Sloan-C: Unconference Session: eTexts and Open Educational Resources (OER)

For a full listing of materials and questions proposed, you can review the Google Doc at

The audience was a majority of instructional faculty.  Overall, this is a place libraries should be involved and we are 99% not.  Here are some of the conversation highlights.

Questions asked:

  • Are publishers willing to let you take a copy of a chapter from one book and then take another chapter of another book?
    • Why aren’t they working with their Reserves service?
  • Pearson’s offers a My Finance Lab entire portal connected to textbooks – this resource wouldn’t be available if you didn’t use the book
  • the amount of time that an electronic text (they meant books) is available is limited
    • generally they get eText for 6-18 months
    • print still had greater resale value
  • Push to identify the major courses we all teach – the California affordable textbooks
    • this will create tension determining what is a “basic” or “common” course versus something that needs to be more distinctive
  • How do we amass this multimodal materials for use across systems?
  • Classroom Salon is like VoiceThread but better analytics – used in Intro to Chem and Anatomy classes
  • Faculty want to be able to share annotated text so students see the emphasized information or incorporating video lectures at the key points in the text
  • Free adaptive software (possibly this MIT-based open source project
  • For professional organizations like Modern Languages Association, there aren’t typically sessions to consider collaborating on a textbook together on Philosophy, for example –> maybe we should?
  • AAMC+Khan Academy+Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – one example of coordinating the efforts
  • this also sounds like they need a central repository, like PRIMO
  • if you are using a system or text aggregator, use it for what it is intended; don’t try to have discussion outside the LMS since that is what students are most familiar with using and they may hit you on the course reviews
  • unsure of the value of Ginkgotree or if this just duplicates the LMS
  • it would be great to have the analytics about how the class had to read the same paragraph 7 different times, indicating we need to emphasis this concept or explain better
  • health sciences tends to need 5 different books based on content – don’t have enough time to search the periodical literature to find all the information you would need to cover the same material from the books
  • for some topics (like Aristotle), he hasn’t written anything new so publishers are mostly scrambling the content every two years or so as a “new” book
  • how we visually represent this stuff can create visual consistency challenges

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