Open Access Textbooks: Open Education Week 2016

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A Guest Blog By Michelle Schwartz of the LTO for Open Education Week 2016

In February, Ryerson was excited to host Rajiv Jhangiani, a faculty member from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, for a talk on his research into the use of open textbooks to teach psychology. Open textbooks are defined as textbooks to which the copyright holder has assigned an open license, which allows anyone the right to access, reformat, and customize the textbook to best meet their needs. These textbooks can be downloaded or printed in hard copy for a small cost via print-on-demand. The author, rather than a publishing company, retains the copyright, and the textbooks are often peer reviewed.

Dr. Jhangiani is the author of two open textbooks hosted by the BC Open Textbook Project. The Open Textbook Project is an initiative by the government of British Columbia to make education more accessible. By developing open access textbooks for the subject areas with the highest enrollments in the province, British Columbia hoped to reduce the financial burden on students. The project has grown steadily over the course of the last few years, and as of March 2016, could boast of the following statistics:

Number of BC Open Textbooks: 139
Number of students using open textbooks: 12,159
Number of faculty adopting open textbooks: 110
Number of institutions adopting open textbooks: 26 (21 Public, 5 Private)
Student savings: $1,215,900 – $1,540,680

As an example of an open textbook, Dr. Jhangiani’s Research Methods in Psychology is in its 2nd Canadian edition. It can be downloaded for free in a multitude of formats, from PDF to epub, and it can be printed on demand for a small fee – $10.90 for black and white, or $32.25 for a colour version. As a comparison, a textbook on the same topic from a major publishing company is currently retailing on Amazon.ca for $276.

Though the importance of this cost difference to students cannot be understated, perhaps an even greater benefit of open textbooks was brought up by Dr. Jhangiani at his talk – by publishing with an open license, Dr. Jhangiani felt he had much more latitude to provide unique Canadian examples that he thought would be most beneficial to his students, without the pressure from a publishing company to try to address larger markets. Because the textbook is published with an open license, any educator can take the textbook, use the chapters that they like best, and replace Dr. Jhangiani’s examples and case studies with the material that is most relevant to their course. This flexibility is the strength of the open textbook model!

If you are interested in adopting an open textbook in your course, check out the offerings available at BC Campus, Open Stax College from Rice University, and the Open Textbook Library from the University of Minnesota.

If you have questions about adopting an open textbook or you have thoughts on how you might like to use them in your course, contact us at the LTO, michelle.schwartz@ryerson.ca, ext. 2094.

The Ryerson Library and Archives can also assist in finding open access educational resources to use in your teaching – please contact your Subject Librarian , call Ann Ludbrook at ext. 6910  aludbrook@ryerson.ca or have a look at the Ryerson Library Open Access Educational Resources Guide.

Happy Open Education Resources Week March 7th-March 11th!

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What are Open Education Resources (OER)?

OERs are educational works created by other instructors like lectures, tests, syllabus, assignments, textbooks, journal articles, case studies etc. that the author decides they want to let other educators use freely in their teaching. OERs can be used and reused freely for educational purposes because the author has freely released the work to the public for that use – usually using one of the six types of a Creative Commons  licence. These licences allow different levels of use – some allow adaptation and even commercial use and some do not. All Creative Commons licences require citation. The best OER resources are governed by a principle of  “The 5 Rs”.

“The 5 Rs” – in order for a resource to qualify as an OER users should be able to

•   Reuse – use the content in a wide range of ways (e.g., in a class, in a study group, on a website, in a video)

•   Revise – adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself (e.g., translate the content into another language)

•   Remix – combine the original or revised content with other open content to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup)

•   Redistribute – share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others (e.g., give a copy of the content to a friend)

•   Retain – make, own, and control copies of the content

(The 5rs  is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at: http://opencontent.org/blog/archives/3221.)

In Canada there are some leaders of Open Educational Resources paving the way to support instructors who want to use resources like these that are free of copyright restrictions. One of these is the BCcampusOpenED resource that hosts Open Access textbooks, including peer-reviewed Canadian editions, and has had adoptions of these textbooks by more than 26 Canadian institutions, saving students over a million dollars of textbooks cost to date. In Ontario eCampus Ontario hosts Open Access educational resources and guides you to other open materials. Ryerson University Open Learning has Open Access modules created by Ryerson instructors such as videos from The Naked Entrepreneur and a module Therapeutic Communication and Mental Health Assessment. Michelle Schwartz at The Learning and Teaching Office has created a great best practices resource for faculty and instructors who want to explore open access educational resources called The Open Access Classroom. Open Access Education resources are free for you to use and reuse and adapt to fit your teaching aims as long as you cite the source. Perhaps most importantly these resources are free of copyright restrictions and you can provide them to your students free of charge.

Knit Happens! Drop-In at the DME

Do you want to learn how to knit? From librarians?  Of course you do!  

May (left) and Sally (right), talking about their knitting fails...it even happens to the pros!

May (left) and Sally (right), talking about their knitting fails…it even happens to the pros!

On Mondays at 11 a.m., join Trina Grover, Collection Services Librarian, May Yan, ER Discovery & Access Librarian and Sally Wilson, Web Services Librarian, in the Library’s Digital Media Experience (DME) lab on the 3rd floor of the Student Learning Centre (SLC).  No registration needed, just drop in to work on your knit projects with fellow knitters, or learn some knitting basics from these crafty ladies. Everyone is welcome, regardless of their skill level. 

Trina in the knitting zone…

Trina in the knitting zone…

Even if you’re an experienced knitter looking for a knitting community on campus or just somewhere to work, feel free to join the group. The knitting skills learned at this drop-in will help students progress to future workshops planned around knit-wearable projects and computational fabrics / wearable computing, which may be of interest to those with knitting experience.  

The Library’s Digital Media Experience (DME) Lab is a new space on the 3rd floor of the Student Learning Centre (SLC) designed to help all Ryerson students learn basic and advanced digital skill-sets, while exposing them to new and emerging technologies.

2014 Student Employee of the Year Award Winners

On April 15th, Ryerson Library hosted the annual Student Staff Appreciation Party. This celebration  honours the Student Employee of the Year Award recipients. The Student Employee of the Year Award  recognises students who have achieved excellence in their work environment, and the winners receive an award as well as a cash gift. The selection committee had a difficult time selecting just one recipient this year, and  ultimately recognized two Ryerson students: Romana Naz and Sarah Hubbard pictured below with RULA’s chief librarian, Madeleine Lefebvre. This event also recognized graduating student employees including Hanny Sierra, who is the first recipient of the Emerging Professional Award offered by the Career Centre, and the first Experiential Learning Work Study Program Award. Congratulations to the award recipients, and we wish you the best of luck in the future!

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Romana Naz & Sarah Hubbard pictured with chief librarian, Madeleine Lefebvre.

 
 

One-Stop Course Readings Team Wins Blue & Gold!

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Congratulations to the One-Stop Course Readings Service Team for winning the President’s Blue and Gold Award of Excellence! The One-Stop Course Readings Service  makes high-demand course readings available to students over the duration of their courses. This award recognizes the efforts of ten librarians and technicians in addition to several library assistants and four work study students at Ryerson Library who collaborate to provide faculty and students with convenient and copyright compliant access to scholarly articles for their course readings. This service team works alongside the Bookstore, with support from Digital Media Projects, Computing and Communications Services, and the Chang School to provide a service unique to Ryerson Library: one that exemplifies Ryerson’s values of collaboration, innovation, and integrity. Congratulations to all the members of the One-Stop Course Readings Service Team  for winning Blue & Gold

 

The 5th Annual Aboriginal Student Showcase

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The 5th Annual Aboriginal Student Showcase is scheduled for Monday March 31st, and all are welcome to attend. This year’s agenda includes presentations by students across four faculties, Ryerson library and faculty speakers, and representatives from the Aboriginal Education Council. Light refreshments will be served.

Agenda 

12:00 pm- 12:30 pm  – Opening remarks by Madeleine Lefebvre, Chief Librarian; Dr. Cyndy Baskin, Chair – Aboriginal Education Council; Dr. Denise O’Neil Green – Assistant Vice President/Vice Provost – Equity, Diversity & Inclusion; and Joanne Dallaire, Elder – Aboriginal Education Council.

12:30 pm-1:00 pm – 1st presentation by Jeff Swartzentruber, Mechanical Engineering – presenting on  his research and mentorship with Dr. Peter Lui of the OMAX Corp. in Seattle, Washington.

1:00 pm-1:30 pm – 2nd presentation by Nicole Wemigwans & Kathleen Longboat- presenting on their experiences attending the Child & Youth Care World Conference in St. Johns, Newfoundland.

1:30 pm-2:00 pm – 3rd presentation by Brittany Ryan -RULA’s very own student assistant, presenting on her mentorship with acclaimed actor, director, and choreographer, Michael Greyeyes.

2:00 pm – 2:30pm – 4th presentation by Caitlin Davey, Doctoral student of Clinical Psychology – presenting her project work entitled: Development, Implementation and Evaluation of a Knowledge Translation Strategy to Enhance Mental Health and Wellbeing Among Aboriginal Students.

 

The Jack Layton Book Club Series

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The second annual Jack Layton Book Club Series is coming to the Ryerson University Library and Archives this March and April. Join distinguished guest speakers and faculty as they discuss the books that influenced the late Jack Layton. Former professor of politics at Ryerson University, Jack Layton’s collection of books was donated to the Library and Archives in 2011, and his collection informs this book club series. All book club meetings will be held on a Tuesday evening at 5:30 p.m. in the archives on the 3rd floor of the library building.

March 18th join visiting practitioner, nurse, and social activist, Cathy Crowe as she discusses Layton’s work Homelessness : How to End the National Crisis 

March 25th join associate professor Dr. Doreen Fumia as she addresses the AIDS epidemic and Randy Shilts’ film, And the Band Played On

April 1st join associate professor Dr. Henry Parada as he discusses social injustices and victim blaming in William Ryan’s book, Blaming the Victim

Whether or not you have read the book, you are most welcome to attend!

Freedom to Read Week

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Freedom to Read Week is an annual event that encourages Canadians to think about their commitment to intellectual freedom, which is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Get involved by considering some of the titles that have been challenged or banned in Canada, and the reasons why.

The Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council has created a list of 100 books, magazine, and other written works that have been challenged in Canada in the past decades. Ryerson Library holds several of these titles in our collection including: Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, Alice Munro’s The Lives of Girls and Women, Timothy Findley’s The Wars, David Guterson’s Snow Falling on Cedars, and J.K. Rowling’s The Harry Potter Series. Check out a banned book today, and celebrate our freedom to read!

Aboriginal Awareness Day

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On Tuesday February 25th, Ryerson will be celebrating Aboriginal Awareness Day! Visit the Snack Stop (Upper HUB Cafeteria) between 11am-3pm where you can learn more about what it means to be Aboriginal at Ryerson.  There will be a traditional opening with Dr. Joanne Dallaire, a gallery walk with images and quotes, guest speakers, a selection of titles by Aboriginal authors available at Ryerson Library on display, and there will be some great food catered by Ryerson Eats!

Ryerson Library holds titles by many Aboriginal authors in our collection, such as works by award-winning novelists Thomas King, Joseph Boyden, and Eden Robinson. Check out some of their titles at the library today, and join this event hosted by the Cultural Awareness Committee from 11am-3pm on Tuesday February 25th!

Jack Layton Lecture and Display

Ryerson University is pleased to invite you to the inaugural Jack Layton Lecture, with noted philosopher Charles Taylor speaking on ‘Reimagining, Restoring and Reclaiming Democracy’. The lecture will take place on Thursday, September 20th at at 6:30 p.m. in the Ryerson Theatre, 43 Gerrard Street East.  This lecture will be an annual event organized by the Jack Layton Chair, which will advance Jack’s legacy of political and humanitarian leadership at the university.

This special evening also features the opening of a display in the Ryerson Archives (350 Victoria Street, Library 3rd floor) that includes some of Jack’s books, personal artefacts and other memorabilia that have been donated to the Ryerson Library. All of these materials will be supported by a dedicated website to be unveiled on the same day. The display opens at 5 p.m. on September 20th and will remain open until 9 p.m.