Open Textbooks for Africa Logo, by: Kelsey Wiens, CC BY 4.0
This is a guest blog post written by Kelsey Wiens, founder of Open Textbooks for Africa and public lead for Creative Commons South Africa. On March 11-12, 45 experts from around the world and across South Africa met to discuss opportunities for Open Textbooks in Africa. The goal of the event was to support the adoption and adaption of currently available open textbooks, as well as build and design a South African focused open textbook.
The first Open Textbook Summit in Africa was hosted in Cape Town on March 11-12 by Open Textbooks for Africa (OT4A). This two-day event bought together 45 local University lecturers, open education practitioners, and open textbooks experts from around the world. OT4A is a pilot project designed to support the adoption and adaption of currently available open textbooks as well as build and design our own textbooks to showcase African knowledge to the world.
Day one included a panel discussion and debate on the challenges of open textbooks in the South African context. Day two was a workshop to develop an astronomy open textbook with a global south perspective. Textbooks currently used by the Astronomy department at the University of Cape Town feature the sky from the northern hemisphere (i.e., upside down). The working group for the open Astronomy textbook has met twice since the workshop, established a work plan, and is anticipating a classroom usable draft by the end of 2016 – for use in the first term of 2017.
The physics group, also based out of the University of Cape Town, is adapting an OpenStax (CC BY licensed) open textbook. They have listed the OpenStax Physics open textbook as a “recommended book” in the second semester of 2016; aiming for full adoption in classrooms in 2017. This shift will save over 180,000 South African Rands to 150 first year students in first year (equivalent to US$11,860) at one institution over one academic year. Additional meetings are planned with University of Witwatersrand, University of Western Cape & TSiBA to promote open textbooks.
For more details and to inquire about how your university can use open textbooks, please contact OT4A at: https://ot4a.org