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Kitchen Table Conversation Kicks Off Open Access Activities in the Libraries

Haadiza Ogwude
October 9, 2018
Kitchen Table textbooks
Graphic design by Herbert Frimpong/Ohio University Libraries

University Libraries’ Kitchen Table Conversation will be held on Oct. 23 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the fourth floor of Alden Library. The title of the fall conversation is “Affordable Textbooks: Removing Barriers to Learning,” and will focus on the cost of textbooks, course materials and the efforts taken to provide open access. Panelists and audience members will discuss the benefits and misconceptions about open access, as well as how open textbooks and other programs can remove costly barriers to education for students.

The Kitchen Table Conversation kicks off Open Access Week, a global event to promote the free and immediate online access to the results of research. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, this year’s theme is “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” The panel conversation will feature experts from a variety of departments around campus discussing open access usage and integration. Mark Barsamian, associate lecturer in mathematics, Brad Cohen, senior vice provost for Instructional Innovation, and Tamekia Scott, assistant dean and executive director of the Academic Advancement Center, are the panelists for this semester’s event. Kelly Broughton, assistant dean for research and education services for OHIO Libraries, will serve as the moderator for the discussion.

“Open access is an equalizer. Open access makes it so that no matter what economic background you’re sitting in, you can afford all the materials because they are free to you. As a learner, that’s great. The problem, of course, is figuring out in our consumer-driven society exactly how those materials are getting produced and sustained in a way that is not charging the students on top of their tuition,” said Broughton.

Despite the implementation challenges surrounding open access, the Libraries has been, and continues to be, a leader on campus when it comes to providing free educational materials for students. The subject librarians work with faculty to find alternatives for textbooks, and in the past, they even ran an Alt-Textbook Initiative where they trained faculty on Open Educational Resources (OER) and helped develop ways to redesign courses to increase affordability for students.

“Quite often what happens when those types of materials get adopted by faculty members, is they become reengaged in the content, in the process of choosing and selecting those materials that they’re putting into their course. They become fully engaged in those materials in a way they may not have been with a commercial textbook,” Broughton explained.

Broughton encourages faculty to come to a Kitchen Table Conversation and listen to students’ stories about how the costs affect them. It is important to see the student perspective and the creative ways they avoid purchasing textbooks, said Broughton. Subject librarians Araba Dawson-Andoh, African studies and social sciences, and Andrew Stuart, life and physical sciences and assistant head of user services, hope that, through this conversation, faculty and students will become better aware of the benefits of open access and will seek new ways to implement free or affordable resources into the learning environment at Ohio University.

Open access workshops will be held in room 251 in Alden Library and will include: “Negotiating Your Copyrights” which will be on Oct. 24 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.; “Finding and Using Open Data" on Oct. 25 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.; and “Introduction to Open Educational Resources” on Oct. 26 from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. All events are free and open to the public. Register here.

To request accessibility accommodations for this event, please contact Jennifer Harvey.