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Friday, November 4 • 2:40pm - 3:05pm
Extending Open Textbook Usefulness Through Reformatting and Multimedia

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The high cost of commercial textbooks has become increasingly newsworthy as a significant obstacle for students, even in wealthy countries. This is even more the case in economically developing countries, where the price tag even on international editions of commercial textbooks often leaves them hopelessly out of reach. As a result, one reason that OER textbooks are rightfully gaining ground, in wealthy and developing countries alike, is that they are freely accessible, as in costless to the user.

While the pool of OER textbooks is steadily growing, often they are only available in PDF or Word formats. Because many students in economically developing countries use a mobile phone as their primary Internet device, and have uncertain access to computers, those textbooks are not easy to view on the screens that are most readily available, which can hinder their adoption by those who need them the most. One way to solve this problem is to convert OER textbooks into mobile-friendly formats such as the EPUB format to make them more accessible and thus easier to adopt.

Moreover, commercial publishers often justify the high cost of their textbooks by including digital enhancements such as simulations and videos. By creating custom videos and creating playlists of readily accessible online resources that supplement OER textbooks, they can be more engaging for students and more appealing to instructors and institutions.

This presentation discusses these two categories of textbook extension, primarily in the context of economically developing countries. Our institution has built curricula around OER textbooks, and has an interest both in extending their usefulness for our own students as well as in releasing those extensions under as permissive a license as possible to give back to the community.

avatar for Steve Foerster

Steve Foerster

President, New World University
I'm a writer, technologist, and educator. Currently I am President of New World University in Roseau, Dominica, reaching students worldwide through distance learning and partner organisations. I have a longstanding interest in OERs which stemmed from my interest in open source software.

Friday November 4, 2016 2:40pm - 3:05pm

Attendees (37)