OER and Publishing houses complement each other! A German view

OER and Publishing houses complement each other! A German view.

Open Educational Resources and publishing houses can actually complement each other. They both have their right to exist with their respective strengths and weaknesses.

In Germany every state has its own curriculum written by the state parliament. As soon as the ruling parties change, they change the curricula, which happens about every 5-10 years. Since teachers have to teach according to the curricula, they have to change their material respectively every 5-10 years, representing a lot of work for teachers. Notably in these cases both publishing houses and OER can be a huge support for them.

On the one hand, textbooks can guide through the curricula with lots of ideas how to implement lessons in the classroom. Especially for new and inexperienced teachers, these resources can be important sources. Furthermore, they are a reference for students of what is expected of them and a resource of reliable information. Producing a textbook is an intensive and complex procedure in terms of time and money. Publishing houses provide this and have established staff, networks and expertise. They have the resources to produce well researched, nicely made and skilfully edited books fit for each curriculum. They can also review old books, correct them if needed and adapt them to each new arising curriculum. This high effort, which is required in book productions, makes it challenging to produce a textbook by a single person or even small group in their free time. In Germany they would have to produce about 7-14 different textbooks for one school year and one subject. Publishing houses are equipped and willing to meet this need. This makes publishing houses with their commercial approach a perfect match for textbook production.

OER, on the other hand, reach their full potential in single small materials. These materials are made by teachers themselves, so come directly from the target group matching the need to fill a lesson with live through good didactical material. And even better: they can be copied, adapted and distributed as required. This makes OER perfect for every teacher, because each teacher has a different teaching style and approach. OER make it possible to have an abundance of good teaching material at hand that can be changed and thus reviewed by everyone. Additionally, OER have the power to connect teachers with each other, creating a community of learning and sharing.

In summary, the textbooks of publishing houses give teachers and students a guideline and a single source of well-sorted knowledge adapted to their specific curriculum. OER materials enrich the lessons and provide material and ideas specific to each teacher and are able to be shared and changed without boundaries and by doing so, create learning communities. Thus, these two are not antagonists but complement each other perfectly in supporting teachers in educating today’s learners.


:eye_in_speech_bubble: Presented by:: Judith Bartels
:sun: Conference Track: Thematic Session: Publishers and EdTech Providers - Open Education Friend or Foe?
:spiral_calendar: Track Date/Time: 2022-05-24T09:20:00Z (your local time)
:speech_balloon: Language: English
:calling: Pretalx link: OER and publishing houses complement each other! A German view. :: Open Education Global 2022 :: pretalx

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Authors are asked to reply below with links to presentation materials, videos, and other relevant resources, as well as posting prompts for discussion.

Conference participants can reply below with questions, comments for the presenters or to share related resources. And please add anything relevant from this session as an annotation to a specific part of the UNESCO OER Recommendation.

I am curious to know if the publishing houses are openly licensing their work so they are actually publishing OER themselves. I wondered if they are in agreement that people can reuse what is in the textbook to create learning material?

Thanks for asking the question, early Kim! Hopefully to be answered in/after the presentation. It’s interesting to hear of the German context where curriculum is influenced with party change.

My reading of the word “commercial” in the abstract suggests the publishing house texts are not OER, but the idea is that these texts provide the foundations and that OER come into play with the teaching from them (but that is only from my reading of the abstract)

? I am only guessing here, but hopefully we can have a lot of conversations like this. Thanks again for getting started now!

Remixing OER textbooks is good answer to these challenges without involving commercial publishers. Our goal LibreTexts is to provide instructors with the tools for creating textbooks designed for their curriculum and students by them. Experience shows that our drag and drop remixer does this, operating from a base of 2000+ books and over 300,000 pages. Doing so does require that all of the pages share a common format, and if final editing is needed pdf and epub are not ideal. There are a lot of open images and pictures that can be used, and teams certainly can benefit from having curriculum experts and web and print designers

The first step is creating a remixing map. Many times nothing further is needed and transforming the map into a book is a matter of only a few hours. If material has to be brought in from other OER sources instructors can do this themselves (more work), or we have student teams to help (more time , there is a waiting list). A final edit may take some time, and, of course, additional pages may need to be written.

The system is set up so that each person can work in their own sandbox or together in a team sandbox. When finished the books are transfered to a Campus Bookshelf. Each book can be printed as a pdf (or to come as epub), which is updated each week so that corrections can be made, or more exciting, one can see where the students need more or different information and continually improve the texts.