Ready to take the next step in open educational resource creation with Pressbooks Growth?
By Lillian Hogendoorn
Acting Manager, Digital Access and OER
And Rama Kaba-Demanin
Open Library Coordinator
What’s new with eCampusOntario’s publishing infrastructure?
This September, 12 Ontario postsecondary institutions are starting the school year with a new resource for students and faculty: Unlimited access to the open-source publishing platform, Pressbooks EDU. Pressbooks allows faculty to create textbooks from scratch or customize existing open educational resources (OER). With Pressbooks, these textbooks can include interactive elements and multimedia, but they can also be exported and formatted for eReaders or PDF readers. For students who prefer reading in print, texts created through the eCampusOntario Pressbooks network can even be professionally printed at cost through an agreement with the University of Waterloo.
Since 2018, eCampusOntario has provided access to a shared Pressbooks EDU network for individual instructors to create free, digital, openly-licensed educational resources.
This year, eCampusOntario is working with Pressbooks to provide enhanced access and service through the “Pressbooks Growth” program, allowing institutions to sign up for unlimited, immediate access to the platform for all students, faculty, and staff. Institutions that opt in also receive training and support from eCampusOntario throughout the year. Institutions will also receive analytics about PressbooksEDU use on their campus, including interactive data dashboards on book use. Ultimately, this program allows member institutions to jumpstart their OER work and build local expertise to support growing OER interest on their campus. Eight colleges and four universities are taking an institutional step towards supporting open education by opting in to the first wave of this program.
Why open publishing?
Faculty across Ontario have been using eCampusOntario’s Open Library publishing platform to create or adapt customized digital resources for their teaching. Nearly 400 public projects exist on the eCampusOntario network. The commitment of faculty to ensuring all students have access to course materials they need has saved Ontario students over $10 million in textbook costs.
New year, new opportunities
Throughout August, institutional representatives have been attending Pressbooks trainings to get ready for the new academic year. Some institutions have established OER programs they are looking to grow.
“At McMaster, we are so fortunate to have support from our libraries, Provost’s office and the MacPherson Institute in launching an OER grant program to foster the creation and adaptation of open textbooks,” writes Joanne Kehoe, Lead Educational Developer, Digital Pedagogy, at McMaster University.
“We recently awarded the first round to a cohort of amazing educators whose projects are exemplars of open teaching approaches. We’ve also seen tremendous interest in using Pressbooks to create accessible, contextualized teaching and learning guidebooks, and resources for students as a result of the shift to online learning. The possibilities that the Pressbooks Single Sign On (SSO) provides will help these initiatives immensely, from improving collaboration across faculty/student staff teams and helping us to carve out and better understand our own open education initiatives through a McMaster dashboard.”
Others are jumping into the OER waters for the first time and are looking to provide centralized training and support for curious faculty. Some institutions are even planning to use the service to engage their students in co-creating resources.
The Pressbooks Growth service will build on the existing open education support offered by eCampusOntario, including the eCampusOntario H5P Studio and the Open Library. For more information about enrolling your institution, email Lillian Hogendoorn, Acting Manager, Digital Access & OER.