Billy Meinke

Our New Hub on OER Commons

Our New Hub on OER Commons

As we wade into the summer season, we’re sharing news about our recently-finished Hub on OER Commons. This Hub will serve as a platform for collaboration and resource sharing, with a focus on both private co-authoring inside working groups and outward-facing collections that demonstrate some of the OER energy flowing throughout the University of Hawaiʻi system.

Our hub consists of several distinct parts:

Are you a UH instructor or faculty and would like access to our member or working groups? Sign up for an OER Commons account and then hit the “Request to join” button where you would like to take part. Over the next year we will be transitioning prior work done in our OER sprints into working groups, better capturing the in-progress work and supporting collaborative discussions that had no central home before.

Earlier this year the fine folx at ISKME (Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education) conducted a set of trainings that explain the ins and outs of our Hub, including collections and features we are just beginning to build out. One of the single most powerful features of our Hub is that we can not only upload our own OER into specific collections and groups, but can also draw on the thousands of resources already on the OER Commons platform. We first found inspiration for our Hub by browsing the Network Hubs already in existence OER Commons, getting an idea of how other higher education institutions and networks have organized themselves and worked together around shared content and ideas.

There will be more to share as the Fall semester approaches and we look to support the dozens of OER projects currently in the works at the University of Hawaiʻi. Aloha!

Posted by Billy Meinke in OER, Online Education, Training
February OER Commons Hub Virtual Training: Curation and Creation

February OER Commons Hub Virtual Training: Curation and Creation

Join us next week for a series of training workshops hosted by the folx at OER Commons! UH is nearing the launch of our own Hub on OER Commons, a place for curating useful OER and collaborating across the system. Trainings will be held Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday February 9-11th at 12noon, run for one hour, and will be recorded for those who are unable to join synchronously. The OER curation session will be held a second time at 12noon on Wednesday, February 17th.

UH campus icons

Session 1: Introduction to Open Educational Resources and Practices
When: Feb 9, 2021 02:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Get to know our recently launched University of Hawai’i OER Project Hub. This informative session will provide participants with an opportunity to explore, contribute, and collaborate with our dynamic OER community, which is dedicated to improving teaching and learning throughout Hawai’i.

Register in advance for this training:

Session 2: Curating Open Educational Resources to Improve Teaching and Learning

When: Feb 10, 2021 02:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Join us for a deep dive into OER curation and exploration of best practices for identifying, evaluating, organizing, and sharing high-quality course materials. We will discuss and practice how to effectively leverage collaborative tools and curation workflows to improve teaching and learning.

Register in advance for this training:

Registration 2: When: Feb 17, 2021 11:00 AM Pacific Time (US and Canada) Register in advance for this training:–urjgpH9FTRDCsVVVr-QOZh2PRTjwB

Session 3: Creating Open Educational Resources for Courseware Improvement
When: Feb 11, 2021 02:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

This engaging webinar will provide faculty, librarians, and instructional designers with an opportunity to discover how to best utilize OER tools for courseware improvement, including design, authoring, and remixing. We will also explore exemplar resources and use cases from Universities and Colleges, and discuss workflows for peer review, reflection, and refinement of resources.

Register in advance for this training:

Icons for Working Groups on OER Commons

These sessions aim to familiarize instructor and librarians with Open Educational Resources, focusing on the OER Commons platform and our own customized Hub. The UH OER Hub hosts subject collections, helps organized group activities, and makes it easy for anyone to create bite-sized lessons from existing OER or from scratch.

Be sure to create an OER Commons login if you plan to attend!

Posted by Billy Meinke in OER, Training
UH at the OpenEd20 Virtual Conference

UH at the OpenEd20 Virtual Conference

The OpenEd Conference of 2020 will serve as a reminder that community is stronger than corporations, and that it is shared values and goals which bring together practitioners and researchers in the open education space. Stewardship of the OpenEd conference was left open after the 2019 conference, and it has been encouraging and inspiring to see many in the community prioritize and support the continuation of the event. Several members of our UH community offered synchronous and asynchronous sessions at the 2020 Open Education Conference, held virtually due to the COVID19 pandemic. From UH Mānoa, sessions included and English Department PhD candidates Māhealani Ahia and LynleyShimat Lys, OER GA, presenting a social justice themed session, “OER and Open Pedagogy in a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning,” and OER Technologist Billy Meinke-Lau presenting a lightning talk, “Open at the Edges, or the Edges of Open: Futures in Scholarly Collaboration.”

Presentation slide from “OER and Open Pedagogy in a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning”.

The session “OER and Open Pedagogy in a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning” focused on ongoing ʻŌiwi (Native Hawaiian), Pacific Islander, and Indigenous-centered OER and Open Pedagogy projects at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, as a university invested in Open and OER and a system designated as a Native Hawaiian Place of Learning. Māhealani and Lynley discussed their work as members of the editorial board of Hawaiʻi Review arts journal, a Native Hawaiian-led journal at UH Mānoa. Hawaiʻi Review engages in multiple ʻŌiwi-centered OER and Open Pedagogy projects, including the Mauna Kea Syllabus Project, inspired by the Standing Rock Syllabus and the BLM syllabus. The editorial board of Hawaiʻi Review comprises ʻŌiwi, Pacific Islander, and Indigenous women, men, and queer people who recognize the politics of publishing and have intentionally created outreach projects to encourage ʻŌiwi scholarship: creative writing residencies, and an OER textbook for English Studies and Humanities.

Māhealani spoke about ʻŌiwi education and the Mauna Kea Syllabus, which contributes to the growing body of scholarship produced around the efforts of Kanaka Maoli to protect their mountain Mauna a Wākea from continued desecration. In Native Hawaiian epistemology and ontology, Mauna Kea is the piko (umbilical connection and center of Hawaiian worldview). The most recent proposal of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) desires to build a 4.1 billion dollar observatory eighteen stories high in a designated conservation zone ignoring numerous environmental concerns; the mauna is part of the national Hawaiian lands set aside for Kanaka Maoli, exacerbating unresolved land and sovereignty claims.

Māhealani and Lynley also spoke about a Hawaiʻi Review project to create an OER Textbook grounded in Hawaiʻi-based pedagogies and community-centered forms of scholarship and research. The Hawaiʻi Review OER textbook will promote Hawaiian epistemologies through several important components: 1) introduction to teaching writing here in Hawaiʻi, 2) selection of teaching curriculum and literary materials that will come from Hawaiian writers, be situated in Hawaiʻi, and/or contain Hawaiian themes; 3) lesson plans to showcase possibilities for ʻŌiwi to share their curriculum to a wider audience, thus ensuring a Hawaiian Place of Teaching.

Title slide from “Open at the Edges, or the Edges of Open: Futures in Scholarly Collaboration”.

Billy’s lightning talk titled, “Open at the Edges, or the Edges of Open: Futures in Scholarly Collaboration,” focused on the future of “open” in the context of contemporary issues of politics and technology. Beginning with provocations meant to challenge the notions of “neutral technology,” the 10-minute prerecorded session, the larger message was for all folx participating either directly or tangentially in the open education movement to question their relationship to technology, and from there question their relationship to “open”.

All content and session recordings are being shared through the OpenEd20 YouTube Channel, and we encourage all stakeholders in the UH community to peruse them as they find useful. The vibrancy of the open education community (or communities!) has never been brighter, and the ability of the community and its leaders to maintain the momentum we have been gathering for years, is inspirational.

The University of Hawaiʻi OER program wishes to not only provide cost-savings and accessible learning for students, but also support work towards equity and social justice, creating space for discussion of complex issues that may not be a part of the dialogue in all places. With gratitude for the work that has been done, we look forward to OpenEd21.

This post was co-authored by LynleyShimat Lys and Billy Meinke-Lau.

Posted by Billy Meinke in Conference, Open Education, UH Manoa
Human Nutrition 2020 Edition is Live!

Human Nutrition 2020 Edition is Live!

Guest post by the UHM Food Science and Human Nutrition Program.

The team behind the Human Nutrition OER textbook at UHM is thrilled to announce that the latest edition is now available! Mahalo to the UHM Outreach College and the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources for their support. In our last blog post about the project, we announced a call for photo submissions to be used as our new cover. And thank you to Dr. Noa Lincoln (TPSS) for submitting the winning photo!

This new version of the textbook adds an interactive layer across the comprehensive book, now including 176 embedded learning activities created with the open source quiz tool H5P. Over one hundred flashcards were added at the end of relevant sections to help students review definitions of important terms, and more than fifty drag and drop activities were added to reinforce the learning objectives outlined at the beginning of each chapter. These activities provide valuable engagement with the textbook content, supporting student learning through formative practice and immediate feedback.

Animated image showing H5P interactions inside the book

In addition to the new embedded learning activities, the content of the textbook has been updated and revised since the 2018 edition. Content updates include:

  • “Health at Every Size” (new section in the Nutritional Issues chapter)
  • Nutritional Label Facts section updated to reflect the new guidelines
  • Major and Trace Minerals, Pregnancy and Infancy sections expanded

In celebration of open education and sharing resources, we are proud to unveil the Human Nutrition OER Textbook Instructor Resource Website.  Access to this website is free and available to interested faculty that are interested in using the text in their courses. The site features lecture slides, quiz and exam question banks, assignments, and other resources. To gain access to the instructor site, please complete this form.

Landing page of OER course on human nutrition
Screenshot of OER website for human nutrition
Screenshot of instructor website with guidance for new adoptions
Screenshot of teaching materials website
Screenshot of Instructor Website links to lecture slides and quiz banks

UHM’s Food Science and Human Nutrition department will begin adopting version 2 this Fall. It will also be conducting a study on student perceptions towards embedded learning activities in OER textbooks and whether embedded learning activities in OER textbooks impact student learning.  We look forward to sharing our findings and future OER projects in future posts.

Zoom meeting screenshot of the development team

Left to Right, Top to Bottom: Noemi Caacbay (Project GRA), Kellie Taguchi (Distance Ed. Coor.), Gemady Langfelder (UG Student), Dr. Marie Kainoa Fialkowski Revilla (PI), Ya-Yun Yang (Distance Ed. GA), Ty Lim (Instructional Designer), Jennifer Draper (Instructor), Christina Young (UG Student), Chynna Chun (UG Student), Skylar Hara (UG Student)

The 2018 version of our text is listed in the Open Education Network’s Open Textbook Library, and we encourage interested faculty to consider adopting this text and set of instructor resources as a cost-free and flexible option to better serve students. Enjoy!

Posted by Billy Meinke in Grant Projects, OER, Open Textbooks, UH Manoa
Curated List: College Success OER

Curated List: College Success OER

We are already mid way through summer 2020. Many faculty are running full steam to prepare for an unpredictable fall term. In full appreciation of the shifting and re-working that college and university instructors have done to set the stage for success, we should also consider how the first-year experience is changing during this heightened moment in history. In an effort to support the reuse and remixing of OER, we offer a curated list of courses and textbooks on college success and the first-year experience that you might find useful.

Each of these resources has strengths in content or form that are worth borrowing or building from, and many are published using Pressbooks, which makes it easy to copy and adapt them in whole or in part. If you are a UH instructor and want to find out more about starting up a Pressbook for OER, please drop us a line.

OpenSem: A Student-Generated Handbook for the First Year of College

Rebus Community: Robin DeRosa

Veteran Open Pedagogy educator Robin DeRosa engaged students in creating this textbook through an OpenSem, an open seminar using principles of open pedagogy. This meant the learning process and outcomes were driven and owned by the students. The content covers tips for students orienting themselves to the college experience, and student-written articles about issues for students in higher education.

Screenshot of Opensem OER textbook

English Composition: Connect, Collaborate, Communicate

UH Mānoa: Ann Inoshita, Karyl Garland, Kate Sims, Jeanne K. Tsutsui Keuma, and Tasha Williams 

This book was written at UH Mānoa by educators from across the UH system during one of our May 2019 OER sprints. In situating its focus on first year student writing, this book opens with a chapter on student success. The authorship represents five campuses in the UH system, bringing together a passionate group of instructors who have worked with thousands of students.

Screenshot of English Composition OER textbook

Strategies for Academic Success

University of Saskatchewan: Liv Marken 

This textbook is an adaptation of a previous College Success title, reworked for the University of Saskatchewan College of Arts and Science to support their first year course. The chapters are constructed around themes that address the transition to college, social skills and communication, healthy lifestyle choices and more.

Screenshot of Strategies for Academic Success OER textbook

Blueprint for Success in College and Career: v 1.3

Rebus Community: Dave Dillon 

This book is the recipient of a Textbook Excellence Award from the Textbook and Academic Authors Association, and is one of the more comprehensive resources in this list. The early chapters are dedicated to preparing for launch, and then branch out into an array of topics around college success.

Screenshot of Blueprint for College Success in College and Career OER textbook

University 101: Study, Strategize and Succeed

Kwantlen Polytechnic University Learning Centres 

This textbook was published by the Kwantlen Polytechnic University Learning Centres and focuses on the skills and habits associated with student success. The chapters are organized similarly to other books but are titled assertively as learning outcomes. This book is also meant to be useful to returning students and international students, and includes downloadable worksheets at the end of the book.

Screenshot of University 101 OER textbook

College Success

OpenStax: Multiple Authors: Amy Baldwin, University of Central Arkansas et al 

This book is published by OpenStax, and includes work from a team of authors focusing on student success and wellness. The text can be read online and downloaded for free, and a low cost print order option is available. The text is available with accompanying instructor and student resources, and has an attached OER Hub on OER Commons.

Screenshot of College Success OER textbook on OpenStax

Before You Go

This is only a handful of the OER available for college success. The great thing about the open license on each of them is that they can be used and remixed immediately. We can even make a customized version of any or all of them for you to use with your students. Have fun exploring and let us know if we can assist you in any way. Also let us know if you decide to use or remix these resources or have other resources to share. With new challenges come new opportunities for learning, and we wish you the best as the semester begins!

Featured image/header photo by Kyle Gregory Devaras on Unsplash

Posted by Billy Meinke in OER, Online Education, Open Textbooks
UH Pressbooks Support Resources Now Available

UH Pressbooks Support Resources Now Available

New UH OER learning resources are now available!

These link-rich slides include Introduction to Pressbooks, Interactive OER, and Collaborative OER Strategies for OER development, and were used during widely-attended OER trainings held in April. Having been scheduled for in-person delivery prior to COVID restrictions, the presentations were modified with questions and prompts to encourage virtual participation. More than a dozen new Pressbook sites were recently opened for instructors, pointing to greater interest and continued growth of OER use.

The slides include much of what we have learned over the last three years piloting the use of Pressbooks to support OER at UH. Much more than just flat textbooks, faculty and instructors across the UH system are making engaging, tech-forward textbooks that cost students nothing and are endlessly customizable. Several projects discussed in the workshops have entered second development phases of their content, putting H5P and other embedded media to use for students.

Mahalo to everyone that joined us!

The slides decks are linked below:

UH OER Pressbooks Intro

Screenshot of UH OER Pressbooks Intro presentation slides

Interactive OER Pressbooks

Interactive OER Pressbooks slide deck cover

Collaborative OER Strategies

Screenshot of Collaborative OER Strategies slide deck

Having trouble accessing the slides? Send an email to and we’ll take care of you.

Posted by Billy Meinke in Open Textbooks, Training, UH Manoa
2020 UH Manoa Call for OER Grant Proposals + Spring OER Trainings

2020 UH Manoa Call for OER Grant Proposals + Spring OER Trainings

Support for OER adoptions and creations at UH Mānoa continues with this year’s UHM Outreach College call for OER grant proposals and a series of workshops held with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE).

Entering its fourth round, the OER grant program offered by the UHM Outreach College has yielded more than a $1.2M in student savings and effected more than 12,000 student enrollments during the first two years alone. Projects funded by the program represent the passionate work of instructors, faculty, and academic departments across campus. Funding of up to $5,000 to offset faculty curriculum development time, or to bring student assistants into the work, are awarded to projects that make meaningful improvement to the student experience through the use of OER.

More information about the grant program and the application form can be found on the 2020 UHM Call for OER Proposals page. Applications are due March 20th, 2020.

Additionally, a series of OER workshops are being offered through the CTE. This semester’s offerings extend beyond the basics of OER, copyright, and adaptation to approach the topics of Pressbooks publishing software, interactive elements, and collaborative strategies for content development.

Intro to Open Educational Resources –> February 20 (completed)

What are Open Educational Resources? How do they fit into textbook affordability at UH Manoa? Which exciting projects are already in the works? This introductory session will answer these questions and more, showcasing major adoptions and innovative OER publishing happening at UHM and across the UH system. Come find out why so many courses are switching to OER, and how faculty and instructors can get support adopting and customizing OER for their courses.

Copyright & Creative Commons licensing –> March 5

Copyright and intellectual property in the digital age can seem complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. This workshop will cover copyright and intellectual property related to OER publishing and reuse, with a focus on Creative Commons (CC) licenses.

OER Creation and Adaptation –> March 12

Like most learning content, OER are created and adapted with software tools, usually guided by instructional design frameworks or theories. This workshop will provide an overview of the instructional design processes that guide current UH OER projects.

Intro to Pressbooks Publishing Software –> April 2

The UH OER initiative uses free and open source software to publish an impressive range of textbooks. From Human Nutrition to Atmospheric Science, come see working examples of OER textbooks in use, and find out how to get your own Pressbook site to experiment with.

Building Interactive Pressbooks –> April 9

The textbook is dead. Long live the textbook! From embedded assessments to group annotations, this workshop will highlight ways OER textbooks made in Pressbooks software are being designed to facilitate learner engagement.

Strategies for Collaborative OER Projects –> April 16

Three years into the UH OER pilot program to develop collaborative OER textbooks, this workshop will focus on what works in terms of team organization, editing and review, and new methods for rapid development of content.

More information and sign ups can be found on the CTE events calendar.

Posted by Billy Meinke in Grant Projects, Open Textbooks, Training, UH Manoa
September 2019 OER Sprint Releases – English Composition and UH Microeconomics

September 2019 OER Sprint Releases – English Composition and UH Microeconomics

With the semester getting into full swing, we are proud to share the outputs of the OER sprints conducted in May of this year. During two sprint events, faculty and instructors from throughout the University of Hawaii system focused their energy and expertise to produce two OERs.

Likened to a coding hackathon, book sprints involve rapid planning, writing, revising, and more writing. Book Sprints champions the notion of going “zero to book in five days” but due to time constraints, three-day sprints were planned and focused on content for English 100 and Economic 131 (Microeconomics). Our teams gathered at the Information Technology Center (ITC) at UH Manoa to take part in this experimental approach to curriculum development, spending 11-to-12-hour days giving their all to the project. From roughly 9:00am to 9:00pm, these subject matter experts sought out existing content, drafted entire chapters from scratch, and edited each others’ work.

Professors and a facilitator in front of a white board

The first sprint team members had already adopted the widely-used Openstax Principles of Microeconomics in their courses, which provided an excellent base of content. As many instructors do in the classroom, each instructor brought with them extensive notes about how they might change or augment the curriculum if given the opportunity. While it can be a slow process to make substantive changes to a textbook over a semester, the sprint offered the chance to make changes immediately and receive expert feedback from others who work with the same content, resulting in a book that better supports the needs of the instructors. Changes from the off-the-shelf Openstax version to the UH version include a Use of Mathematics appendix as part of the first chapter, the combining of multiple chapters and updates to examples, tables, and data throughout.

After major combinations or eliminations of chapters and sections were decided, a checklist of tasks was established for each chapter and work was divided among the participants. For the Microeconomics book, each of the seventeen chapters went through phases of text revision, figure/table updating, checking links to external content, knowledge check revision, alignment with learning objectives, and final in-house copyediting. Each night while the subject matter experts rested, Book Sprints staff in South Africa and Germany copyedited the day’s work and made suggestions to align the content with a style guide established at the beginning of the sprint. This process repeated for each of the chapters, and each day the group began by reviewing the copyediting notes and making plans for the next full day of work. As a final step, figures and equations throughout the book were formatted in LaTeX.

Screenshot of UH Microeconomics OER textbook

Click the above image to visit the book.

The second sprint group focused on the creation of a writing and rhetoric guide that is commonly assigned alongside a set of readings and contemporary literature. English 100 is taken by as many as 10,000 UH students each year across all campuses, representing one of the highest enrollment courses in the entire system. Several similar OER guides in various website and course formats had been produced at the time of this sprint, but the end goal was to create a guide that would take book form.

As with many courses, the approaches and objectives for English 100 vary somewhat from campus to campus and between instructors. The Book Sprints team guided the team of subject matter experts through a process of harmonizing the variations of learning outcomes associated with sections of the course, clarifying the goals for the project. In what can be described as a semi-chaotic post-it note session, the instructors were tasked with curating all the ideas and goals for the book into buckets representing chapters. Many ideas and goals overlapped, and some were discarded if they did not fit within the scope of the book or were a better fit for an individual instructor’s edition of the book — which was promised from the beginning. Having a shared collaborative version was foundational, and the open licensing and simple cloning in Pressbooks meant that each instructor now has their own version to use with their students and continually edit during the pilot period.

Organizing ideas on post-it notes on a white board

As it turned out, three days of sprinting was barely enough time to yield the first draft of the text, now titled English Composition. Finishing touches on this initial version of the text were made in the weeks following the sprint, ensuring each instructor could confidently move forward with the text. The book begins with a chapter on student success, which gives helpful tips for communicating with professors and other students, and for understanding standards of quality for writing. The following chapters then explain the writing process and distinguish between types of essays that students are likely to write during their college experience. A final chapter on research skills rounds out the core content of the book, which is supplemented by appendices that recommend place-based and culture-based readings, videos and sample assignments.

Screenshot of English Composition OER textbook

Click the above image to visit the book.

Both books are now available on the UH Pressbooks site, to be viewed and used and downloaded under the terms of the CC BY license attached to it. Print on demand for both books is being finalized, which will allow students to access low-cost print copies. Overall, the sprint approach to OER development holds real value for those interested in OER but who, like many, haven’t moved to the adaptation and creation phases of OER beyond off-the-shelf adoption.

A huge thanks to Barbara and Karina from Book Sprints for their master facilitation skills, and to the eight authors across both sprints who shared their expertise and collaborative energies with us. Big thanks as well to Davilla Gose and Laura Chuang for helping make the logistics and operational side of the sprints smooth.

Posted by Billy Meinke in OER, Sprints
Happening this May: UH OER Sprints!

Happening this May: UH OER Sprints!

Over the last several years, instructors and faculty from across the UH system have joined the movement in adopting OER in place of textbooks and other costly resources in their classes. A subset within this wave of adoptions includes content that has been adapted or customized to better suit the teaching style of the instructor and needs of the students, something that can only be accomplished with OER — which carry copyright licenses that allow such modification. These customized OER projects have typically followed the OER Production Workflow we published just over two years ago. Even with project milestones and sufficient assistance in place, the single largest barrier to meeting projects goals has been time. It can take months or even years to produce a single OER textbook.

Recognizing this barrier, we have begun to wonder how the processes of adaptation and creation of new content can be invigorated, and how the energy and enthusiasm of our faculty could be focused in way that would allow us to reach a pilot-ready OER in less time. To that end, we’ve made plans to employ sprint-based textbook development methods this year to build customized UH OER. Using existing OER content as a base, our motivated faculty and instructors will have the opportunity to build curricular materials that demonstrate their expertise in a given subject area. Beyond simply replacing costly materials, there will be opportunities to explore innovative pedagogical approaches that might be done during course refreshes.

But what the heck is an OER sprint?

When introducing the concept of a sprint, we often compare it to a “hackathon” like is done for code, but instead to build a book. Putting the rather important nuances on hold for a moment, sprint methods usually involve a small group of subject matter experts who are guided through the ideation, writing, and revision phases of writing a book over the course of a few days. A facilitator and handful of support staff assist with each step in the process, and some post-production in done after the writing and revisions have ended, polishing up the content and forming in into a useful package. Sprint methods have been used for more than a decade to create documentation very quickly, and have now expanded to include textbooks and even ancillary materials like assessment banks.

In our case, we will be sprinting to build OER books to address needs within some of our highest enrollment courses in the UH system. This May our first sprints will take place between May 15 and May 22, in three-day all-day sessions of curating, writing, and revising content for Introductory Microeconomics and Macroeconomics (ECON 130/131) and English Composition (ENG 100). In some cases, faculty who teach these courses have already begun to gather and adapt OER for their specific course at their campus, and now we are moving to create foundational OER available to all UH campuses where these courses are delivered — even the online ones!

What if I’m interested in being a part of this but haven’t yet had the chance to chime in?

We are still gathering instructors and faculty to from all campuses to take part in the May sprints. Please reach out to Davilla Gose ( or Billy Meinke-Lau ( ASAP if you would like to get more information or sign up for participation.

What if I think this sounds *awesome* but I am not available in May during the above window of time?

The response to our call for interest in OER sprints has been overwhelming, and for this first set of sprints we are going to focus on these few courses. Instructors from a range of fields including history, physiology and anatomy, chemistry and more have reached out, and so we are already making plans to host more sprint-style events in the coming Fall semester. These will likely be single-day events to address lighter revisions/remixing and the development of shared ancillary resources like quiz banks and lecture slides decks.

If you are interested in future activities like OER sprints and training or workshops around customizing OER, be sure to sign up for the UH system-wide listserv by making a request via email to

Posted by Billy Meinke in OER, Sprints
Textbook Cost Zero Marking Coming to UH Course Listings

Textbook Cost Zero Marking Coming to UH Course Listings

Students at all ten campuses of the University of Hawaii system will soon be able to make more informed decisions about the courses they take than ever before. Beginning in Spring 2019 semester for some campuses, and Fall 2019 for all campuses, instructors will now easily be able to give their courses a “TXT0” attribute to indicate that the course has adopted an Open Educational Resource textbook or moved to using only free resources. Marking of courses to indicate their being textbook-free or OER based has been an ad-hoc effort at various campuses for the last couple of years, but now a standardized technical implementation will be available to all instructors in all sections of a course.

In an age where OER textbooks are available for most high-enrollment undergraduate courses, students will now be able to identify the instructors and departments shifting toward cost-free resources. A 2017 survey on the impact of textbook costs for students at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) campus was consistent with the findings of similar regional and national surveys: students make poor academic decisions based on the cost of textbooks. According to the survey, more than eighty percent of students have skipped buying a required textbook for a course, with nearly two thirds of those students acknowledging it would affect their performance in the course. Additionally, nearly seventy percent of students indicated that the cost of textbooks for a course would determine their taking that course, with more than twenty percent of students reporting having withdrawn from a course due to the cost of textbooks and materials. Both on its face and in the long-term, this new ability to mark courses as having no textbook cost will surely allow students to make better decisions about the courses they take.

Class Availability with TXT0 marking at Honolulu Community College / Carol Hasegawa

Hawaii joins Texas, Washington, and a growing list of states that have enabled zero-textbook cost marking in course listings, many of them having done so in a response to legislation that required such action.

This move will also enable institutional research to understand how lowering barriers to instructional materials affects student success more broadly. A growing body of research is seeking to answer this question, and early signals suggest that student success is generally noted to be at same level or higher level when OER and/or zero-cost materials are used in instruction as opposed to traditional costly materials. How this shift towards students making enrollment decisions based on marking for OER and zero textbook-cost courses is yet to be seen, but we are optimistic about students making better-informed enrollment decisions.


Contact with questions.

Posted by Billy Meinke in OER, Student, Zero Textbook Cost
September 2018 UH OER Releases – Communicology, Building Maintenance, and OER Training Pressbooks

September 2018 UH OER Releases – Communicology, Building Maintenance, and OER Training Pressbooks

As we slide into the Fall 2018 semester, more of the Open Educational Resources (OER) developed at UH are ready for sharing out. Each of these OER have been developed on the UH Pressbooks platform and are available in a wide range of file formats for reuse, under an open license that allows you to borrow and adapt to suit your needs.


Building Maintenance and Construction: Tools and Maintenance Tasks

Clifford Rutherford, University of Hawaiʻi Maui College

Written by the Program Coordinator of the Construction Technology Program at UH Maui College, this book serves as a foundation for students seeking entry-level careers in the building trades and facilities management fields. Covering a range of introductory topics, the text touches on proper use of common tools, preventive and reactive maintenance procedures, mechanical systems, and much more. An augmented version of this text is being piloted at this time, with interactive practices and assessment items built in. Please get in touch with the author to learn more.

Textbook cover for Building Maintenance


Message Processing: The Science of Creating Understanding

Jessica Gasiorek and R. Kelly Aune, Department of Communicology (UHM)

This text provides an upper-level undergraduate introduction and explanation of the social and cognitive processes involved in human communication, focusing on how people create understanding. Written by faculty in the Communicology Department, the book delves into human processing of sounds and physical behaviors, and the biological, cognitive and social processes that are at work.

Textbook cover for Message Processing


UH OER Training

William (Billy) Meinke, Outreach College (UHM)

This is a three-part workbook that guides the OER training workshops delivered to faculty through the Center for Teaching Excellence at UH Mānoa. The book has been piloted and refined into a resource that can support OER training in the areas of 1) Basic OER knowledge, 2) Copyright and Creative Commons, and 3) Skills for authoring OER. The book is intended to be a quick-start guide for higher education instructors who wish to jump in and get their hands dirty with OER quickly using best practices for adaptation and creation.

UH OER Training workbook cover


Interested in reusing any of these texts? Contact information for the authors is available in the front matter of each book, and you can always drop us a line at

Mahalo and enjoy!


Posted by Billy Meinke in OER, Open Textbooks, Training
Policy and Open Educational Resources in Hawaii, the Story of SB 2328

Policy and Open Educational Resources in Hawaii, the Story of SB 2328

As we settle into the summer season here in Hawaii, it’s time to look back at the first six months of the year and reflect on the policy happenings. As I’ll take a few words to explain, Hawaii State Senate Bill SB 2328 appeared on our radar in January, the first high-level policy in Hawaii to focus on the development and adoption of Open Educational Resources. To be sure, the original mandates of the well-intended bill were impossible to effect as they infringed on the academic freedom of faculty. But even as feedback through testimony and hearings improved the bill — by establishing a task force and grant program — and seemed likely to pass, last minute testimony and revised wording marred the bill with inaccurate statements regarding copyright and OER, and the publishing industry came onto the scene. Opinions aside about whether or not a bill for OER is actually needed for it to flourish in Hawaii, the process of following a bill from first introduction to its quiet death offered an interesting look into the legislative process for policy affecting the University of Hawaii (UH).

Before my commentary, you can read the history of the bill on the Hawaii State Senate website. Therein you will find all four versions of the bill as well as testimony submitted by UH, the University of Hawaii Professional Assembly (UHPA), and myself among many other individuals. I’ll note that as the lead of the UH OER project, I was never contacted or consulted by either of the Committees on Higher Education (HE), although text from the UH OER website ( was copied-and-pasted into the bill itself in its first draft. At the end of this post I’ll touch on what would make a strong, impactful OER bill if the HE committee in either the State Senate or House of Representatives were to consider introducing similar legislation in future sessions. They very much fall in line with what you will find in the fantastic OER State Policy Playbook created by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Research Coalition (SPARC).

SB 2328 first came to my attention via Twitter when a government relations employee of a national bookstore organization tweeted it out. Clicking down to the Hawaii State Senate website confirmed that a bill for OER had been introduced. In short, the bill stated a need for improved college affordability and then presented the following mandates that by 2021:

  • All courses at UH required to use Open Educational Resources
  • Paid materials and subscriptions in courses no longer allowed
  • In cases where no OER exist for a course, instructors must create new OER

After confirming that no one within UH was aware of the bill before its introduction, internal feedback was sought and testimony was submitted to the Senate HE Committee by the UH Office of the Vice President of Academic Policy and Planning. From the beginning it was clear that any mandate to use OER would violate academic freedom, and that existing OER (in our repository) simply could not meet the needs of instructors in all courses. The notion of instructors being required to work off the sides of their desks to create new OER was impossible. A lot of stick without much carrot.

Current and emeritus faculty railed against the bill, and an unfortunate association was made between OER and limiting academic freedom. This association echoed in the hallways of UH campuses and across social media networks for months, long after the second draft removed the mandates entirely. The issue on its own was also highlighted by Inside Higher Education and e-Literate.

In a positive turn, the second draft of the bill:

  • Removed mandates to use or create OER
  • Established a UH OER Task Force charged with reporting on the suitability of OER for all general education and high enrollment courses by 2019
  • Established a $50k OER pilot grant program

The task force would be made up of all vice chancellors for academic affairs in the UH system, representatives from UH Faculty Senate, the OER project, UHPA, and the board of regents among others in the 16-person group. All members of the task force were directly associated with UH at this point. As for the grant program, it closely mirrored the UHM OER grant program I manage in terms of funding amount per project, but did not reflect the technical support and OER production guidance we also offer to our grantees.

The third draft of the bill carried no substantive changes.

The final hour is where things got interesting in terms of what, when, and how changes to the bill were made. Another hearing of the bill had been postponed, and what emerged from the rescheduled meeting was a fourth draft of the bill with critical changes that removed the term Open Educational Resources entirely, killed the OER Pilot grant program, and added a publishing industry representative to the task force which now would now focus on “No- and Low-Cost Options”.

But how?

Keeping in mind that supportive testimony we see was actually supporting a very different bill (the third draft), a review of the final batch of testimonies did not reveal anything out of the ordinary. But alongside testimonies and drafts of legislation, committee reports can provide more information related to changes in a bill. The committee report showed a gross misunderstanding of copyright and OER, and used it to justify the removal of OER from the entire bill in both name and substance.

The report states:

Your Committee finds that the University of Hawaii is already providing options to reduce the cost of educational materials on an ad hoc basis. Your Committee has chosen not to have the Task Force focus on requiring open educational resources because open education resources are proprietary, do not fully reflect the ad hoc efforts that are already being undertaken by the University of Hawaii, and are not available for certain professional and graduate programs.

Your Committee further notes that, as requested in testimony, a representative of the publishing industry was included as a member of the task force to incentivize publishers to lower costs for textbooks.

Let’s pause right there for a moment.

Open Educational Resources are precisely the opposite of proprietary. OER are defined in part by having an open license, one that permits reuse and revision — the legal linchpin of why OER are so impactful. In the United States, copyright is automatic and requires no registration to protect creative work, which can stifle collaboration. To make content legally open, licenses like Creative Commons (CC) are used to publicly and clearly license work for reuse, telling others that your work can be shared — the first three drafts of the bill state this clearly. I work directly with faculty that both reuse and publish new OER with CC licenses in their practice and are able to collaborate across UH campuses without the need for lawyers to draft new licenses constantly. On the other hand, educational resources without an open license are actually considered “proprietary”.

Traditional textbooks from the big education publishers such as Pearson and Cengage are proprietary. The publishing industry has seen declining profits in the print sector and is now shifting towards digital textbook rentals, which of course carry a limited license. Each student pays a fee that is typically lower than a traditional textbook for limited (often 16 weeks of) access, then the book disappears. Nothing to keep, nothing to sell back, and the notes students made in the margins are usually kept by the publisher as well. So consider that once a course has transitioned to an OER textbook, it can be updated and shared with other instructors, and it remains open. Free for good. All students have perpetual access to the book: they keep it when it’s OER. When we calculate cost savings for a course moving to OER, those savings are ongoing and saving students money year after year as the free book lives on and is updated by instructors as part of their practice. Discounts and low-cost rentals from the publishers simply pale in comparison to what OER do for students and faculty.

If a defining term such as Open Educational Resources can be removed from a bill on the basis of being proprietary (which they actually are not), then content from the big publishers could be disqualified from consideration based on the fact that it is proprietary, no? This would seem reasonable.

Finally, in terms of the last minute changes to the bill, we saw the addition of a “Publishing Industry Representative” to the task force. Stepping back for a moment and noting that the cost of textbooks rose 82% from 2003 to 2013, why would we invite those who are the cause of the problem to the table? Let us not assume that those who created the problem know it best and are better positioned to solve it. Our work with OER at UH simply does not involve the publishers because we are sharing and adapting content that carries no profit margins for them, and they have yet to offer worthwhile products or services that help us do better what we are already doing.

If the bill were to re-center itself on OER, there would be no need to “incentivize publishers to lower costs for textbooks”. Having attended several hearings and pored over the testimony, there was absolutely no participation from the publishing industry until the final moment, if any public participation was made at all. A publishing industry representative would add nothing meaningful to a task force focusing on OER, full stop.

Many seemed to hang on the unfortunate mandates written into the first draft of the bill and lost interest once they were removed. It appears that at the end the bill failed to be scheduled for a hearing and so fell out of the legislative session. Gone for now. But questions remain about how the bill changed so dramatically at the end and how the publishing industry was involved.

Changing gears slightly, a bill positively supporting Open Educational Resources in Hawaii might do any of the following:

  • Establish an OER grant program*
  • Require OER to be marked in course schedules
  • Create a task force or council*
  • Issue a savings challenge

*These were originally part of SB 2328.

SPARC’s playbook has detailed information on each of the above including sample policies from several states that have recognized the potential of OER and are using legislative means to support its growth. Sample text from those policies can provide a starting point for an OER bill for Hawaii. The legislatures of other states including New York and Georgia have made significant investments in OER resulting in tens of millions of dollars in student savings and hundreds of thousands of students affected. Half a dozen other states have similar programs but with fewer resources committed, and more are on their way.

SB 2328 was going to be the beginnings of policy support for OER in Hawaii, and it was derailed before dying. The implications of involving for-profit publishers in the policy-making process for higher education curriculum are uncertain. What we do know is that we are already making progress with adoptions system-wide and publishing our first OER textbooks developed locally. And that well-informed legislation that secures perpetual student savings through specific, positive support for OER would be welcomed in the future.

Featured image for this post by Jim Bowen on Flickr / CC BY.

Posted by Billy Meinke in Creative Commons, OER, Policy
First Set of UH OER Textbooks Shared into the Commons

First Set of UH OER Textbooks Shared into the Commons

We are proud to announce the release of a first wave of OER into the Commons! The work in this collection represents a round of projects funded by the UH Mānoa Outreach College to adopt, adapt, or build open textbooks and instructional tools for our students. These OER have helped offset hundreds of thousands of dollars in textbook costs for students, and the use of content that firmly places control in the hands of faculty so they can adapt them to suit their needs. Teams of faculty leads, graduate and undergraduate students, and instructors collaboratively developed content that offers unmatched relevance for our students. We plan to take what we have learned from these projects and offer the technical and human processes to enable OER broadly at UH.

Faculty and instructors were the initiators of these projects, in some cases already having curated and created supplementary content over years of teaching. The UHM Outreach College offered open source software, training, and consultation to the teams to build confidence in their ability to reuse and revise existing OER content that formed the base for many projects. We’re excited to highlight a few of them here.

Human Nutrition
University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Program

Forward-thinking faculty and graduate students on this team developed a 100-level college textbook for introductory human nutrition for the HAP-designated (Hawaiian, Asian, and Pacific Issues) FSHN 185 course. Hundreds of students take this course at UHM alone each semester to prepare for majors such as nutrition, nursing, culinary arts, and a range of health sciences. Over eighteen months, the team audited content from existing open textbooks, designed their own ideal text to support their learning goals, and constructed 16-chapter open textbook that is endlessly customizable for their needs. Over 100 new figures and diagrams demonstrating concepts from the book have been added.

Human Nutrition textbook cover

Principles of Microeconomics: Hawaii Edition

John Lynham, Economics Department

Having already transitioned to using the OpenStax Principles of Microeconomics textbook for his sections of this high-enrollment ECON 131 course, John committed time to adapting the text for students in Hawaii. He replaced images and rewrote passages to support the understanding of concepts, covering them in local context. A set of assessment items were converted to H5P and embedded as interactive practice opportunities aligned with learning objectives for the course.

Mathematics for Elementary Teachers

Michelle Manes

Though her book had been available openly prior to this project, Michelle and a post-doc student converting her open textbook that had been created in iBooks Author into Pressbooks. Open content is limited by technology that makes it less adaptable and portable, and this project was an act of liberation from iBooks, the Apple publishing that requires the use of an OS X operating system. Formulas and equations in the content were converted to LaTeX for machine-readability and edibility. and the content was revised to be more accessible inside Pressbooks.

We will be rolling out releases of more books and OER content as they are ready for public sharing.

A Note about Cost

No content or proprietary software were purchased in the development of these projects. For high-enrollment courses (like those supported by these books), many OER options exist that can serve as a starting point and be tailored to instructor and student needs. Pressbooks was the primary software used to develop and publish these books, which is free and open source software that supports accessibility, interoperability, and makes it possible for any institution to participate in OER revision and creation.

Stay tuned as we prepare to release the next set of OER from our grant program!

Posted by Billy Meinke in Grant Projects, OER, Open Textbooks
Faculty Insights, Pedagogical Innovation, and the Power of OER on stage for #OEWeek

Faculty Insights, Pedagogical Innovation, and the Power of OER on stage for #OEWeek

As we march further into the Spring semester at the University of Hawai’i, we’re recapping our participation in Open Education Week celebration from March 8th. There were more wonderful conversations, ideas, and discussions had than can be captured in a single blog post, but that shouldn’t stop us from sharing some of the event’s highlights.

Our invited keynote speaker and workshop facilitator Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani opened with a talk titled Serving Social Justice and Pedagogical Innovation with Open Educational Practices. Rajiv walked the audience through the realities of higher education in terms of access and equity, asking us to consider how existing power structures reinforce inequalities for students. Open Educational Resources (OER) and related “open practices” can not only lower and eliminate materials costs for our students, but can also provide more meaningful, engaging learning experiences when a shift is made towards openness. Dr. Jhangiani reminded us how many faculty have become accustomed to “bending” our courses to align with an existing publisher textbook, whereas OER offer faculty the ability to customize the content to fit the course — representing a new layer of academic freedom.

Rajiv Jhangiani speaking

The keynote presentation was followed by a workshop on Open Pedagogy, focusing on helping faculty and instructors (re)design assignments that leverage the openness of OER. Examples offered by Rajiv were medical student contributions to Wikipedia articles, collaborative student curation and annotation of public domain texts, and more. But instead of prescribing lesson plans and strategies, participants were asked to examine their existing learning activities and assessments to see where openness could be woven into them to create re-useful assignments that could contribute to something larger or at the very least offer students the opportunity to showcase their skills to a broader audience in a way that lives on.

Rajiv Jhangiani speaking with faculty

The transition period for the day included a lunchtime meet-and-greet with faculty and instructors who received OER grants through the UHM Outreach College last year and have been working on adopting, adapting, and creating OER for their students. Cross-pollination occurred as we had hoped, and many of the grantees formed professional bonds around their changing practice. For many, this is only the beginning of their journey towards open practices that lower barriers, improve access, and do more for their students.

The event came to a close with a panel of four faculty that were willing to share their experiences in the OER adoption process. Participants included Deborah Halbert (Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs), Alison Nugent (Assistant Professor, Atmospheric Science), Marie Kainoa Fialkowski Revilla (Assistant Professor, Department of Human Nutrition, Food and Animal Sciences) and Malia Lau Kong (Associate Professor, History Department, Windward Community College). Courses being converted to OER often undergo a “refresh” process through which the course outcomes, assessments, support materials and other errata are reviewed as an expensive textbook is replaced with an open, free one. Moderated by Outreach College Dean Bill Chismar, the panelists responded to a series of questions about the realities of their adoptions and OER development. The freedom for faculty to adapt or customize the OER materials to their teaching and their students was highlighted, as was the need for technical support throughout the adoption process. Marie Kainoa Fialkowski Revilla also pointed out how OER adoptions (like the one she leads) benefit from a team effort made up of faculty, students, and instructors — direct collaboration involving many stakeholders.

Video of the keynote presentation and faculty panel can be viewed here:

Pictures from the day’s sessions are available here.

Mahalo to all who participated!

Posted by Billy Meinke in Conference, Grant Projects, OER, Open Education Week, UH Manoa
March 8th — Save the date! Open Education Week at UHM

March 8th — Save the date! Open Education Week at UHM

We’re pleased to announce the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa’s celebration of Open Education Week, our second year participating in the global event. This year’s event will be unique in that we will both welcome Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani as our opening keynote and highlight the wonderful outputs from the first round of UHM OER grants!

Rajiv is the Special Advisor to the Provost on Open Education at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver, British Columbia. Rajiv was instrumental in the launching Kwantlen Polytechnic’s Zed Cred ( program, an entire degree with zero textbook costs by way of using OER and/or free library materials. He has delivered dozens of keynote addresses and is one of the most informed, influential proponents of Open Educational Resources and Open Access anywhere in the world. Rajiv will follow his keynote with a workshop on Open Pedagogy, offering guidance in crafting learning activities that leverage of the openness of OER to provide improved feedback and help end the “throwaway assignment.”

OER projects funded through the UHM Outreach College are nearing completion, and we’re excited to have many of our grantees join us during this years event. Ranging from nutrition to physics, second language studies to economics, these projects represent the work of forward-thinking faculty, staff, and students at UHM who are embracing the power of open and building learning content that will be free forever.

Other exciting sessions happening on our March 8th celebration will include:
* OER Panel with Faculty and Instructors — What does it take to go open?
* 2017-2018 UHM OER Grantee Showcase lunchtime meet-and-greet

So, mark your calendars for Thursday March 8th!

Full schedule and details to be shared shortly.

Posted by Billy Meinke in Conference, Grant Projects, OER, Open Education Week