Adapting OER for your Unique Context (Office Hours Summary)

Learning Rebus Community

“Adapting OER for your Unique Context,” a co-presentation with the Open Textbook Network, taught us a lot about the wealth of possibilities for adaptation that OER presents, and the different methods of achieving those adaptation dreams. Our guests told us stories of creating an open textbook that is easily adaptable and of adapting an open textbook for their unique purposes. They’ve localized, translated, updated, and adapted across disciplines. 

This month, we were joined by Linda Frederiksen (former Head of Access Services, Washington State University, Vancouver), Carrie Cuttler (Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychology, Washington State University), and Werner Westermann (Head of Civic Training Program, Library of the National Congress, Chile).

Linda Frederiksen spoke about her work creating Literature Reviews for Education and Nursing Graduate Students, and its evolution from lib guide to open textbook. Linda provided valuable insights about how to build adaptability into open textbooks, suggesting that content should be modular to make it easier to adapt across disciplines. Her book, co-authored with Sue Phelps, has been adapted for many disciplines, and helps grad students in a variety of fields write great literature reviews.

Carrie Cuttler told us about her experience trying to get corrections made in the textbook she was using for her large-enrollment psychology course. She had contacted publishers and received no response. This lead to her decision to adapt the textbook using a grant from her institution. Carrie added 30% more content, removed copyrighted material, trimmed text she didn’t need, and fixed insensitive language. The fourth edition of Research Methods in Psychology, co-authored by Rajiv S. Jhangiani, I-Chant A. Chiang, Carrie Cuttler, and Dana C. Leighton, has just been released and is available for adoption. 

Werner Westermann outlined several projects that adapt open texts for his students in Chile. He told us about the challenges of localizing. For instance, key concepts like digital citizenship needed to be adapted to an audience that may better understand it with examples from their local contexts, and through a different lens than the audience the book originally targeted. Werner also shared his excitement about the opportunities for easy translation that artificial intelligence might one day present, and suggested ways to involve students, teachers, and organizations aligned with open education values in this process. Find out more about Werner’s projects, Translating the Digital Citizenship Toolkit and Desafíos De La Formación Ciudadana, on the Rebus Community platform. 

Thank you to everyone who attended this session, to Linda, Carrie, and Werner, and, as always, to Karen Lauritsen and the good folks at Open Textbook Network. The next Office Hours session will be on September 19th at 2 pm EST / 11 am PST / 6 pm UTC . We’ll be joined by Karen Bjork, Kathleen Labadorf, Katie Kirakosian, Allison Brown, and Deborah Amory. They will speak on the theme “Starting an Open Textbook Project.”

Read the transcript for “Adapting OER for your Unique Context” here.

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