Libraries Announce New Open Textbook: ‘Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies’

Miliann Kang
Miliann Kang

Thanks to a grant from the UMass Amherst Libraries’ Open Education Initiative (OEI) and the Libraries’ recent partnership with the Open Textbook Network and Rebus Community, faculty member Miliann Kang and doctoral student Sonny Nordmarken have created an updated version of Kang’s 2012 open textbook, “Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies,” just in time for the fall semester.

Since it was first published, this freely available e-book has been downloaded more than 10,000 times.

Since 2011, in an effort to address the rising cost of textbooks, the Libraries’ Scholarly Communication office has been offering instructors opportunities to replace expensive commercial textbooks with Open Educational Resources (OER)–high quality teaching materials that are openly licensed and free.

OEI offers incentive grants to faculty like Kang to adopt, adapt or create alternatives to high-cost texts. Library officials say the initiative, which has provided materials for more than 100 classes since 2012, has saved UMass Amherst students more than $1.7 million.

Using Pressbooks software, Kang and Nordmarken designed a downloadable textbook with dynamic content that was subsequently published by the Libraries with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license. The license allows anyone with internet access to use and download the book as-is, or to modify the text to suit their local context, i.e. to translate, create and publish their own version, as long as proper attribution is given to the original author. 

Kang is an associate professor in women, gender, sexuality studies and an advisor for diversity in the College of Humanities and Fine Arts. The earlier edition of the text was co-authored by former sociology graduate students Donovan Lessard and Laura Heston, Nordmaken, Lessard and Heston have completed the graduate certificate in advanced feminist studies,

The Pressbooks version “Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies”is available via the Open Textbook Library, or as a printable version via the university’s local institutional repository, Scholarworks.