study of the Educational Technology Program as they process through their goal of running a program solely on OER.