Our approach to systemic racism in Open Education

“The events of this year and the killings of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd have impacted many of us in deeply personal ways. As a Black woman, I often wonder how to show up as my authentic self and use what power I have to undo systemic racism. At the Hewlett Foundation, I do not feel alone in this work. With a renewed focus on racial equity, the foundation has been taking steps to address systemic racism. This includes looking back at all of our grantmaking strategies to ensure that our investments address root causes of racial injustice. Through this process, we’ve recognized that there is more we can be doing, particularly through our work in open education.

Our Open Education strategy is about the vision that every learner should have access to the knowledge and information that they need to learn. Open education goes beyond a focus on resources and includes practices, policies, and research to create meaningful and inclusive educational experiences for learners. Nearly two decades of work in this space have made it clear that access alone is not a guarantor of racial equity for learners. Instead, learners should be supported and encouraged as sensemakers and creators of their identities and their communities….”

OpenStax to vastly expand open education library with support from national foundations

“OpenStax, Rice’s educational technology initiative, is vastly expanding its library of free textbooks, working toward a goal of ensuring that no student ever has to worry about textbook costs again. This work is possible as a result of new grants totaling $12.5 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Charles Koch Foundation and the Stand Together community….”

REBUS Foundation

“Books and textbooks are central tools in our intellectual lives. While they are no longer alone in our media landscape, books maintain their critical place in our culture as the documentation of human knowledge and experience.

The Rebus Foundation builds new models and technology for open book publishing and reading on the web, to encourage deeper engagement, and to enable people (and machines) to use and build on books and reading in new and meaningful ways….

Our first focus is on Open Textbooks*. In partnership with universities, professors, students, and related institutions, we are developing an open and collaborative model for publishing Open Textbooks. We want to make it easier to publish great Open Textbooks.

In parallel with our work on Open Textbooks, we are members of the W3C, where we are helping develop a new vision for books that are native to the web. We want to help combine the older tradition of portable, bounded books with the pervasive accessibility, addressability, and interconnectedness of the Open Web. Our first focus in this area will be on scholarly deep reading….

We believe we can move this vision forward by helping to build a web-based ecosystem of people, tools, services, and standards that together help usher in a new vision for open textbooks, books, and reading….”