Open Textbooks as a Catalyst for Education Innovation in Online and Digital Learning

Concurrent Session 6
Streamed Session

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Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Are you looking for new ways to motivate faculty and to engage students in online and digital learning? This session will share examples of how faculty adopted and adapted open textbooks to change their teaching practices. Attendees will brainstorm and share ideas for using open textbooks to advance education innovation.


Nobuko Fujita is a learning specialist in the Office of Open Learning at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. She has a PhD (Education) from University of Toronto and over a decade of experience supporting online and blended learning design in higher education.

Extended Abstract

There is a contemporary emphasis on using open educational resources (OER), particularly open textbooks, to make higher education more accessible and affordable to students. While saving students money is a laudable goal, improving the quality of student learning experiences in digital and online courses and programs can be another motivation for faculty instructors in adopting and adopting open textbooks.

As with other OER, a challenge in adopting an open textbook is that it does not meet the needs of an instructor teaching an existing course. However, depending on the licensing, open textbooks have the advantage of being relatively easy to adapt and customize using online tools such as PressBooks or Bookdown. In addition to editing the textual content, instructors may quickly enhance the content of these textbooks with relevant current, real world examples, data (e.g. open data), multimedia (e.g., podcasts, YouTube videos), interactives (e.g. H5P), and annotations (e.g. to engage students.

In this session, two professors will share their experiences of adopting and adapting open textbooks that transformed their traditional teaching practices towards educational innovation. Through the process of developing an online, open textbook, one professor shifted from a focus on the course content, to the instructional design of exercises and assignments to help students learn business finance. The other professor reflected on the non-traditional pedagogy underlying an open textbook on statistics, and redesigned the course to align with the innovative teaching approach. Attendees will be encouraged to reflect, brainstorm and share how open textbooks may advance educational innovation at their institutions.

Plan for interactivity: This session will begin with an interactive presentation using Mentimeter or PollEverywhere to encourage audience participation. After a brief introduction and welcome (5 minutes), the context for open textbook use for adopting and adapting them will be provided (10 minutes), followed by examples from two professors who adopted open textbooks to transform their teaching practices (and enliven course subjects that students find boring!) (15 minutes). Attendees will have an opportunity to reflect individually (5 minutes), then engage in a whole group brainstorming and sharing of ideas for how open textbooks can catalyze innovative teaching practices (10 minutes).

Takeaways from this session: Attendees will be able to search for existing open textbooks to adopt in their subject matter, describe how they can adapt open textbooks using online tools, and discuss ways to integrate open textbooks to advance their online and digital teaching practice.