Open Education Network Launches Manifold Pilot

Published on April 11th, 2022

Estimated reading time for this article: 3 minutes.

The Open Education Network (OEN) has launched its Manifold Pilot, welcoming more than a dozen institutions and organizations to experiment with Manifold, a web publishing platform, for a variety of open educational publishing practices. The pilot group will share what they learn with the broader OEN community, and make recommendations as to whether the OEN offers Manifold for community use in the future. 

Manifold award

The OEN was selected as one of six organizations to join the Manifold community in 2022 with a grant-funded support package, thanks to generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The OEN will receive one year of managed hosting, training and support. 

The OEN has committed to providing an additional year of Manifold access. The 2-year pilot will run through March 2024, providing participants with an extended opportunity to work on a range of creative open education publishing, pedagogy and curation projects to meet the local needs of their communities. 

Pilot participants 

The OEN received a robust response to its call for applications, and is eager to explore Manifold with librarians, faculty, and scholars at these U.S. and Canadian institutions and organizations:
  • American Indian Higher Education Consortium
  • Butler County Community College 
  • Colorado State University-Pueblo
  • Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois
  • Eastern Kentucky University
  • Kwantlen Polytechnic University 
  • Open Education Network
  • Open Oregon Educational Resources 
  • Oregon State University 
  • Texas Tech University
  • The Center for Black, Brown, and Queer Studies
  • University at Buffalo Libraries
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Hawai‘i Community Colleges
  • University of Kansas 
  • University of Northern Iowa
  • University of Southern Maine

Multiple pathways

“The OEN’s mission is to work together to make higher education more equitable,” said Karen Lauritsen, OEN’s publishing director. “One of our strategies for doing that is by offering multiple pathways for our diverse membership to create and sustain open educational practices that meet their local needs.” 

The group started with training, “Starting Points: Scoping Out Projects and Expectations” on April 7. All sessions are led by Terence Smyre, Manifold digital projects editor at the University of Minnesota Press, and Robin Miller, open educational technology specialist at City University of New York.

Sustainable solutions

“As a small regional comprehensive university and a Hispanic-serving institution, Colorado State University-Pueblo has to be very strategic about open educational practices,” notes Alegría Ribadeneira, pilot participant and director of CSU-Pueblo’s World Languages Program. “What keeps me up at night is sustainability and stewardship of the products that faculty and students are creating. As a small institution with mostly soft money dedicated to OER, it is uncertain that we can sustain paying for expensive platform subscriptions. Manifold could be a solution for sustainability and stewardship.”

Sharing with the community

As each team works on their own project to advance open educational publishing practices, participants will not only develop Manifold experience, they will also develop potential solutions to open education challenges. Urooj Nizami, KPU Open Education Strategist at Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) hopes their participation in the OEN Manifold pilot will help them address a perennial dilemma that faces many institutions. 
“We lack the infrastructure to host a diverse set of openly licensed artefacts that is organized, searchable, taggable, filterable, sortable, and hosted in a single, discoverable location,” observed Urooj. “To advance and embody openness, our project hopes to harness Manifold’s capacities toward creating a sharable and organized repository of our open education outputs in a legible and useful way with our community.”

High hopes

Alegría Ribadeneira is looking forward to assessing Manifold’s potential to facilitate two major zero textbook cost projects: a Spanish undergraduate degree and a master’s degree in social work. “I believe the easier we make it for faculty and students to create projects, the more successful we will become at reaching open education goals at our institution,” concludes Alegría. “My hopes are high!”

Questions related to the OEN Manifold pilot can be sent to Karen Lauritsen, OEN publishing director.

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