Home | News & Events | Events | 2017 Events | 2017 NISO Virtual Conferences | April 19 - Opening Up Education

NISO Virtual Conference

Opening Up Education: Textbooks, Resources, Courseware & More 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
11:00 - 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Savings Time)

  • About the Conference
  • Agenda & Event Slides
  • Registration
    Can't make it on the conference day? Register now and gain access to the archive for one year.

System Requirements:

  • NISO has developed a quick tutorial, How to Participate in a NISO Web Event. Please view the recording, which is an overview of the web conferencing system and will help to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding participating in an online Webex event.
  • You will need a computer for the presentation and Q&A.
  • Audio is available through the computer (broadcast) and by telephone. We recommend you have a set-up for telephone audio as back-up even if you plan to use the broadcast audio as the voice over Internet isn't always 100% reliable.
  • Please check your system in advance to make sure it meets the Cisco WebEx requirements. It is your responsibility to ensure that your system is properly set up before each webinar begins. 

About the Virtual Conference

The 21st century educational environment demands a certain amount of re-thinking and re-design of classroom support for learning – textbooks, information resources, and interactive courseware. An emphasis on cost-containment and accessibility suggests that education will become more open. This virtual conference will address the complexities of delivering instructional tools and digital resources in the increasingly open educational ecosystem. What is a textbook? Can it be engineered into an online learning environment, with content, study aids and quizzes delivered as appropriate to a personalized student experience? What is the long-term role of Open CourseWare, as created by the likes of MIT or Yale? What does a growing interest in OER suggest for the various stakeholders? What types of technological support may be necessary?
Note: A NISO Training Thursday, Discovery and Assessment of Open Education Resources (OER), will be held on Thursday, April 27, as a follow-up to this event. Registrants for the virtual conference will automatically receive sign-on credentials for the 90-minute follow-on session, which will focus on the discovery and assessment of OER materials. The training features as speakers Will Cross of North Carolina State University, Cheryl Cuillier of the University of Arizona and Teri Oates Galloway of the LOUIS, the Louisiana Library Network.

Preliminary Agenda

11:00 a.m. – 11:10 a.m. – Introduction
Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO

11:10 a.m. - 11:45 a.m.  Opening Keynote: Open to Change: Situating OER in Global Higher Ed

Confirmed Speaker: Mary Lou Forward, Executive Director, Open Education Consortium


As more faculty and institutions embrace Open Educational Resources, questions arise about the effects of this for higher education. Are students more or less successful when OER are used? How are faculty viewing teaching and learning with open content? How are institutions making OER part of their everyday practice? Are policy makers taking notice? We will explore questions of impact of OER and Open Education en route to situating OER and open education in the context of global higher ed.

Mary Lou Forward is the Executive Director of the Open Education Consortium, an organization dedicated to the development of open education and its impact on higher education around the world. Among its activities, the Open Education Consortium supports the development of open educational projects and policies around the world; runs the annual Open Education Week, a world-wide week of events focused on open education; supports the creation of MOOCs using open content; runs the annual Open Education Global Conference; provides consulting and training in digital, online and open strategy; and maintains the international Directory of Open Education Professionals. Prior to joining the Open Education Consortium, Mary Lou served as the Dean of African studies, working with institutions across Africa for nearly two decades and a faculty member in African Studies with a focus on Environmental Studies and Sustainability.

11:45 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.  Lessons & Learnings from the Gates Foundation’s Investments in Open Education within US Higher Education
Confirmed Speaker: Rahim Rajan, Senior Program Officer, Gates Foundation


A brief overview of the extent and rationale for some of the Postsecondary Success’ strategy’s investments in open education in US higher education and some of the key learnings and lessons from these investments.

As Senior Program Officer in the Postsecondary Success strategy, U.S. Programs at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rahim leads and manages a diverse portfolio seeking to improve and scale high quality, personalized digital learning in US higher education. High quality digital learning can improve the quality of undergraduate teaching and instruction, improve efficiency, reduce costs for students, and amplify great instruction to help students succeed - particularly those students that face the most significant challenges at the undergraduate level.

12:15 p.m. - 12:45 p.m.  Creating and Assessing OER Materials
Confirmed Speaker: Julie Lang, OER Coordinator, Teaching and Learning with Technology, Penn State University


This session explores the process followed in working with faculty to adopt, adapt, and author OER Materials. Specific parts of the process that will be discussed in greater detail include OER's role in hybrid course design, methods of peer review for newly created content, and various ways to measure the impact of OER in higher education.

Julie Lang is the OER Coordinator with Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State University. Her professional interests include faculty development in adopting, adapting, and authoring open educational resources, content sharing best practices and strategies, and the advancement of Universal Design for Learning through the use of open content.

12:45 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.  Lunch

1:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.  Delivering Open Access Monographs
Confirmed Speaker: Rupert Gatti, Founder and Co-Director, Open Book Publishers

Open Access monographs attract a much larger and more diverse readership than non-OA publications, allowing top quality research to be accessed and engaged with by many more people than ever before. But Open Access publishing is much more than just providing a free pdf download option - it is also about enabling re-use and sharing of the content, and these properties are likely to be even more powerful and transformational than 'just' providing free access to read the content. Engaging with open technologies in the conception and design of the book enables entirely new methods of research to be explored, and entirely new distribution systems to develop. It is these new objects and objectives for monographs which are likely to be the most exciting and disruptive components of this new publishing process. In this session Rupert Gatti will draw on experiences at Open Book Publishers to look at some of the new processes and publications Open Access enables, how these are challenging existing conceptions and distribution systems for scholarly monographs, and emerging business models for the sustainability of these new publishing processes.

Rupert Gatti is a Fellow and Director of Studies in Economics at Trinity College, Cambridge. His is also a Director and co-founder of Open Book Publishers - an award winning Open Access publisher of monographs and textbooks. Founded as a non-profit by a group of Cambridge academics in 2008, OBP has now published over 90 new titles and received over 1 million online readers for all around the world. All OBP titles are rigorously peer-reviewed, published in a multitude of printed and digital formats, and distributed through both traditional and non-traditional channels. Authors are not required to pay to publish their works OA, and OBP has been at the forefront of developing an alternative business model to sustain OA publishing - including introducing a successful library membership program which has been adopted by over 100 university libraries globally.

2:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.  Delivering Open Courseware
Confirmed Speaker: Dr. David Wiley, Founder and Chief Academic Officer, Lumen Learning


Dr. David Wiley is Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning, an organization dedicated to increasing student success, reinvigorating pedagogy, and improving the affordability of education through the adoption of open educational resources by schools, community and state colleges, and universities. He is also currently the Education Fellow at Creative Commons and adjunct faculty in Brigham Young University's graduate program in Instructional Psychology and Technology, where he leads the Open Education Group (and was previously a tenured Associate Professor).

2:45 p.m.- 3:15 p.m. Open Textbook and Online Learning Materials
Confirmed Speaker: Nicole Allen, Director of Open Education, SPARC

Nicole Allen is the Director of Open Education for SPARC. In this role she leads SPARC’s work on the issue area of Open Education, with a dual focus on public policy and engaging the library community to advance this issue on campus.

Nicole graduated from the University of Puget Sound in 2006 with a Bachelors of Arts in Philosophy.

3:15 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.  Break

3:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.  Content Camp: A Collaborative Assessment Model from Ohio State
Confirmed Speaker: Ashley Miller, Educational Technologist, Ohio State University

Ohio State’s Affordable Learning Exchange has consistently seen access to publisher test banks as a common hurdle to adoption of open textbooks. This presentation will present a novel solution to leverage the intellectual, technical and instructional resources available through the Unizin consortium. Content Camp assembles instructors in various disciplines from the Unizin and Big 10 Alliance consortia to collaboratively author, review and share test banks for wide distribution. We will start with a brief overview of our ALX initiative, including project overviews and savings goals, then outline our Content Camp project, including the development of shared course objectives, question design and support and recruitment models, and will update attendees on our progress and next steps.

Ashley Miller is Program Manager for Affordability and Access with Ohio State's Office of Distance Education and eLearning. She heads up the Affordable Learning Exchange for ODEE and partners across the university to award grants to faculty who wish to move away from conventional textbooks in favor of low-cost and Open Educational Resources. She also facilitates Book Launch, a digital publishing initiative that works with faculty, staff and students across campus in cohorts to create interactive, mobile-ready texts for use in teaching, learning and research. She is passionate about transforming classroom learning experiences with technology and helping to make higher education more affordable for students at Ohio State and beyond.

4:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.  Challenges and Barriers to be Addressed
Confirmed Speaker: Melissa Russell, Director of Content Strategy, and Mike Matousek, Director of Content InitiativesCengage Learning


A recent Cengage study based on interviews with industry experts and a survey of over 500 participants showed that four percent of higher education instructors use OER as primary materials. Further, the data projects that the number of OER users may grow to as much as 12 percent over the next five years. There is no doubt the use of and interest in OER is growing but there are obstacles. Building and creating pedagogically sound courses is challenging and there are ways institutions and educational technology companies can work together to provide students with quality learning experiences that are accessible and affordable.

Melissa Russell is Director of Content Strategy at Cengage Learning. Mike Matousek is Director of Content Initiatives at Cengage Learning. Cengage is the education and technology company built for learners. The company serves the higher education, K-12, professional, library and workforce training markets worldwide. Cengage creates learning experiences that build confidence and momentum toward the future students want. The company is headquartered in Boston, MA with an office hub in San Francisco. Employees reside in nearly 40 countries with sales in more than 125 countries around the world.

* * * * * * * * *

4:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. Roundtable Discussion 
Moderated by: Todd Carpenter, Executive Director, NISO


SAVE! Register for multiple events.

If paying by credit card, register online.

If paying by check, please use this PDF form.

Registration closes on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.

2017 Registration Costs

  • NISO LSA & Voting Members; NASIG Members 
    • $190.00 (US and Canada)
    • $230.00 (International)
  • Non-Member
    • $255.00 (US and Canada)
    • $295.00 (International)
  • Student
    • $85.00

Additional Information

  • Cancellations made by Wednesday, April 12, 2017 will receive a refund, less a $35 cancellation. After that date, there are no refunds.
  • Registrants will receive detailed instructions about accessing the virtual conference via e-mail the Friday prior to the event. (Anyone registering between Monday and the close of registration will receive the message shortly after the registration is received, within normal business hours.) Due to the widespread use of spam blockers, filters, out of office messages, etc., it is your responsibility to contact the NISO office if you do not receive login instructions before the start of the webinar.
  • If you have not received your Login Instruction e-mail by 10 a.m. (ET) on the Tuesday before the virtual conference, please contact the NISO office at nisohq@niso.org for immediate assistance.
  • Registration is per site (access for one computer) and includes access to the online recorded archive of the conference. You may have as many people as you like from the registrant's organization view the conference from that one connection. If you need additional connections, you will need to enter a separate registration for each connection needed.
  • If you are registering someone else from your organization, either use that person's e-mail address when registering or contact nisohq@niso.org to provide alternate contact information.
  • Conference presentation slides and Q&A will be posted to this event webpage following the live conference.
  • Registrants will receive an e-mail message containing access information to the archived conference recording within 48 hours after the event. This recording access is only to be used by the registrant's organization.