UMass Amherst Fall 2021 Open Scholarship Highlights

UMass Amherst Libraries present highlights of open scholarship activity during the 2021 fall semester at the university.

  • Teachers integrate the OER commitment into their programs. “There is no compulsory textbook to buy for this course” are welcome words for students, many of whom find it difficult to purchase expensive textbooks. Teachers using Open Educational Resources (OER) add a version of this sample statement to their curricula in the “Textbooks and Materials” section, demonstrating their commitment to equitable access and affordable education through their use. of OER.
  • The Writing Program Anthology saves students money. Elkie Burnside, Associate Director of the Writing Program, engaged students and faculty in a meaningful collaborative process of creating OER. Burnside has created an open-access digital textbook for the 5,000 or so college writing students. Starting this fall, the Student Writing Anthology replaced text that cost students between $ 40 and $ 70. Burnside is also creating a digital repository for the annual Best Text competition the program holds each year. It will be a journal in which the work of the winners of each year will be shared and disseminated publicly.
  • Two teachers cut textbook costs and made a program more inclusive at the same time. Stacy Giufre, Director of the Italian Language Program and Graduate Program in Italian, and instructor Melina Masterson developed Tutt * a tavola!, an OER for elementary Italian. “In writing this book, our goals were to reduce costs for students in the hope of making Italian a more inclusive language learning experience, as well as providing the opportunity to learn the language and Italian culture to a more diverse group of learners. ” Even the title of the book, Tutt * a tavola!, represents inclusiveness. This translates to “Everyone at the table” or, by way of invitation, “Everyone at the table!” This is the result of the 2020 grant cycle (link) and received national exposure at the Language OER conference.
  • “Develop open access education for university students”. Samantha Le, a student at UMass, wrote in the Daily Hampshire Gazette that OERs “are easy to adapt to specific courses, regardless of the subject niche, and allow collaboration between educators around the world to help improve those resources … at UMass Amherst, OER has saved students over $ 2.5 million, and by forcing more faculty to switch from fee-based textbooks to open-access teaching, that number can increase dramatically . What we need to do to win the game, then, is to advocate for more funding for OER and to convince more teachers to embrace OER. The goal is that all students can study without worry, regardless of the major.
  • Our tools and values. Open Access Week 2021 was marked by a keynote address by Ethan Zuckerman, Associate Professor of Public Policy, Communications and Information, and Director of the UMass Initiative for Digital Public Infrastructure. Martha Fuentes-Bautista, senior lecturer, director of engaged research and learning in the communications department, responded. The discussion explored how the digitization of all aspects of our lives presents an ongoing challenge for value-based organizations such as public broadcasters, advocacy organizations and libraries. We can take a first step towards resolving the conflicts between technology and values ​​by auditing our technological environments and moving towards value-aligned alternatives. But profound change requires the creation of an alternative technological infrastructure that is driven by public values ​​rather than profits.

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