University of Texas at Arlington

Scholarly Communication

News blog

Libraries Launch Authoring Platform, Publish First OER

by Michelle Reed June 22, 2018
Book cover for Creating Online Learning Experiences

Like many organizations supporting the use of open educational resources (OER) in higher education, UTA Libraries recently invested in PressbooksEDU to assist faculty and staff interested in creating or modifying OER. This week, we published the first OER in our catalog under the Mavs Open Press imprint.

“I am really excited to have our open book published with UTA,” said Dr. Matt Crosslin, lead author of Creating Online Learning Experiences: A Brief Guide to Online Courses, from Small and Private to Massive and Open. “Michelle and her team at the library have been incredibly helpful at every step of the process.”

OER are free educational materials that are licensed to allow others to reuse and remix the content. Open textbooks, such as the OpenStax textbook on US history adopted by UTA’s Department of History, are a type of OER that have received a lot of attention due to the significant cost savings for students and related impact on student success. What makes OER a powerful game changer in higher education, however, is not that they are free—it’s the open license, which allows individual instructors to tailor resources to best meet the unique needs of their students. However, technological barriers have prevented many interested OER users from capitalizing on their potential.

Pressbooks eases this burden. It’s a web-based publishing tool that allows authors to easily import content and export the resulting publication to a variety of formats, including MOBI, EPUB, and PDF. Last year the team at Pressbooks released a feature that allows “cloning” of OER. With one click, it’s possible to copy the contents of an openly licensed Pressbooks book to a new book where authors can immediately begin making changes to suit their local contexts. Plus, the platform and compatible plugins support embedded multimedia, interactive assessment, and open web annotations. Learn more about these features on our guide

 “I found PressBooks to be an easy platform to use for creating, editing, and organizing the content,” said Matt, who is a learning innovation researcher with UTA’s LINK Research Lab. “I have always utilized many open resources in my life, but I came to realize recently that I needed to be contributing as much as consuming. I would highly encourage anyone to consider creating their own open resources as well – whether a book, a video, a lesson, a graphic, or any other type of resource.”

Want to take a look at the platform to see for yourself? Submit a request for access to our Sandbox, and we’ll get you started!