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How, Where, and What to Publish: UC Berkeley Scholarly Publishing Symposium
January 31, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
309 Sproul Hall (Graduate Professional Development Center)
Register online: bit.ly/013018pubsymposium
Are you an early career researcher looking to make a mark? Come hear from leading scholarly journal and book publishers (such as Elsevier, Springer-Nature, and UC Press) and open publishing framework and platform creators (such as Collaborative Knowledge Foundation and California Digital Library) during a half-day symposium in which experts cover all aspects of how, where, and what to publish.
Panel presentations and participant discussions will address:
- Targeting the “right” journal for submission
- Overview of the editorial process from submission to acceptance, and responding to reviewer comments
- Publishing ethics
- Communicating your research with a broad audience
Trends in Open Scholarship
- Value of publishing open access
- Publishing preprints & post-prints
- Avoiding predatory publishers
- Trends in peer review
- Open data, publishing mandates, and publishing options
- Research data management
- Licensing research data for reuse
Refreshments will be provided.
Teaching Free: Instructor Insights on Making Course Content Affordable and Accessible
By, Rachael G. Samberg (Scholarly Communication Officer, Library) & Richard Freishtat (Director, Center for Teaching & Learning)
Note: This commentary is being cross-posted on the Center for Teaching & Learning’s blog.
On October 27, 2017, UC Berkeley faculty and lecturers convened to share how they are making textbooks available for free to students—and how they are designing more accessible and transformative learning materials in the process.
In this post, we pass along key takeaways from the stories they shared, in the hope that you may consider implementing similar cost-saving options for students. We also consider why the UC Berkeley campus has come together at this critical moment to address such issues.
This is the first of a series of posts we’ll be doing this semester to dig into the “how” of improving students’ quality of living through affordable and accessible course content.
Students Can’t Afford Class
Before we dive into the lessons gleaned at the October event, campus context behind faculty members’ efforts might help.
Textbook prices have risen 88 percent in the past decade, as detailed in a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. With UC Berkeley undergrads expected to pay at least $900 (a low estimate) on books and materials each academic year, students are financially encumbered to obtain required readings. The campus is conducting a survey to understand the true impact of these expenses for students—including how textbook costs affect whether students take, remain in, and succeed in their classes.
One way to alleviate financial burden for students is by offering them free, digital versions of their assigned readings that can be accessed online or downloaded to electronic devices. For course readers, this might mean uploading materials to the class bCourse site under fair use principles, and for textbooks, this might mean switching to “open textbooks.” Open textbooks (also called “open educational resources” or OERs) are entirely free for anyone to access, read, and download, and are typically licensed for reuse by others to encourage further downstream adaptation and development. Many instructors and students prefer hard copies, and so open textbooks can often be ordered as “print on demand” for a nominal printing fee, or students can print them out themselves.
In the studies to date on open textbook impact, students who have been given access to open textbooks perform at least as well, and often better, than those without open textbooks. This is likely because the playing field is leveled: Everyone in class has access to the readings from day one, and they’re not beyond anyone’s financial reach.
There are several other key advantages to offering parallel access to digital books: Digital native texts are inherently more accessible to students with disabilities. Screen readers and assistive technologies fare much better working with born digital materials rather than print copies that have been scanned in and converted into optical text (not to mention the potential access delay involved in remediating print content). Digital materials are generally also text searchable, so that students can easily find concepts or passages within their readings.
Seeking to address both affordability and accessibility concerns, in 2017, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (VCUE) charged a campus-wide Course Content Affordability & Accessibility Committee (CCAAC) to identify strategies to educate the campus about the costs of course content, and encourage practices that lower costs for students while also making materials more accessible. CCAAC’s report and recommendations are forthcoming in Spring 2018.
An analogous campus partnership has also been very busy: The University Library, Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), and Educational Technology Services (ETS) teamed up and obtained a VCUE and Library-endorsed charter to test services aimed at students course content burdens. Through our Affordable Course Content Pilot program, we have incentivized both adoption and creation of open textbooks. Our idea was simple: What if we offered $2000-$5000 grants for faculty and lecturers to switch to an open textbook, or create their own? We would provide the needed digital publishing and programmatic support to facilitate the transition, and the instructors would use or create something new that was open—and free—to all.
We did not expect to get many takers for the pilot, since designing and writing a textbook requires an incredible amount of work. Yet, we underestimated the earnest commitment on this campus for truly making a difference in students’ lives and academic success. In Fall 2017, five faculty members committed to creating their own open textbooks, and two more are on board for Spring 2018. Fall participants included:
- Brad DeLong and Martha Olney, for Economic Theory – Macroeconomics (ECON 101B)
- Evan Variano, for Elementary Fluid Mechanics (CE100)
- John Wallace, for Dynamics of Romantic Core Values in East Asian Premodern Literature and Contemporary Film (EA LANG 105)
- Jonathan Zwicker, for Seminar in Classical Japanese Texts (JAPAN 240)
Most of their books will be unveiled and implemented in their classrooms beginning this semester. In a future blog post, we will explore their creation of these open books, touching on everything from mechanical issues related to the digital platforms and tools being used, publishing mechanics, and how students have received them. (Sneak preview: You do not need to be a technological wizard to create a digital textbook! And, we can help.)
Now, however, we’d like to consider the salient lessons discerned from these faculty members’ experiences in creating open textbooks for the pilot.
Lessons from the Trenches
On October 27, 2017 pilot program participants Brad DeLong and John Wallace were joined by Ani Adhikari (whose Data 8 open textbook has already been in use for several years) in speaking to a rapt crowd about why they chose to create open textbooks, and what they have learned in the process. We have taken the liberty of distilling their guidance.
1. If you create an open textbook, you have tremendous flexibility and complete control over what your students see, and when they see it.
Wallace observed that, although his book on East Asian literature and film will be deployed in Spring 2018, it will remain a work in progress. The beauty of writing and managing one’s own digital material is that changes (and typo fixes!) can be made in real time, without having to wait until your publisher decides to release a new edition. Wallace is utilizing Pressbooks.com to administer his material, and he can log in and change whatever he wants, whenever he wants—sharing his creative product in stages or in full, at his election.
This level of control also offers topical benefits. DeLong and Olney are converting their Macroeconomics print textbook into an open textbook, with interactive data for students to play with as they experiment with formulae and economic theories. To provide meaningful, real world information, DeLong and Olney need to be able to update and adjust content regularly. Because they are in complete command over the Jupyter Notebook which they use to manage their content, they can incorporate current economic events and statistics in real time, or keep it current on a semester-by-semester basis.
2. Creating your own open book allows you to choose your voice and write to connect with your students—and in so doing, capitalize on intellectual freedom as you forge and sculpt your discipline. As you branch off into new knowledge areas, disciplines can be redeveloped into what you make them.
Writing your own open textbook is a tremendous amount of work, but it can also offer tremendous intellectual freedom. Wallace, DeLong, and Adhikari each exclaimed the benefits of being able to write in a tone and on issues directed to their students—using language and content that may not have survived traditional textbook editing processes. The value is that the written material has the potential for resonating more meaningfully with students.
Adhikari discussed some foundational examples in the Data Science 8 textbook, in which she writes vibrantly about a water pump in Victorian London. The lesson frames for students one of the first ways that data was used to establish causality (in this case, mapping cholera outbreaks to a water pump). Here is a brief excerpt:
One of the earliest examples of astute observation eventually leading to the establishment of causality dates back more than 150 years. To get your mind into the right timeframe, try to imagine London in the 1850’s. It was the world’s wealthiest city but many of its people were desperately poor. Charles Dickens, then at the height of his fame, was writing about their plight. Disease was rife in the poorer parts of the city, and cholera was among the most feared. It was not yet known that germs cause disease; the leading theory was that “miasmas” were the main culprit. Miasmas manifested themselves as bad smells, and were thought to be invisible poisonous particles arising out of decaying matter. Parts of London did smell very bad, especially in hot weather. To protect themselves against infection, those who could afford to held sweet-smelling things to their noses.
From reading even just this brief excerpt, it is hard to imagine traditional textbooks so compellingly establishing an argument, or traditional textbook authors maintaining enough editorial control over their work to ensure that these points are included exactly as intended.
3. Digital editions provide valuable portability for students, while preserving print on demand options.
Adhikari and DeLong also addressed portability benefits of open textbooks. UC Berkeley students are incredibly engaged academically, and as a result, under considerable competing demands on their time. It is not uncommon to see students working on portable devices on public transportation or at the gym, just to make the most of any spare moments they have.
In survey responses by students whose classes participated in our pilot program, students near universally described how having online access to, or being able to digitally download, their reading materials improved their learning experience. Not only could they take their readings everywhere (and we mean everywhere!), but also they did not have to lug around numerous heavy books. Many also remarked that they valued not having to “waste paper” and harm the environment. Students knew that printing out the materials was an option, though few reported having chosen to do so—actually preferring the electronic format.
4. You can create an open module or two to fill in the gaps, rather than requiring students to purchase an entire textbook just for a few sections.
Let’s say you have found the perfect textbook for about 80% of your course, but it lacks two or three topics that you cover in class, and for which you assign a separate book entirely. There may be no need to reinvent the wheel in designing an entire textbook from scratch, but perhaps you could create just what you need to fill in the gaps rather than recommending a second book for purchase.
This is precisely what Horst Rademacher of the Berkeley Seismology Lab, did for EPS20 (Earthquakes in Your Backyard). As part of the pilot program, Rademacher created on open module through Pressbooks.com to address one topic: The Hayward Fault at the UC Berkeley campus. Doing so was not only a more reasonable time investment, but also a very efficient way of making sure students had tailor-made access to the specific content they would need for class.
5. If you collocate all digital readings and assignment submissions, it can be easier for graduate student instructors to complete grading, and focus more on pedagogy.
Generating efficiencies in one area necessarily creates opportunities in another. In this case, GSI’s, and instructors alike, can more easily move between and through grading of student work (particularly if coupled with other campus-licensed tools like GradeScope). The ability to centrally locate, quickly navigate, and reliably assess student work can considerably reduce time spent on the logistical aspects of grading. The extra time that was once necessary for grading logistics, can now be better utilized in service of pedagogy and student learning. Faculty discussed greater time available to improve their course materials, implement new pedagogies, or even supplement learning through more formative approaches that were very challenging previously due to time constraints.
6. Open textbooks have the potential to save UC Berkeley students hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, while making access to higher education learning materials more equitable in your class and beyond.
In DeLong’s own words, his forthcoming Macroeconomics textbook can “go big or go home,” and he’s banking on “big.” There are four sections of macroeconomics are taught each year on our campus, with approximately 1000 students. If each of the class sections adopted the DeLong-Olney open textbook rather than the $200 print equivalent, UC Berkeley macroeconomics students could save up to $200,000 each year. Of course, macroeconomics is a staple at institutions across the nation and world. DeLong and Olney are enabling thousands upon thousands of students globally to have access to extremely high quality instructional materials—potentially saving students millions every year. The financial impact that open textbooks can have is quantifiable, and it’s huge.
Financial impact is but one piece of the equitability puzzle. Both DeLong and Adhikari discussed open textbooks’ ability to promote social justice in the classroom, and the sense of obligation they feel as faculty members in doing as much as they can to ensure that all of their students have equal opportunities to succeed.
If you would like to explore the possibility of adopting or creating an open textbook for your class, we would love to meet with you! Limited numbers of $2000-$5000 grants remain available. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Scholarly Communication Website (lib.berkeley.edu/scholcomm) to learn more.
And if you are interested in CCAAC and the pilot team’s report and findings about course content affordability at the UC Berkeley campus, please stay tuned to posts distributed through the Center for Teaching and Learning and the Library’s Scholarly Communication program’s Twitter account, @UCB_scholcomm.
Friday, Oct. 27
Making Textbooks and Course Readers Affordable
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Wurster Hall, Environmental Design Library
Do you wonder how to make your assigned readings more affordable, and how much time and effort you’d need to invest? The University Library and Center for Teaching and Learning have partnered in an innovative pilot program to reduce course content expenses and incentivize the creation of high quality, free, and open course materials. In this panel event, you’ll hear from participating faculty and lecturers who will discuss their experiences and provide practical tips from the leading edge of course content affordability. Refreshments will be provided.
Friday, Dec. 8
Open Textbook Workshop – Faculty & Lecturers
9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. | Academic Innovation Studio, 127 Dwinelle Hall
Are you an instructor who is concerned about the impact of high textbook costs on your students? Do you want to adopt or create innovative pedagogical materials? Explore possible open textbook solutions by attending a two hour workshop and writing a short textbook review. The Library will provide you with a $200 stipend for your efforts! Space is limited, so please submit a very brief application form: http://bit.ly/facultyOpenTextwkshp
Friday, Dec. 8
Open Textbook Workshop – Staff & Campus Partners
12:45 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. | Academic Innovation Studio, 127 Dwinelle Hall
Are you a UC Berkeley staff or affiliate who is concerned about the impact of high textbook costs on students, or you are working with a faculty member who is? Do you want to support the adoption or creation of innovative pedagogical materials? Learn the landscape, opportunities, and challenges for adopting and creating open textbooks, and how to discuss whether open textbooks are a good fit.
Tuesday, Feb. 20
Publish Digital Books and Open Textbooks with Pressbooks
1:10-2:30 p.m. | Academic Innovation Studio, Dwinelle Hall 117 (Level D)
If you’re looking to self-publish work of any length and want an easy-to-use tool that offers a high degree of customization, allows flexibility with publishing formats (EPUB, MOBI, PDF), and provides web-hosting options, Pressbooks may be great for you. Pressbooks is often the tool of choice for academics creating digital books, open textbooks, and open educational resources, since you can license your materials for reuse however you desire. Learn why and how to use Pressbooks for publishing your original books or course materials. You’ll leave the workshop with a project already under way!
Open Access connects your scholarship to the world, and helps you gain global readership. For the week of Oct. 23-27, the UC Berkeley Library is highlighting these connections.
You can attend five exciting workshops and panels that bridge real-world scholarly publishing skills with the connectedness that open access offers.
What’s Open Access?
Open Access (OA) is the free, immediate, online availability of scholarship. Often, OA scholarship is also free of accompanying copyright or licensing reuse restrictions, promoting further innovation. OA removes barriers between readers and scholarly publications—connecting readers to information, and scholars to emerging scholarship and other authors with whom they can collaborate, or whose work they can test, innovate with, and expand upon.
Open Access Week @ UC Berkeley
OA Week 2017 is a global effort to bring attention to the connections that OA makes possible. At UC Berkeley, the University Library—with participation from partners like the Graduate Division, California Digital Library, Center for Teaching & Learning and more—has put together engaging programming demonstrating OA’s connections in action. We hope to see you at the events, where you can continue to build your scholarly publishing skills.
Refreshments provided at all events, and attendance enters you into raffle for prizes! To find out more about each event, please visit our Scholarly Communication Events page.
Monday, Oct. 23
Copyright and Your Dissertation
1-2:30 p.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
From the beginning of the writing process to submitting and publishing your dissertation or thesis, we will walk you through a useful workflow for addressing copyright and other legal considerations.
Tuesday, Oct. 24
First Books & Publishing Your Dissertation
2-3:30 p.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
Hear from expert panelists about what happens once you submit your dissertation, how to shape your dissertation’s impact, and how to go about publishing your first book.
Wednesday, Oct. 25
Increasing and Monitoring Scholarly Impact
10-11:30 a.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
Discover strategies and tips for preparing and promoting your scholarship, and the best ways to monitor and increase your citations and success. You’ll also learn how to: understand metrics, select and use scholarly networking tools, choose reputable open access journals and publishing options, and participate in open access article and book funding opportunities.
Thursday, Oct. 26
Understanding the (Changing) Realm of Peer Review
1-2:30 p.m. | 309 Sproul Hall
Are you publishing an article or reviewing someone else’s work? Panelists demystify the peer review process, what’s expected of you and what you’ll experience, and how the world of peer review is evolving with new models that foster transparency and impact.
Friday, Oct. 27
Making Textbooks and Course Readers Affordable
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | Wurster Hall, Environmental Design Library
Do you wonder how to make your assigned readings more affordable, and how much time and effort you’d need to invest? The University Library and Center for Teaching and Learning have partnered in an innovative pilot program to reduce course content expenses and incentivize the creation of high quality, free, and open course materials. In this panel event, you’ll hear from participating faculty and lecturers who will discuss their experiences and provide practical tips from the leading edge of course content affordability.
We hope to see you there!
Going to college ain’t cheap, what with tuition, room and the ubiquitous yet mysteriously named board. (Does anyone know what that last one actually means?)
If that weren’t enough, the cost of course materials have soared to sky-high levels. Textbook prices have risen 88 percent in the past decade, according to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report. And with undergrads here expecting to pay about $900 — a low figure for some — on books and materials this academic year, students are shouldering a large burden.
“This is something that every major university is grappling with,” says Rachael Samberg, scholarly communication officer at the University Library at UC Berkeley, who is directing a cross-campus effort to provide students with free and openly available course materials starting this fall.
The pilot programs, with support from the Arcadia Fund, are broken into three parts: providing free course packs — the often hefty sheafs of assigned readings that students are usually expected to pay for; paying professors to switch to free digital versions of their books; and supplying grants for the creation of new, openly accessible course texts.
The first two — the free course packs and the digital versions of course materials — are available starting this semester, and the new course materials — referred to as open educational resources — will be available this spring or next fall.
More than 20 classes, with subjects ranging from economics to earthquakes and class sizes ranging from 15 to 350 students, are part of the pilots.
Daniel A. Rodríguez, a professor of city and regional planning who arrived at UC Berkeley last year, is familiar with the concept of free class materials for students. Previously, when he was working at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he took it upon himself to scan readings and make them freely available as PDFs for his students.
Expecting students to pay $300 for a course pack, he said, was “unconscionable.”
So when an email popped into his inbox asking if he was interested in the pilot, it was a no-brainer.
“This was just a much more institutionalized and easy way to do it,” he said.
This year, instead of each student paying a total of $150 for a roughly 600-page course pack, students in Rodríguez’s undergraduate course, called Sustainable Mobility, will have access to online readings.
The cost for students to access the materials? Free.
“(This is) a very, very welcome outcome,” he said.
In addition to providing students with free course materials, and professors with grants totaling roughly $25,000 to make it all possible, the initiative provides fair use counseling to professors who choose to participate, which eliminates the fee — which is passed on to students — that commercial copy centers charge to legally clear the material they’re reproducing.
Based on the findings from the pilots, the project team will provide recommendations about the next steps to achieve broader reach across campus.
Regardless of what lies ahead, the pilot programs alone have a potential impact that reaches far beyond Berkeley, Samberg said.
The creation of new course materials, for example, offers a chance to provide students with cutting-edge, and even interactive, textbooks, and those materials will be available to anyone wishing to access or download them from around the world for years to come.
“We’ve got the innovation on campus to take (ideas) and make them a reality to benefit a global community,” Samberg said.
By letter to University of California President Janet Napolitano, the Academic Council has enthusiastically endorsed and affirmed university-wide commitments to make UC research and scholarship as freely and openly available as possible.
The letter of the Academic Council, which advises the UC President on behalf of the Assembly, updates President Napolitano on various campus efforts to fulfill the University’s mission of providing long-term societal benefits through transmitting advanced knowledge. As the Council notes, one way that the University has been working to achieve its mission is through implementation of the 2013 Open Access policy, pursuant to which UC scholars widely disseminate their scholarship by making copies available open access (OA). OA promotes free, immediate access to research articles and the rights to use these articles to advance knowledge worldwide.
“As the nation’s largest public research institution and a source of two percent of the world’s research literature,” explains Jim Chalfant, Academic Council Chair, “the University of California is uniquely positioned to further this goal for the benefit of people all over the world who currently do not have access to the vast majority of scholarly research articles.”
Indeed, since the adoption of the 2013 OA policy, the ten UC campuses have made important progress toward increasing both the dissemination and impact of UC scholarship while reducing barriers to readership.
One way in which the Berkeley campus has contributed to a more open scholarly landscape is by engaging in open access initiatives such as OA2020, noted in particular in the Council’s letter. OA2020 is an international movement, led by the Max Planck Digital Library in Munich, to convert the entire corpus of scholarly journal literature to open access by the year 2020. The OA2020 movement intends to accomplish this “flipping” by encouraging institutions to convert resources currently spent on journal subscriptions into funds that support sustainable OA business models. Berkeley signed the OA2020 Expression of Interest in March 2017 along with UC Davis and UCSF.
In affirming UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UCSF’s participation in OA2020 and similar initiatives, the Academic Council avows OA2020’s alignment with both the 2013 OA policy and the UC’s mission to conduct research in the public interest and serve society. Accordingly, both the Council and the Academic Senate’s Committee on Library and Scholarly Communication “support all efforts by UC campuses to promote open access to scholarly research, both in the service of the University’s Open Access mission and in the service of similarly-oriented global missions such as OA2020.”
To learn more about why UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UCSF signed the OA2020 Expression of interest, please see our joint statement, Why OA2020? (attached as Appendix C to the Academic Council’s letter), or our website, OA2020.us.
To discover more about the many initiatives in which the UC Berkeley Library engages to advance progress toward sustainable open access publishing, please see our Scholarly Communication Services page about our Open Access Initiatives.
We warmly welcome opportunities to talk more about these efforts, so please feel free to reach out to us: email@example.com.
The Library’s scholarly communication program, the Office of Scholarly Communication Services, has launched an informative and practical new website to support UC Berkeley researchers with scholarly publishing needs.
The website is just one offering in our program’s suite of services to help scholars use, create, and publish scholarship in ways that promote its dissemination, accessibility, and impact.
“Our goal is to help scholars navigate the complex, changing scholarly publishing and intellectual property landscape,” explains Jo Anne Newyear-Ramirez, assistant university librarian for scholarly resources. “The scholarly communication program and this new web resource aid scholars of this campus and beyond, and will enable them to more effectively realize their academic pursuits.”
The UC System performs nearly one-tenth of all the academic research and development conducted in the United States, and produces approximately one-twelfth of all U.S. research publications. A scholarly communication program that works to bring added visibility and support for UC Berkeley research and publishing can have tremendous global impact, and help the Library achieve its strategic goal of transforming national and international policies and practices in scholarly publishing.
On the program’s new website, scholars will find guidance and resources that address the broad spectrum of researchers’ scholarly publishing needs. Rachael Samberg, the Library’s scholarly communication officer, designed action-oriented materials based on the needs of Berkeley scholars and campus partners.
“Our scholarly communication program adopts pragmatic, workflow-based approaches for assisting researchers,” says Samberg. “We’ve created robust guidance that scholars can implement directly, or use as a springboard for seeking personalized support.”
The site offers information and tools to assist with:
- Scholarly publishing options and platforms
- Open access opportunities for scholarship and data
- Copyright in research, publishing & teaching
- Authors’ rights, and managing intellectual property
- Tracking & increasing scholarly impact
- Affordable and open course content
The site also explores the realities of the economic landscape for scholarly publishing, and will increasingly detail what the Library is doing to address them.
The campus community can reach out to the Library’s Office of Scholarly Communication Services for:
- Individual assistance and consultations
- Customized support by department and discipline
- In-class and online instruction
- Presentations and workshops for small or large groups & classes
- Online guidance and resources
If you would like more assistance regarding the topics and services described on the site, please contact the team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are eager to help you with your scholarship!
Dear UC Berkeley faculty and lecturers,
We can help you make your assigned readings and textbooks more affordable to students. The Library and the Center for Teaching & Learning have launched two pilot programs for Fall 2017, for which your participation can save students potentially hundreds of dollars each.
The first pilot service aims to reduce the cost of your print course packs through Library-assisted syllabus processing. We will locate copies of open, free, or Library-licensed versions of your assigned readings so the overall price of the print course pack or course reader is reduced.
The second service provides you with grants to either use, adapt, or develop open or library-licensed electronic textbooks and course materials. This can help save students the cost of purchasing expensive textbooks.
Please fill out this brief form if you are interested in participating in one or both pilots (described more fully below), and we will contact you soon with details.
Pilot 1 (Course Packs): Do you assign your students a print course pack for purchase? We can help reduce the cost of that print course pack.
With the first piloted service, the Library will process your syllabus for you and search for your required readings to locate copies of open, free, or Library-licensed versions of assigned readings.
If open, free, or Library-licensed versions are available, we will give you links or PDFs to post to bCourses at no cost to your students, reducing any remaining readings that a student would have purchased as part of a print course pack.
We will also provide guidance to you for making fair use decisions–further reducing the cost of course packs, because we can help you limit instances in which a third party copy center would need to secure copyright clearance for assigned readings.
Pilot 2 (Grants): If you assign textbooks or other books, will you let us pay you from $500 up to $5,000 to switch to an electronic version of that book or to an equivalent eBook or combination of books? Or will you let us help you in adopting, adapting, or designing your own open and electronic course materials?
The Library and the Center for Teaching and Learning are offering grants and programmatic support to instructors to enable you to link to open or Library-licensed electronic textbooks or other eBooks–or even to design your own.
The grants range in value from $500 (e.g. for switching one required print book to a Library-licensed electronic book that can be linked to in bCourses) all the way up to $5,000 to receive programmatic support to design your own open & electronic course materials for students so they don’t have to purchase expensive textbooks.
The Center for Teaching & Learning and the Library can also help you find campus support to update any other attendant PowerPoints, assignments, or materials that need alteration following a change in assigned books or textbooks.
If you have any questions, please contact the Library’s Scholarly Communication Officer, Rachael Samberg: email@example.com. You can also find out more about affordable course content in our Guide to Open, Free, & Affordable Course Materials.
The UC Berkeley Library strengthened its commitment to making course materials more affordable for students by joining the Open Textbook Network, which supports access to freely available and openly licensed textbooks and course content.
The high and ever-increasing cost of textbooks is a significant concern for Berkeley students. Textbook prices have risen 88% in the past decade, according to a 2016 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, and many textbooks cost upwards of $200. Print course-pack costs further compound student financial burdens.
Berkeley will work with the Open Textbook Network to advance the use of open practices on campus by offering resources and workshops to explain and expand adoption of open textbooks. Not only do open educational resources (often called “OERs”) reduce student costs, they also have a positive impact on student success by providing access to assigned course materials from the very start of class. The Open Textbook Network also maintains the Open Textbook Library, a premiere resource for peer-reviewed academic textbooks. All Open Textbook Library textbooks are free and openly licensed for use, adaption or modification.
Other new initiatives to improve the student experience
Joining the Open Textbook Network is one of several important initiatives the Library has embarked upon with campus partners to address course content affordability issues. In cooperation with the Associated Students of the University of California, Educational Technology Services, and the Center for Teaching & Learning, the Library launched an informal working group in Fall 2016 to explore how we might reduce student costs for assigned course materials. The working group obtained a charter for two pilot programs that will run in Fall 2017. The Library received financial support for the scholarly communications program, which supports the Open Textbook Network initiative and the pilot services, from The Arcadia Foundation.
With the first piloted service, the Library will process participating instructors’ syllabi to locate copies of open, free, or Library-licensed or acquired resources that otherwise students would have had to purchase as print course packs. With the second service, the Library and its partners will offer grants and programmatic support to instructors to enable them to adopt or create open books or textbooks, thereby reducing student expenditures on high-priced materials.
“Not only will this partnership reduce student costs, but also it can advance pedagogy through the development of new and innovative course content,” says Richard Freishtat, Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. “I’m very excited to see what new teaching and learning approaches arise from this collaboration.”
These efforts align with campus-wide action by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, which concurrently established a new task force to identify strategies to educate the campus about the cost of course content, and encourage practices that lower costs for students.
“While the campus has long been investigating the issue of course content affordability and has made progress, much work still needs to be done,” explains Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education Cathy Koshland. “We must further reduce course content costs and utilize accessible digital library resources to provide an equitable and engaging learning environment for our students.”
Kicking off the affordability discussion
First up on the slate of related outreach are two open discussions to be held with faculty on May 5th and May 8th. Freishtat and the Library will discuss the landscape for course content affordability issues at UC Berkeley and the campus-wide efforts being undertaken to address them. Registration is available through the Academic Innovation Studio’s events page.
Learn more or participate in the pilots
For more information about the Library’s membership in the Open Textbook Network, or with questions about the two Fall 2017 pilot programs, please contact Rachael Samberg, the Library’s Scholarly Communication Officer.
To explore programmatic support for the adoption or creation of OERs, please contact Richard Freishtat at the Center for Teaching & Learning.
To locate open and affordable educational resources or learn more about them, please visit the Library’s Guide to Open, Free, & Affordable Course Materials.