CANYON, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) — A West Texas A&M University librarian will help university faculty members provide more affordable options for student textbooks and class resources.
Taylor Fairweather-Leitch, a scholarly communications librarian at WT’s Cornette Library, was recently named a Texas Digital Library OER Ambassador. She joins librarians from Texas A&M University, Texas A&M University — Corpus Christi, Texas Tech University, Texas Woman’s University, the University of Texas and University of Texas at San Antonio.
OER, or Open Educational Resources, are alternative options for course materials and textbooks that have open licenses from Creative Commons or are in the public domain.
Faculty members can modify materials that have an open license to better fit their curriculum, and the material would be available to students for no charge.
Public domain material is not subject to copyright or trademark laws, either because the author has waived those rights or because the copyrights have expired.
“OER and open access are game changers in higher education,” Fairweather-Leitch said. “Unfortunately, there are not open options available for every course yet, but we encourage faculty to use open material whenever possible.
“You often see students opting out of purchasing a textbook or required reading material because of the costs involved,” she continued. “Students are juggling a lot of expenses like rent, groceries and gas. So if there is a way to lower the student’s overall cost, even by a little, it can go a long way for student success and satisfaction.”
As an OER ambassador, Fairweather-Leitch will help faculty research open options for their class, including books from Open Textbook Library, public domain options and materials that are licensed for modifications through Creative Commons.
“Taylor went through a competitive process to be named an OER ambassador, and we are extremely proud that she was chosen,” said Kelly M. Hoppe, Cornette Library’s head of outreach and instruction. “In this position, Taylor will be able to have a great impact on both students and faculty members.”