Sarah Lambert and Habiba Fadel
This presentation discusses findings from 46 staff and 19 students interviewed as part of the Australian Open Textbook National Scoping study. Insights will be shared from the interviews of academics from a variety of discipline areas who are adopting and authoring open textbooks to improve cultural and gender balance of their reading lists and to diversify the knowledge perspectives presented to students.
Previous open textbook research has focussed on free access to knowledge for all students and social-justice based access for marginalised students i.e. access for whom? (Lambert and Czerniewicz, 2020; Colvard et al 2018; Jhangiani et al, 2018). The study extends this research to also ask – open access to what? Whose knowledges are we providing free access to, and for what benefit?
Students interviewed confirmed that many or most of their textbooks lacked diversity of authors, views and perspectives. When prompted to consider who was represented and who was missing, most students provided examples of under-representation of women and indigenous people as both authors and topics for the textbook. Some provided detailed examples of under-representation of Asian and non-white people, and of Euro-centricism. Some also provided positive examples of positive representation, however these were expressed as exceptions in particular books or topics.
Similar to the staff interviewed, the extent to which students noticed a lack of diversity in their texts and readings seemed to relate quite strongly to their own experiences of racism or gender/role stereotyping, or if they had experience with some kind of cultural studies/diversity unit of study.
Findings also suggest that Australian academics are using OER texts to take the pressure off students to purchase textbooks, to overcome digital licensing restrictions, to enhance local relevance and to bring their curriculum up to date. As part of the idea of “currency”, Australian academics are beginning to engage with the potential of open texts to remediate the ‘white-washing’ and gender stereotyping of the curriculum in some disciplines.
Participants will be provided with opportunities to share their similar or differing experiences with OER texts and content diversification and to also comment on the applicability of the research recommendations through a series of prompt questions spread through the presentation.
Colvard, N. B., Watson, C. E., & Park, H. (2018). The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30(2), 262–276. http://www.isetl.org/ijtlhe/
Jhangiani, R. S., Dastur, F. N., Le Grand, R., & Penner, K. (2018). As Good or Better than Commercial Textbooks: Students’ Perceptions and Outcomes from Using Open Digital and Open Print Textbooks. The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.5206/cjsotl-rcacea.2018.1.5
Lambert, S. and Czerniewicz, L.(2020). Approaches to Open Education and Social Justice Research. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 2020(1), p.1. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5334/jime.584
- OER textbooks
- social justice
- inclusive education