My self introduction

Hi everyone,

My name is Mahrya Burnett, and I’m the Scholarly Communications Librarian at University of Iowa. In spring 2019, we launched our first round of OER grants to encourage use and creation of open resources. We’re currently supporting 15 different projects, which span many disciplines and types of OER. I’m looking forward to joining these great discussions!



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Hi Mahrya, welcome! I’m Apurva from the Rebus team. :slight_smile:

It’s great to see University of Iowa supporting OER creation! 15 projects is a big start, and I’d love to learn more about what kinds of projects you have in your first round. I facilitate the Textbook Success Program at Rebus, and always enjoy sharing and exchanging information with others who are supporting the roles of creators. Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Welcome Mahrya!

I would love to hear more about the projects you’re managing. Are they big intro textbooks, niche adaptations, everywhere in between? Big institutional OER pushes like these get me so excited.

I’d also reiterate what Apurva said about the Textbook Success Program. It might be a really great approach for your program. If not, there are still so many resources here to guide creation.

Welcome welcome

It’s a big group, for sure! We have a mix of projects. More than half are authoring a textbook, and then there are two lab notebooks, two module-based web projects, one set of test bank questions for the OpenStax Microeconomics book, and a set of open worksheets for computer programming. We have a range of disciplines, too, although there are multiple grantees from foreign languages, as well as social work. Many of these projects are using Pressbooks, although there are a few that are still struggling to find the right platform. It’s great to have Rebus to ask questions and bounce ideas around. :slight_smile:

It’s quite a mix right now. We have some courses that are quite niche, and others that are survey courses. The majority of our grantees are working on OER creation projects, though, and are pretty much starting from scratch. That surprised me a bit. I thought we’d get more people adapting and remixing in the first round, but that hasn’t been the case. But yes, I’m very excited to have this funding available to us! I’ll definitely check out the Textbook Success Program. :slight_smile:

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Awesome! I can’t wait to see what your teams do!

That’s a good mix. I’m particularly interested in the lab notebooks, and the ancillary projects you mentioned, as I haven’t worked with many of these kinds of projects before. Would love to see how those teams are getting along. Is there a public space I could follow along? If they don’t have any yet, but would like a place to share updates, solicit collaborators, etc., they’re welcome to create a project homepage on our platform (see instructions). Projects get a public project homepage and discussion space, and can use it as they see fit to manage their project and teams.

Yes, choosing the right platform is tricky! Many of the projects in the October 2019 cohort are on Pressbooks, but some are working on content that may need to be presented slightly differently. Happy to connect you with them in case they wanted to bounce off ideas.

We’re planning on showcasing the finished projects on our program website (, and we will be archiving them in our institutional repository, as well. I’ll ask the group if anyone would like to use the Rebus platform, as well. Thanks for offering that as an option!

The lab notebooks/workbooks are for chemistry and for Korean language learning, respectively. I believe both of those projects are using Pressbooks and the authors have found plug-ins that support the necessary character sets. The OpenStax ancillary project is a set of test bank questions. The author has the questions mostly drafted but is now looking for an open homework platform through which to share them effectively. I’d love to hear any suggestions people might have for sharing these sorts of materials.