SAT: Introducing Open Textbooks To Higher Education Teachers In Namibia: A Website To Raise Awareness Of Open Textbooks (Brenda Kulobone)
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9 January 2019
This project is about the introduction of open textbooks to higher education teachers in Namibia. It fits in the theme of openness because open textbooks are a part of the open source initiatives. Open textbooks are licensed to be freely used, adapted, and distributed (Open Textbook Library). They are not yet in use in Namibia; hence, this topic qualifies to be an innovation. Innovation, according to Skillicorn (2016), “is executing an idea which addresses a specific challenge and achieves value for both the company and customer”.
There are various challenges observed to affect the process of developing instructional materials for distance education students studying at higher institutions of learning in Namibia. They are, among others, delays in the development of the study materials due to human resources, no use of interactive features designed to enhance learning in the 21st century, copyright permissions, and cost (McGill et al. 2013, in Santosh & Panda, 2016). A growing number of studies in the US, Canada and the UK show that open textbooks are the answer to all these challenges as they offer more flexibility in teaching delivery, up-to-date knowledge to support learning, and reduce the cost burden of buying textbooks (Rolfe & Pitt, 2018). Therefore, this project aims to sensitize higher education teachers on the benefits of using open textbooks.
The author will design a website that will contain information about open textbooks; what they are, their use, how they can be found and created, and share some resources of successful open textbook initiatives. In addition, the author will share an example of an open textbook, which contains similar content to some of the English courses that all higher institutions in Namibia offer. This example is intended for teachers to see and understand that, they can also adapt content relevant to their context from an existing textbook. While working on the site, the author will design a short survey to collect information on the knowledge and perceptions of teachers towards open textbooks and will use the feedback as a guide on what other details to include on the website. The website link will be shared with teachers and other stakeholders via WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter as well as through emails. For the conference presentation, the author will give a brief overview of the project and share the features of the website.
Santosh, S. & Panda, S. (2016). ‘Use of Open Educational Resources in Distance Education – Opportunities and Challenges in Indian Scenario’. Staff & Educational Development International, 20(39). [Online] Available at https://www.researchgate.net/publication/311771251_Use_of_Open_Educational_Resources_in_Distance_Education_-_Opportunities_and_Challenges_in_Indian_Scenario (Retrieved 29 December 2018)
Rolfe, V. & Pitt, B. (2018). Open textbooks – an untapped opportunity for universities, colleges, and schools. Insights, 31 (30). [Online] Available at https://insights.uksg.org/articles/10.1629/uksg.427/ (Retrieved 25 January 2019)
Skillicorn, N. (2016) What is innovation? [Online]. Available at https://www.ideatovalue.com/inno/nickskillicorn/2016/03/innovation-15-experts-share-innovation-definition/ (Accessed 10 January 2019).