Open Textbooks

By: Natascha Chtena  

Open textbooks – which are digital textbooks that can be freely accessed, shared and adapted – are being embraced by governments, philanthropists and educational institutions as an innovative means of ‘personalizing’ instruction and addressing the staggering cost of college textbooks in the US. Yet, while much work has been done in recent years to create, disseminate and champion open textbooks, our understanding of how these resources are impacting upon teaching and learning practices remains quite narrow. Drawing on theories of materiality and sociotechnical change, this presentation will examine the distance between the rhetoric of ‘openness’ and the ways open textbooks are implemented and used in practice. In particular, the presentation will use data from 49 interviews and two years of participant observation (incl. classroom observations and training workshops) to offer a counter-narrative to the discourses of disruption, ’mix-and-match’ content creation and paperless learning that surrounds open textbooks — and open educational resources (OER) more broadly.

Open Textbooks, Open Research, Disruption Studies, Paperlessness, Materiality
Technologies in Knowledge Sharing
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Natascha Chtena

Graduate Student Researcher, Information Studies, UCLA

Natascha Chtena is a Doctoral Candidate in Information Studies at UCLA and an OER Research Fellow with the Open Education Group. She teaches classes on technology, politics and society.