Better Textbooks, Better Graduate Outcomes: Diversifying OER texts as part of curriculum renewal :async:

Sarah Lambert (Deakin University)

Dr Lambert is an Honorary Fellow at Deakin University researching topics related to social justice, digital participation and success of under-represented learners. She is the chief Investigator of the Australian National scoping study of OER textbooks funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education (NCSEHE.)

This webinar will share the findings of the Australian National OER texts scoping study which found that social justice principles relating to the cost and socio-cultural relevance of University readings matter to Australian students and staff.

The study found that OER texts can be a transformative strategy to address digital access, learning material costs and inclusive experiences for Higher Education students. Australian staff are beginning to use OER and open-access reading lists to address the injustices of uneven resourcing and negative racial, gender and disability stereotyping in the curriculum.

While such inclusive texts are important for under-represented students to create belonging to the profession and the course, this study finds that incorporating diverse cultural viewpoints and knowledges into the curriculum benefits all students by ensuring their knowledge base is up to date and they are prepared for contemporary workplaces and roles.

Students who have experienced diversified reading lists with multiple knowledge perspectives believe that they are better prepared for their intended future professions. Similarly, staff consider more representative curriculum can enhance graduate outcomes for all students.

In this webinar Dr Lambert will focus on the student interviewee data which highlighted a need for Australian academics to modify or create new more socio-culturally inclusive texts as well as texts which better represent women in the professions. The students interviewed affirmed the idea that many or most of their textbooks lacked diversity of authors, views and perspectives.

Extended abstract: OE_Global_2021_paper_133.pdf 📄

Presentation Details

UNESCO OER Action Area: Inclusive and equitable OER
Format: Pre-recorded Presentation
Language: English


Pre-recorded presentations will be added below by the author(s). Watch them anytime during the conference.

Join or start the conversations with the author(s) by replying below with questions or comments, paying particular attention to the relationship to the OER Recommendation Action Areas. Please also share related resources.


Hello everyone,
Here is the link to my presentation on Youtube.



@SarahLambertOz This is such great research and is so needed in today’s political climate. I love how you show the need for more diverse textbooks from a variety of perspectives. Like you, I find the idea that textbooks can at some level have an impact on students’ mental health is fascinating. It would be interesting to see the findings of this type of study with secondary school students and teachers. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks Jennifer for your comments.
There was some research done into the impact of sexist and racist textbooks at the secondary/high school level - back in the 1990s. Bit of a gap since then. Anecdotally from parents with daughters - STEM texts still seem to be often extremely outdated (only dead white guys as experts.) Some of this is costs (schools can’t afford to update) and some is lack of care. I do think OER could have a crack at both these issues!