WBA: The OER Highlighted at the National Council on Public History Annual Conference

October 12, 2022

In May, Director of Online Programs Peter Mabli presented Who Built America: The OER––ASHP/CML’s upcoming free and publicly-accessible version of the WBA textbook with interactive charts and content from History Matters––at the National Council of Public History’s Annual Conference. His presentation was part of an online roundtable discussion among public historians who have created open educational resources, digital monographs and edited collections, and other digital publications. Other participants included representatives from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media, the Smithsonian, and the Universities of Maryland and Cincinnati.

The discussants outlined reasons for publishing open access resources digitally and provided unvarnished reflections on their processes of development. Major issues addressed in the roundtable included the benefits of OERs in post-COVID remote learning formats, accessibility and audience considerations, and maintenance of online content. Peter discussed lessons learned from ASHP/CML’s ongoing work to produce WBA: The OER, including the need to program a structured backend database with a simplified administrator interface in order to handle the project’s multiple types of materials and present them consistently and effectively to users.

The roundtable was well received by both participants and the online audience and shed light on each organization’s project as well as the benefits and challenges of publishing online.