Session 18A | Virtues of Open Beyond Cost: Collaborative, Community-Driven, Locally-Focused




Jacobs, Brian
Smith, Nathan
Swift, Symphonie

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In addition to presenting the “virtues of open,” two authors of the project will demonstrate the customization tools that facilitate the collaborative and community-driven nature of the new panOpen Texas Government text project and the text-specific features: real-world examples from social media, videos, and several types of auto-graded assessments, including short critical thinking prompts and end of chapter quizzes.


Speaker(s): Brian Jacobs, CEO at panOpen, panOpen Brian Jacobs is an education entrepreneur who has focused his efforts on making instructional content more accessible and pedagogically valuable for students, faculty, and academic institutions. During his time as both a student and professor of political philosophy at Cornell University, Brian saw first-hand how the high costs and dated nature of conventional textbooks adversely affect classroom learning. In 1999, Brian launched his first company, Akademos, a web-based company that focuses on new models of distributing physical and digital course materials. After leading Akademos for more than 12 years, Brian left his operating role to found panOpen. Previously, Brian was Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Government and Visiting Fellow at the Institute for German Cultural Studies, both at Cornell University. He received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, University of Goettingen, and Yale University. He is currently a mentor in the StartEd EdTech Accelerator housed at the NYU Edtech Incubator. Brian earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in English and political science at the State University of New York at Albany, and a doctorate in political philosophy and social theory at Cornell University. Nathan Smith, OER Coordinator, Houston Community College Nathan Smith is the OER Coordinator at Houston Community College, where he formerly chaired the Philosophy, Humanities, and Library Sciences Department. A leader in the OER space, Nathan has given many presentations on the Z-Degree program that spearheaded in 2017 to bring zero textbook cost degrees to Houston Community College. Symphonie Swift, OpenStax, Rice University Moderated by: Michelle Hernandez-Perez, Assistant Director of Assessment, University of Houston-Downtown View recording