Realizing the 5R Dream: The LibreTexts’s Quest to Build a Centralized OER Platform

This is the breakdown of the OpenEd19 poster given in Phoenix, AZ Oct. 30th 2019.

The LibreTexts mission is to unite students, faculty and scholars in a cooperative effort to develop an easy-to-use online platform for the construction, customization, and dissemination of open educational resources (OER) to reduce the burdens of unreasonable textbook costs to our students and society.

Impact & Scope

We are implementing a Community built OER resource/platform/portal that is Comprehensive and Curatable at multiple levels.

The LibreText project consists of 13 pseudo-independently operating and interconnected libraries that host close to 130,000 pages of content in specific fields with a past emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields, but recently expanding into other fields.

The guiding principle underlying our effort the construction of a “text-library” of interconnected content (rather than independent textbooks). This organization maps our educational goals in developing a synergy of content within students’ brains and provides a template in visualize how knowledge is interconnected.

  • Over 130,000 Pages of OER Content
  • 80 Million Pageviews/year
  • 400,000 Pageviews/day (peak)
  • 1 millennium of Confirmed Reading
  • 33% growth last academic year

Harvesting efforts over the past year include:

  • 75% through Opentextbook Library referratory
  • 80 through OpenSUNY repository
  • 90% through OpenOregon repository
  • Started unfettering the Lumen repository
  • Numerous other OER projects

Greater LibreVerse

The LibreTexts forms the core of the greater LibreVerse that integrates a growing set of interconnected technologies to empower the education of 21st century minds. The LibreVerse includes the Query homework system, the jupyter notebooks system, hypothesis annotation, the LibreMaps OER construction design system, the LibreForums for facilitated discussions.

  • Integrates advanced technologies for learning and assessment
    • Online Homework system (adaptive)
    • 3D capabilities oMultimedia including videos and simulations
    • Numerical calculations infrastructure
    • Student tracking and assessment
    • Integrated annotation infrastructure
  • Can be incorporated into learning management systems
  • Can be used by faculty with minimal computer expertise to quickly create custom OERs for their classes and students
  • Facilitates collaborative and distributed OER building
  • No additional IT burden, > 99.5% uptime

LibreNet Consortium

As part of the long-term sustainability plan for the project, we have introduced the LibreNet consortium.

  • Setting up library specific Campus hubs on all libraries.
  • Setting up a Campus Portal that acts as a customized central portal to the campus’s courses (over all libraries) with custom domains.
  • Priority access to the development team to aids in campus based harvesting efforts.
  • Priority access to the Assessment and Evaluation team. This team is building learning analytics based off of student engagement data and can run efficacy/research studies (with proper local IRB approval).
  • Training activities. This involves the “train-the-trainer” meetings and local guidance of local faculty adopters, adapters, and constructors.
  • Strategic Communication (PR) activities that include dissemination of LibreNet membership
  • Access to advanced features such as the QUERY homework system and jupyter Hub among others

The 5Rs of Open Educational Resources

Open Education Resources are often formulated by a set of permissions that are typically protected with (often Creative Commons) licensing and are referred to as the 5Rs.

Retain: The right to make, own, and control copies of the content

Many faculty make their own high-quality materials. Storing the materials on the LibreTexts is easy and free. It retains the materials for future use and allows it to be reused by others. Your materials reside within your institution’s branded course shell.

All IT is preserved within the LibreTexts platform, but course LibreTexts can be imported into your Learning Management System or stored on local filesystems.

Your content at your fingertips

Reuse: The right to use the content in a wide range of ways

Controlling your curriculum requires customizing your textbook to cover what you want and your students need.  Libretexts are built by incorporating content from an extensive (largest on the net and growing) network of textbooks extending across higher education that faculty can edit and enhance to meet their needs.

Unfettered Access

Revise: The right to adapt, adjust, modify, or alter the content itself

Too much OER content is “dead” meaning that it needs to be revised but it is stored in file formats that do not allow editing (such as pdfs). Bringing this content into LibreTexts revives it and allows it to be reused.

An unfettered Living Library Provides Unrestricted Customization

Remix: The right to combine the original or revised content with other material to create something new

The OER Remixer is a self-service tool to rapidly assemble a remix from existing sources.  A tutorial  includes both an explanation of the user Interface as well as a walkthrough of how to do basic tasks. Building a remixed textbook requires only minutes after drawing up a menu of what to include. Automatic renumbering of sections, equations and figures makes it simple to do even for beginners.

The OER Remixer provides Unparalleled Remixing Capability

Redistribute: The right to share copies of the original content, your revisions, or your remixes with others

Your content can be distributed via many different avenues

No limits! Electronic, physical, wifi, online & offline