Type: Public 4-Year, Research University
Annual Enrollment: 61,642
Texas A&M University Libraries has launched a program to encourage A&M faculty to adopt existing Open Access textbooks from sources such as OpenStax.org and the Open Textbook Library as alternatives to expensive commercial textbooks. An early success of the Libraries’ Open Access Textbook Initiative (OATI), has been the Biology department’s adoption of the Biology OA textbook from OpenStax.org to support students enrolled in BIOL 111 & 112.
What makes the Open Access Textbook Initiative at Texas A&M University unique is that it is comprised entirely of subject librarians in the creation of low- to no-cost custom course packs for ANY course with an expensive textbook, utilizing a combination of existing licensed library sources and OER content. This added dimension to the program ensures that any course, regardless of the availability of an OA textbook, can be taught using open educational materials.
The Libraries’ Open Access Textbook Initiative harnesses the energy of three program elements underway at Texas A&M that all work to support faculty in the adoption of OA course materials:
OATI provides financial support, and subject matter expertise, to participating faculty who commit to “flip” their course material over to open access resources, either an OA textbook or a hybrid course pack that deftly combines library licensed sources and OER content. Texas A&M’s Student Goverment Association (SGA), in collaboration with the Libraries, annually recognizes teaching faculty who demonstrate exemplary usage of open access materials in their classrooms with the SGA Teaching Award. Examples of such use include, but are not limited to, the utilization of free textbooks, the provision of free electronic notes or textbook alternatives, the use/incorporation of free educational resources/materials in courses, etc. This is a student nominated award and holds considerable weight in the tenure and promotion of the awarded faculty. See: http://library.tamu.edu/services/scholarly_communication/open_ed_awards.html Texas A&M University encourages faculty to enhance all NSF proposals with the creation of a chapter for an OA textbook as part of the NSF Broader Impacts Program. This intellectual contribution to the OA movement helps to broaden the pool from which teaching faculty can pull from for future course syllabi.
The OATI team, under my leadership, is a multidisciplinary group of subject experts from across the Libraries. Members include Bruce Neville, Jane Stephens, Gary Wan, Diana Ramirez, Tina Budzize-Weaver, David Hubbard, Tom Sullivan, and Derek Halling.
In early 2017, the OATI team set out to find 4-6 faculty adopters with its original fund of $6000. Initial targets included faculty in the Colleges of Geosciences and the Biology Department –both were seen as low hanging fruit and good places to begin. As of December 1, 2017 OATI has 8 Biology 111 instructors committed to teach from the Biology OA textbook in Summer 2018. Further, it has 4 instructors (3 Geosciences and 1 Biology) committed to switch to custom course packs, two of whom will begin in Fall 2018. Presently, OATI has secured funds for faculty stipends for FY 2017-2018 totaling $12,000.
Beyond Biology and Geosciences, the team has identified a number of OA textbooks that look to be good matches for potentially flipping textbooks in the following departments: Mathematics (Gary Wan), Psychology (Diana Ramirez) and Accounting and Marketing (Tom Sullivan). The team plans to move forward to work with faculty in these areas over the course of 2018.
Campus Entities Most Active in Efforts Advancing OER:
Library Departments Active in Efforts Advancing OER:
Academic Subjects With Greatest OER Traction:
Mechanisms to Support OER Included in the Following:
OER Staff Location: