Session 1 - Introductions to the February 2022 A Cohort

Please post your introductions as replies to this post. Speak to any of the three prompts below:

  • A bit about yourself, your project, and your role on this project
  • Your vision for the project
  • Challenges that you anticipate and possible solutions

Hey everyone! I’m Apurva from Rebus — you’ll see me popping in and out of sessions to share information, resources, and more about open publishing both from my own experience working on OER projects and from facilitating other TSP cohorts.

I have a background in Publishing, Literature, and Marketing, and in the recent years have learned a lot about open pedagogy, open publishing tools, equitable publishing practices and more. I’ll also try to bring in any connections or information I have about existing OER that you may want to look at for your adaptation projects.

Looking forward to learning more about you all!

I am the Coordinator of Instructional Technology/LMS Administrator at Holyoke Community College. I’ve been working in the educational technology field for over 20 years and have worked in both higher education and secondary education. I have taught mathematics, physics, computer science, comic book history, and more in multiple modalities. I will be providing support for the HCC OER projects.


It’s great to be here!

My name is Joan Giovannini. I am an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Education at Holyoke Community College. I’ve worked here for 20 years- 12 of those as an adjunct and 7 of those as a full-time faculty member.

My vision is to use an existing OER text for my course- and update it to meet the needs of Massachusetts and to frame it with a DEI lens. It’s a great foundational text- so I want to enhance it and share it with the other community colleges in MA. I want to embed videos, H5P activities, ancillary materials, etc. I also really want to include the work of my students in an open pedagogical process.

I am worried about work load and my ability to manage my full teaching load, chair responsibilities, family, fun stuff, and this project. I know I’ll do it well- it’s just getting started and organizing myself that I need to stop fearing.


Comic book history! I learn something new about you every single time we work together.

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My name is Santosha Adhibhatta, from the Department of Environment, Society and Sustainability. My plan is to adapt existing resources, while creating part of an Open textbook for my course Introduction to Physical Science which is primarily for Elementary Education majors.
The main goal of this project is to increase representation of women and minorities in my book. Complex current topics will also be included in the book, that can be altered as required.
There are a lot of resources for my book and it is overwhelming. I would also like to get started on learning more about authoring tools, remixing and the licensing terms.


My name is Deborah McMakin and I teach at Framingham State University in the Psychology and Philosophy Department. We are teaching General Psychology. Our project has three components:

  1. Engage students in activities where they can analyze text information relative to representation. We want them to view knowledge as dynamic and interactive.
  2. Create instructor activities/resources for the Gen Psych text
  3. Modify first chapter for more representative content and draft additional chapters to include community and ecological psychology.

Challenges I anticipate are understanding how Rebus and Rotel work together, managing time among the projects’ three components. Also, keeping track of the resources. I think the solutions are in the Rebus and Rotel meetings.


I am with you, Deb regarding Rebus and ROTEL and how they work together or separately. I am feeling a little disoriented between the two- but suspect that this will feel clearer in a week or two.


Hi I’m Peter Staab, in the Mathematics Department at Fitchburg State University. I am working with a colleague, Rachael Norton (who is currently on maternity leave) on our project.

We are rewriting a number of Introduction to Statistics problems for webwork for gender and racial equity. Webwork is an open-source online homework system with 50,000+ currently available problems.


Hello Everyone! I am Kyle. I am a full-time instructional designer and adjunct faculty at my institution, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC). My course is First Year Experience (FYE) at the school. I will be looking to take existing texts and add new content to:

  • Introduce college terminology, student affairs and common campus services
  • Address campus specific populations based on demographics of area and students
  • Create a template for campuses to personalize their text

Combining materials, as well as writing text, is something I would like to better understand, as well as licenses.


Thank you to everyone who joined us on Friday for Session 1. I will be looking into where the recording will be shared and the transcripts.
I am so glad you all began logging in and instruducing yourselves and projects. We will be continuing to learn more, grow our project teams, and build this February 2022 S TSP Cohort.

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@ Peter-

I think that you and Rachael Norton chose a manageable and smart project- I love that your goal is contribute to the OER community by supplementing and adding information to Webwork!

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Session 1: Introductions more follow-up and prep for Session 2.

It was wonderful to meet so many of you, and see almost all teams and team members in our cohort represented at our first session!

The main focus was to get to know one another’s projects, understand how our sessions will be structured, and learn about Rebus’ tools and approaches. As some of you requested more guidance for project accountability in the process, we are designing activities for in-session practice and application afterwards, so that you can successively build out your OER creation plan and implement it smoothly over the coming year. On that note, I kindly ask you to complete this week’s activities as outlined in your session handout:

  • Respond below with your introduction, including your role on the project and the dream goal you have for it if you have not completed this.
  • Agree to the Memorandum of Understanding for our cohort.
  • Create a project homepage for your project (which will be updated over the course of our program)

We also spent a bit of time discussing Rebus’ collaborative approach to publishing, and how a larger community around a resource can not only make it stronger, but also help maintain it down the line. Our approach hinges on thinking about communications, accessibility, formatting, and more at each stage to really harness the global potential of OER. And these stages can and most likely will be flexible, and thus play out in different ways for each team — that’s what the model is built to do!

We also discussed how being transparent about the process of creation can invite others to contribute and be involved in your projects, whether in big ways or small. The project homepage we host on our Rebus platform, for example, is a unique way to broadcast your project and invite collaborators to join efforts in its creation.

Talking about the tools we use for the Textbook Success Program like Curriculum Hub in Google, for instance, we also mentioned the Rebus Community Forum, where this recap is posted and where we will conveniently streamline ALL our cohort communication. All materials will be available to you throughout the program. We encourage you to share your questions here! Please note that you can use the tag (@feb22a-cohort) for conversations that include all cohort members. In addition, you can also write direct messages to individuals, not only in your cohort, but the entire forum space. Refer to the video tutorials in your handout for a more in-depth overview of the forum and its features.

As for our session recording and Zoom transcripts, you will soon receive a link to a secure Canvas room. Please watch out for the forum message for that.

Finally, please complete any homework from Session1: Handout.
If you want to begin preparing for this week’s session here are links to the slides and to the handout.
I will keep reviewing posts here. Do not hesitate to reach out. And I look forward to Session 2 on Friday.

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Hi all,

I’m Connie Strittmatter, Strategic Projects Librarian at Fitchburg State University. I’m the primary librarian working on OER initiatives on our campus. I’m part of Peter Staab and Rachel Norton’s support team as they work to adapt math problems in WebWork.

Generally I am excited to learn more about pressbooks, developing content through a DEI lens and learning best strategies to help other faculty develop timelines and processes when adapting or creating new course materials.

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This is @Bambos (Barbara Ambos) and have been hired through the ROTEL Grant to be the OER Administrative Coordinator for the Grant. I will be supporting all of members of the OTCC, who in turn support grant recipients. I am based at Framingham State University campus, and am also working as part of FSU’s OER support team. I am attending the TSP Adapt cohort meetings, but am here to help everyone. I am a librarian so I am accustomed to doing research, answering reference questions, and helping in any way I can. Please contact me if you have any questions and I can do the legwork on finding the answer or problem solving. My schedule is Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. I look forward to working with you all.


Hello everyone!

Kaitlin from Rebus here - similar to Apurva, you’ll also see me in sessions in a support role. I’m also a recent graduate of TSP and have learned a lot from the program and look forward to sharing my experiences from TSP and my enthusiasm for open education, which is rooted in expanding access to knowledge with a focus on equity, diversity, and accessibility.

I’m really excited to learn more about your projects, and each of you, throughout these sessions! :blush:

Hi, all-

I’m Rebecca Dowgiert, the new Scholarly Communications Librarian at Framingham State University, happy to be on FSU’s Support Team, and ready to help out, especially FSU’s 1st ROTEL Cohort.


Hello all!

I am Melissa Weise and have been a social sciences adjunct at Holyoke Community College for the last 12 years. I am also a licensed independent clinical social worker and have a private practice as well as manage a state contract for the Department of Mental Health supporting adults with chronic major mental illness live safely in their communities.

My project is revising an Open Access Introduction to Sociology textbook to be more inclusive, relevant, interactive and accessible. I teach my courses from a constructivist stance and really encourage the students to think critically about the things we have created collectively as a society that we take for granted as being “truth” and instead understand that what we have created we can also deconstruct and re-create if it isn’t working for us. To anchor this idea, I utilize a semester-long “Perfect Society” project where students work together to interrogate what “perfect” would mean and how that could (or couldn’t) be constructed. I am hoping to incorporate this into the textbook.

I also am attracted to this project because I have been interested in textbook accessibility and justice since I was an undergraduate and have used open access textbooks in my courses in order to circumvent the exclusive and gate-kept publishing institutions.

I think that my biggest challenges are going to the steep learning curve around the technical aspects of publishing an open access textbook as well as just finding the time to write with a new baby. I am excited to learn more about the open access philosophies and possibilities, though!