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Archive: 05/09/2017

UMass Amherst Libraries Announce New Open Textbook: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

Thanks to a grant from the UMass Amherst Libraries’ Open Education Initiative (OEI) and the Libraries’ recent partnership with the Open Textbook Network and Rebus Community, faculty member Miliann Kang, Sociology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies students Sonny Nordmarken, Laura Heston, and Donovan Lessard have created an updated version of Kang’s 2012 open textbook, Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies just in time for the 2017-18 fall semester. Since it was first published, this freely available e-book has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.

Since 2011, in an effort to address the rising cost of textbooks, the Libraries’ Scholarly Communication office has been offering instructors opportunities to replace expensive commercial textbooks and instead use Open Educational Resources (OER): high quality teaching materials that are openly licensed and free. The Open Education Initiative offers incentive grants to faculty like Kang to adopt, adapt, or create alternatives to these high-cost texts. The Initiative has saved students at UMass more than $1.7M to date.

Using Pressbooks software, Kang and Nordmarken designed a downloadable textbook with dynamic content that was subsequently published by the Libraries with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. This CC-BY license allows anyone in the world with internet access to use and download the book as-is, or to modify the text to suit their local context, i.e. to translate, create, and publish their own version, as long as proper attribution is given to the original author.

Miliann Kang is an associate professor in the university’s Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and an Advisor for Diversity in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. In addition to their doctoral studies in Sociology, Sonny Nordmarken, Laura Heston, and Donovan Lessard have each received a Graduate Certificate in Advanced Feminist Studies from the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The Pressbooks version of their textbook, Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, is now available via the Open Textbook Library, or a printable version via the university’s local institutional repository, Scholarworks, hosted by the Libraries.

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