|In 2013, with the support of a Provost-backed initiative Portland State University Library developed an open textbook publishing program. In five years the library has published 15 open access textbooks, including 7 foreign language textbooks. Our open access textbook program, PDXOpen, provides author funding, project management support, and a platform to publish open textbooks. We work with faculty authors to publish high-quality open textbooks designed specifically for their courses, that are free to students at our university and to anyone throughout the world. The goal of the program is to provide faculty with the opportunity to not only increase the impact of their scholarship but to also provide a facilitating role that gives students a lead in their learning process without the hurdles of costs or lack of resource availability. By working directly with faculty, the library is not only framing open textbook publishing as a way to save students money, but to also align more closely with faculty objectives and priorities.|
Working closely with faculty in the World Languages department I've overseen the publication of 7 foreign language open access textbooks. The textbooks include: Arabic and English Sentence Patterns: A Comparative Guide; Histoires d'Avenirs: Science-fiction pour le cours de français niveaux intermédiaire et avancé; Beginning Japanese for Professionals: Book 1; Beginning Japanese for Professionals: Book 2; Leyendas y arquetipos del Romanticismo español, Segunda edición; From MSA to CA: A Beginner's Guide for Transitioning into Colloquial Arabic; and Preadvanced Japanese.
To increase the citation impact and discoverability, we publish the open access textbooks in our institutional repository, PDXScholar, as well as in the Open Textbook Library. The advantage of being in the open textbook library is that each textbook has the opportunity to be reviewed by faculty for other institutions. Several of our foreign language textbooks have been reviewed.
The impact on students studying foreign languages has been key to promoting foreign language textbooks to the community. Not only do these textbooks save students money but they also increase their ability to learn a foreign language. As one student clearly states, “The quality of the available materials is excellent. Using open textbooks, and the other study materials my professor created has had major advantages. I’ve found that with these materials I find myself asking more questions about the topics, because it’s so easy to use these resources either to answer those questions or as a starting point to finding out the answers. My studies have become more and more active exploration than static memorization. “ Another student stated, “I found my French open textbook very well written and organized. It was created to work in tandem with videos and audio content, which further reinforced my ability to learn French."
The foreign language open access textbooks are being downloaded and used throughout the world. For example, Faculty in Italy at the Inistero Della Pubblica Instruzione, Universita ‘E Ricera are using From MSA to CA: A Beginner's Guide for Transitioning into Colloquial Arabic to help in their work with the Arabic-speaking refugees. The Japanese textbook, Beginning Japanese for Professionals: Book 1 is our most popular item in PDXScholar with 28,220 downloads since December 2015.