Opening Up Education: Textbooks, Resources, Courseware & More

Virtual Conference

About the Virtual Conference

The 21st century educational environment demands a certain amount of re-thinking and re-design of classroom support for learning – textbooks, information resources, and interactive courseware. An emphasis on cost-containment and accessibility suggests that education will become more open. This virtual conference will address the complexities of delivering instructional tools and digital resources in the increasingly open educational ecosystem. What is a textbook? Can it be engineered into an online learning environment, with content, study aids and quizzes delivered as appropriate to a personalized student experience? What is the long-term role of Open CourseWare, as created by the likes of MIT or Yale? What does a growing interest in OER suggest for the various stakeholders? What types of technological support may be necessary?

Note: A NISO Training Thursday, Discovery and Assessment of Open Education Resources (OER), will be held on Thursday, April 27, as a follow-up to this event. Registrants for the virtual conference will automatically receive sign-on credentials for the 90-minute follow-on session, which will focus on the discovery and assessment of OER materials. The training features as speakers Will Cross of North Carolina State University, Cheryl Cuillier of the University of Arizona and Teri Oates Galloway of the LOUIS, the Louisiana Library Network.


11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. – Introduction
Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

11:10 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.  Opening Keynote: Open to Change: Situating OER in Global Higher Ed
Confirmed Speaker: Mary Lou Forward
Executive Director, Open Education Consortium

11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.  Lessons & Learnings from the Gates Foundation’s Investments in Open Education within US Higher Education
Confirmed Speaker: Rahim RajanSenior Program Officer, Gates Foundation

12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.  Creating and Assessing OER Materials
Confirmed Speaker: Julie LangOER Coordinator, Teaching and Learning with Technology, Penn State University

12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.  Lunch

1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.  Delivering Open Access Monographs
Confirmed Speaker: Rupert GattiFounder and Co-Director, Open Book Publishers

2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.  Delivering Open Courseware
Confirmed Speaker: Dr. David WileyFounder and Chief Academic Officer, Lumen Learning

2:45 p.m.- 3:15 p.m. Open Textbook and Online Learning Materials
Confirmed Speaker: Nicole AllenDirector of Open Education, SPARC

3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.  Break

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  Content Camp: A Collaborative Assessment Model from Ohio State 
Confirmed Speaker: Ashley MillerEducational Technologist, Ohio State University

4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.  Challenges and Barriers to be Addressed
Confirmed Speaker: Melissa Russell, Director of Content Strategy, and Mike Matousek, Director of Content InitiativesCengage Learning

Event Sessions

Opening Keynote: Open to Change: Situating OER in Global Higher Ed


As more faculty and institutions embrace Open Educational Resources, questions arise about the effects of this for higher education. Are students more or less successful when OER are used? How are faculty viewing teaching and learning with open content? How are institutions making OER part of their everyday practice? Are policy makers taking notice? We will explore questions of impact of OER and Open Education en route to situating OER and open education in the context of global higher ed.

Lessons & Learnings from the Gates Foundation’s Investments in Open Education within US Higher Education


A brief overview of the extent and rationale for some of the Postsecondary Success’ strategy’s investments in open education in US higher education and some of the key learnings and lessons from these investments.

Creating and Assessing OER Materials


Julie Lang

OER Coordinator, Teaching and Learning with Technology
Penn State University

This session explores the process followed in working with faculty to adopt, adapt, and author OER Materials. Specific parts of the process that will be discussed in greater detail include OER's role in hybrid course design, methods of peer review for newly created content, and various ways to measure the impact of OER in higher education.

Delivering Open Access Monographs


Open Access monographs attract a much larger and more diverse readership than non-OA publications, allowing top quality research to be accessed and engaged with by many more people than ever before. But Open Access publishing is much more than just providing a free pdf download option - it is also about enabling re-use and sharing of the content, and these properties are likely to be even more powerful and transformational than 'just' providing free access to read the content. Engaging with open technologies in the conception and design of the book enables entirely new methods of research to be explored, and entirely new distribution systems to develop. It is these new objects and objectives for monographs which are likely to be the most exciting and disruptive components of this new publishing process. In this session Rupert Gatti will draw on experiences at Open Book Publishers to look at some of the new processes and publications Open Access enables, how these are challenging existing conceptions and distribution systems for scholarly monographs, and emerging business models for the sustainability of these new publishing processes.

Delivering Open Courseware


Open Textbook and Online Learning Materials


Content Camp: A Collaborative Assessment Model from Ohio State


Ohio State’s Affordable Learning Exchange has consistently seen access to publisher test banks as a common hurdle to adoption of open textbooks. This presentation will present a novel solution to leverage the intellectual, technical and instructional resources available through the Unizin consortium. Content Camp assembles instructors in various disciplines from the Unizin and Big 10 Alliance consortia to collaboratively author, review and share test banks for wide distribution. We will start with a brief overview of our ALX initiative, including project overviews and savings goals, then outline our Content Camp project, including the development of shared course objectives, question design and support and recruitment models, and will update attendees on our progress and next steps.

Challenges and Barriers to be Addressed


A recent Cengage study based on interviews with industry experts and a survey of over 500 participants showed that four percent of higher education instructors use OER as primary materials. Further, the data projects that the number of OER users may grow to as much as 12 percent over the next five years. There is no doubt the use of and interest in OER is growing but there are obstacles. Building and creating pedagogically sound courses is challenging and there are ways institutions and educational technology companies can work together to provide students with quality learning experiences that are accessible and affordable.

Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Wednesday, April 12, 2017 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction e-mail by 10 a.m. (ET) on the Tuesday before the virtual conference, please contact the NISO office at for immediate assistance.
  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.
  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact to provide alternate contact information.
  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.
  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.