Have open textbook projects you’ve worked with to date been driven by faculty, departments, university administration, the library, university press or other?
So far, individual faculty members are creating their own open textbooks at the University of Arizona. The library (which includes a university press) is looking for ways to support them. We’ve formed an OER Action Committee on campus, which includes the library, Office of Instruction and Assessment, UA BookStores, Office of Digital Learning, central IT, Disability Resource Center, faculty using OER, and student government reps.
I’m curious if you have any insight as to the motivations of the faculty members. Are they driving OT creation because their subject is too new or rapidly changing to have a textbook, or because they are concerned about the affordability of the existing textbook for students, because they think they can improve on the content that’s available, or for other reasons?
Ours have primarily been driven by faculty. The two faculty members who have come to us with open textbook projects have mostly worked on the project on their own with minimal support from the library. We supported the work of one of the projects with funds from our Open Education Initiative, but after that the professor was generally able to create and maintain the work on his own. The same can be said for the other project. We have hesitated in the past on promoting textbook creation because of the small amount of funds we offer, but are now considering it as we enter into this partnership with OTN/Rebus.
I would also add that I think each of the two faculty members on our campus were motivated by one of two factors; either affordability or improving on the currently available content.
I only know of one group that has created something like an open textbook (though they don’t call it that), in math. That was faculty-driven. We, too, have a small open ed working group (like what @ccuillier mentioned; ours is me (faculty), some people from the Teaching & Learning Centre, a librarian, and a student from the student government. We don’t have any kind of central support for this sort of work at the moment. It comes from faculty and then the teaching & learning centre provides tech help if asked. I am not sure what the math faculty’s motivations were, though I plan to get in touch with them soon about something else & I can ask!