UC Libraries’ Mark Konecny, scholarly communications library publishing coordinator, was selected by OhioLINK as one of seven member librarians, faculty, and staff to become the OhioLINK Open Textbook Network (OTN) System Leaders. As system leaders, Mark and his peers will coordinate OhioLINK OTN awareness and advocacy initiatives regarding open educational resources and open textbooks as part of OhioLINK/Ohio Department of Higher Education affordable learning initiatives for higher education.
OhioLINK recently joined the Open Textbook Network, a high-profile and growing collaboration of schools, universities, and institutions that promotes access, affordability, and student success via open textbooks.
The attendees—who were nominated by their deans or directors—include:
- Amanda Goodsett, performing arts and humanities librarian, Cleveland State University
- Mary Hricko, library director, Kent State Geauga
- Steve Kaufman, senior instructional designer, University of Akron
- Mark Konecny, scholarly communications library publishing coordinator, University of Cincinnati
- Carla Myers, assistant librarian and coordinator of scholarly communications, Miami University
- James Nowakowski, professor of economics, Muskingum University
- Janet Stewart, acting dean of library services, Shawnee State University
- Angel Mootispaw, librarian, Southern State Community College (alternate).
As part of the consortium-wide membership, OhioLINK will also send system leaders to OTN’s Summer Institute (OTNSI) as the kickoff event. OTNSI is an intensive training program that runs August 7-11 at the University of Minnesota. The OhioLINK system leaders, in conjunction with OTN staff, will coordinate full-day “train the trainer” workshops to be offered in Ohio next fall. These workshops will focus on developing campus leaders at Ohio higher education institutions and aid in their efforts to reduce textbook costs for students.
“Textbook and related costs are a well-known barrier to college affordability for students,” said Gwen Evans, OhioLINK executive director. “By promoting the use and creation of high-quality educational materials that are freely accessible for students to use, this initiative will increase affordability in higher education, promote student success, and empower Ohio faculty to contribute to the growing field of open course materials.”
The cost of textbooks has increased 73 percent since 2006, according to a 2016 report by the Student Public Interest Research Groups, and the College Board estimates the average student budget for books and supplies is more than $1,200 each year. OhioLINK’s Open Textbook Network membership will allow OhioLINK to train open education library leaders who will support faculty across the state in making greater use of openly available educational materials, including textbooks. Open textbooks directly contribute to students’ academic success by ensuring that all students, no matter their means, have access to their course materials. System leaders will also assist with affordable learning awareness and advocacy initiatives in the coming year.