December 12, 2017  

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University Libraries to Host Open Access Events in October

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University Libraries will participate in Open Access events during the month of October in an effort to provide The University of Southern Miss academic and research community the opportunity to learn about the potential benefits of open access, particularly those related to open textbooks.

Open Access events take place around the world and are now entering the tenth year. Through a series of events, University faculty and students will be able to attend sessions on open textbooks and Open Educational Resources (OER). Attendees will learn the basics of open textbooks and OER, how they work and can benefit faculty and students, how to create an open textbook, and hear experiences and perspectives of open textbooks and OER from a combined faculty/student panel.

“The University has demonstrated an ongoing commitment to student success in recent years, and open textbooks compliment these efforts wonderfully. Because open textbooks are free, they ensure that students have access to all required readings for their course while also alleviating the financial burden of purchasing expensive traditional textbooks. Open textbook programs at other institutions have saved their students over $1 million in textbook costs over a five year period. We believe that open textbooks at Southern Miss can offer that same level of benefit for our students,” said Josh Cromwell, University Libraries Institutional Repository Coordinator. Cromwell manages The Aquila Digital Community (http://aquila.usm.edu), the university’s institutional repository, and is one of the organizers of Open Access events. 

Open access to information – the free, immediate, online access to the results of scholarly research and the right to use and re-use those results as you need – has the power to transform the way research and scientific inquiry are conducted. It has direct and widespread implications for academia, medicine, science, industry and society as a whole.

Open access has the potential to maximize research investments, increase the exposure and use of published research, facilitate the ability to conduct research across available literature, and enhance the overall advancement of scholarship. Research funding agencies, academic institutions, researchers and scientists, teachers, students and members of the general public are supporting a move towards open access in increasing numbers every year, and the recognition of open access is a key opportunity for all members of the community to take action to keep this momentum moving forward.

The schedule of events for the week is as follows:

You Get What You Don’t Pay For: An Introduction to Open Textbooks

Josh Cromwell, Institutional Repository Coordinator

Oct. 4, 11 a.m. – noon

Cook Library Room 123

Click here to register.

In this session, we will discuss the basics of open textbooks and Open Educational Resources (OER). We will look at how they work, the benefits that they offer to faculty and students alike, and some examples of successful OER initiatives at other universities. In addition, we will provide a brief introduction to the Open Textbook Initiative, a program at Southern Miss that offers faculty an incentive to develop and adopt an open textbook in their courses. 

OER Building Blocks: Identifying Resources for Open Textbooks

Michele Frasier-Robinson, Education and Psychology Librarian

Anne Hudson, Arts and Letters Librarian

Oct. 13, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Cook Library Room 123

Click here to register.

Perhaps you’re interested in creating an open textbook, but where do you start? This session seeks to offer faculty the foundation they need to begin the process by offering examples and suggestions of resources that can be included in an open textbook. The discussion will include an overview of several open access resources as well as library resources that can be incorporated into the texts.

Panel Discussion – Open Textbooks: Experiences and Perspectives

Michael Vera, Department of Physics and Astronomy

Amanda Williams, Department of Child and Family Studies

Marlene Naquin, Department of Mathematics

Marissa McGillis, SGA Representative

Oct. 26, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Cook Library 123

Click here to register.

This panel discussion will include firsthand accounts from faculty members who have built open textbooks or OER and have introduced them in one of their courses. They will discuss the process of designing the resources and their experiences from using the resources in the classroom. The discussion will also highlight student experiences with traditional textbooks and will emphasize some of the advantages of OER for students.

For more information, contact Josh Cromwell, University Libraries Institutional Repository Coordinator at 601.266.6200 or joshua.cromwell@usm.edu.