Open Textbooks

First Open Textbook Conference Scheduled in Minneapolis

The first meeting of an initiative to make more digital textbooks available to college students will take place August 5-7 at the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota.

Representatives of more than 75 colleges and universities will gather for the Open Textbook Network's (OTN) first Summer Institute. Participants will work together to develop strategies for building and developing open textbook programs on their campuses. Conference sessions will equip them with the tools they need to persuade faculty members on their campuses of the benefits of using a Creative Commons license to reduce the textbook costs that can range as high as $1,300 annually for students.

"As many institutions make a commitment to empower and engage their faculty in the potential of open textbooks, they're also committing their organizations' talent to sustain open textbooks on their campuses,” said David Ernst, director of the Center for Open Education at Minnesota and founder of the Open Textbook Library.

The Open Textbook Library is the first searchable online catalogue of open textbooks, most of them already reviewed by OTN institution faculty members. At the moment, more than 185 titles are available.

Among the higher education institutions that have already joined the network along with Minnesota are the North Dakota University System, University of Arizona, Virginia Tech and Macalester College.

The Summer Institute will coincide with a Moodle conference also at the Twin Cities campus August 4-6, which will feature Moodle founder Martin Dougiamas as well as speakers from higher ed and K-12 talking about how they use open source tools, including the Moodle open source course management system, in education.

About the Author

Michael Hart is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the former executive editor of THE Journal.

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