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Thinking about course textbooks

Looking ahead to the next academic year, many instructors are exploring textbook options to find the ones best suited to their course content, tailored to their teaching, and affordable for their students. A new Queen’s working group is exploring how to help.

When and Where
The sessions will be held Monday, April 24 at 3 pm and Tuesday April 25 at 9:30 am and 11:30 am, at the University Club. Each session will last about an hour. To register, please contact Nadia Timperio, indicating your preferred date and time.

The Queen’s Open and Affordable Course Materials Working Group wants to hear from faculty and students as it begins a phase of exploration, including the formulation of pilot projects this spring. The purpose of the group’s work is to support equitable, broad access to learning resources.

Upcoming instructor-oriented discussion groups on April 24 and April 25 are open to faculty across all disciplines, and will provide an opportunity to share experiences, views and ideas, and to help shape forthcoming pilot projects at Queen’s. These discussions will help the working group learn about instructors’ experiences with – and interest in – different types of course materials, particularly open education resources (teaching, learning and research resources that are free of cost to students and which also grant legal permissions for open and fair use). The group welcomes insights on opportunities and challenges associated with these materials – for instructors, students and the creators of various types of teaching materials?

Input gathered at these discussion groups will help inform the design of pilot projects that can test possible approaches, and shape platforms and services that support the use of course materials across the curriculum. As the group develops the pilot project parameters, members are eager to hear about any potential projects instructors have in mind.

Projects across the country are undertaking similar explorations. The BCcampus Open Textbook Project led the way in Canada in the development of open education resources, and eCampus Ontario is now building on that work with the launch of a new virtual Open Textbook Library. Queen’s has an opportunity to collaborate with other institutions in Ontario to provide advice on the design and development of a prototype for an open publishing infrastructure to support this Open Textbook Library.

The Showcase of Teaching and Learning at Queen’s, hosted by the Centre for Teaching and Learning on May 3, will also provide an opportunity to think about these matters: Rosarie Coughlan (Scholarly Publishing Librarian, Queen’s University Library) and Mark Swartz (Copyright Manager at Queen’s) will present on “Building and Integrating Open Educational Resources to Support Your Teaching.”  

The Open and Affordable Course Materials Working Group is chaired by Martha Whitehead, Vice-Provost (Digital Planning) and University Librarian, and reports to the Provost’s Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning.