The Direction of Research for Open Source Textbooks with Debshila Basu Mallick, OpenStax

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My guest for today is Debshila Basu Mallick, Director of Research for OpenStax. Debshila has a background in experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience, with a PhD from Rice. She’s been with OpenStax since 2015. Fun fact: She started in OpenStax as an intern.

In this ‘analytical’ conversation, Debshila and I discuss

ℹ Her research background and how that work has helped develop her current practice at OpenStax, the largest provider of open source textbooks in the world

⁉ We ponder the question, “why wouldn’t someone use an open source textbook?” in opposition to one they have to pay for, and how much of this decision is just simple culture change

3️⃣ Why is research important to OpenStax, and how they focus on the three questions: Who is the learner? What are they learning? How are they learning?

📄 Debshila walks us through one current piece of research around highlighting and learning. Yes, literally highlighting text on a page! And how a learner uses it, and how it varies across subject matter

🌚 The challenges that she faces as the Director of Research for a grant-funded organization; and how their new initiative, called Kinetic, is a powerful new tool for her and her team to improve learning outcomes


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