OER expert available to comment on Amazon Inspire relaunch


David Ruth

Open educational resources expert available to comment on Amazon Inspire relaunch

HOUSTON – (July 18, 2017) – Daniel Williamson, managing director of OpenStax, a Rice University-based publisher of open education resources (OER) and textbooks, is available to comment on the relaunch of Amazon Inspire.

Daniel WilliamsonIn June 2016, Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Inspire, an educational website that the company touted as “a new, free service to support learning and teaching in the digital classroom … to help teachers discover and share free, quality digital educational resources.”

Amazon Inspire features a search tool that teachers can use to explore educational resources, a gather function educators can use to curate resources and an upload function that allows teachers to share content, among other features.

A problem quickly arose last year when educators found the site offering materials that had copyright and intellectual property rights issues. Amazon quickly pulled the material and has been working with educators and groups the past year to vet material for the relaunch of the site.

“Commercial companies can be beneficial for the open educational resource landscape and have the ability to improve access to resources and improve discoverability,” Williamson said. “The challenge for Amazon Inspire and other commercial entities entering the space is ensuring fair and transparent licensing processes that help students and instructors.

“Open educational resources are more than free books. They present opportunities to enhance academic freedom, and they allow students permanent, unrestricted access to the materials they need most.

“From one OER provider to another, we’re excited to have another member in the open resources community, but believe that Amazon should take care to embrace all of the OER principals — including maintaining an open stance when it comes to contributing to the advancement of the educational community by sharing any research findings,” he said.

To arrange an interview with Williamson, contact David Ruth, director of national media relations at Rice, at 713-348-6327 or david@rice.edu.

Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio. ReadyCam is capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.


Image for download:

Daniel Williamson photo courtesy Jeff Fitlow/Rice University

Recent OpenStax news:

OpenStax launches personalized learning tool for college courses

OpenStax’s 2016 partner schools expected to save students $8.2M in coming year

OpenStax, OER Commons partner on community hubs

More than 1.5 million students have used OpenStax’s free textbooks

This news release can be found online at http://news.rice.edu/.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.
Follow OpenStax on Twitter @OpenStax

Located on a 300-acre forested campus in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation’s top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. Rice has highly respected schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and is home to the Baker Institute for Public Policy. With 3,879 undergraduates and 2,861 graduate students, Rice’s undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is 6-to-1. Its residential college system builds close-knit communities and lifelong friendships, just one reason why Rice is ranked No. 1 for happiest students and for lots of race/class interaction by the Princeton Review. Rice is also rated as a best value among private universities by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance. To read “What they’re saying about Rice,” go to http://tinyurl.com/RiceUniversityoverview.


About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.