Open Textbooks expert panel ignites online discussion – CRADLE Seminar Series 5 Oct 2021: Review by Dr Sarah Lambert

Following a highly interactive expert panel session ‘Open Textbooks in Australia: updated, localised, inclusive’, CRADLE Honorary Fellow Sarah Lambert reflects on important messages that arose from the conversations.

With over 110 people logged in for our latest CRADLE seminar, the presentation plus panel format provided a vibrant online conversation about the potential of Open Textbooks in Australia. On top of the panellists’ insights, ably chaired by Prof. Helen Partridge, there were also plenty of audience contributions in the chats sharing links and previous experiences. Some of the audience members were taking a lot of notes. Please check out this Tweet summary posted by Library leader Clare Thorpe, a great take on the main points discussed at the event.

Findings and discussion covered economic and cultural belonging/inclusion benefits of using and modifying open textbooks (free, digital, openly licenced) to provide free localised resources to students and bring curriculum up to date.

I really enjoyed sharing some of the findings and foci on the recommendations of the recent National scoping study to the Higher Education sector, described as a ‘road map’ for the next few years development of Open Educational Resources (OER) and open textbooks.

The recommendations about cross-sector collaboration really seemed to resonate with the panellists and audience. Frank Ponte from RMIT Library has also published an article reviewing the event and the research recommendations for action. As Frank notes,

The OER movement should tailor development of open resources to fit into the policy and strategic directions established locally at each institution, rather than wait for funding from government legislators.

This was another important takeaway for the audience from across the library, academic and ed-tech sectors at different institutions. Open textbooks projects can help concrete many different policy objectives, from renewing curriculum, to expanding digital delivery and supporting women in STEM and indigenous reconciliation aspirations. A recording is available for those unable to attend.




The expert panel comprised CRADLE Honorary Fellow Dr Sarah Lambert,  Ms Fiona Salisbury, Executive Director Library and University Librarian, La Trobe University; Prof. Kevin Ashford-Rowe, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Digital Learning), Queensland University of Technology; and Dr Johanna Funk, lecturer in cultural knowledges, Charles Darwin University.

For more details on the project, visit the Open Textbooks as Social Justice National Scoping study website.

You can also follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahLambertOz.


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