Student Award

Matthew Barkovich, Henry Agnew and Ethan Turner

LibreTexts (United States)


The nomination for this award and the desire to recognize students, leads to a first time sharing an Individual award to three undergraduates who are successive generations of student developers critical in creating the technology that makes LibreTexts work.

When Delmar Larsen was building his first OER textbook in 2008 as an Open Pedagogy project, then undergraduate student Matthew Barkovich was instrumental in identifying better tools available to accomplish the job. Matt independently built the first stand-alone server and underlying wiki technology of the Chemwiki from which LibreTexts has grown. After graduating in 2009, he went to medical school and is currently an Assistant Professor of Neurology at UC San Francisco.

In 2016 Henry Agnew joined the LibreTexts team as Full Stack Developer and created the javascript modules that make LibreTexts interactive and powerful. These include the OER Remixer for creating custom textbooks, embedding of Jupyter modules and the automatic generation of all the online books to pdf versions which can be printed using LibreTexts’ online bookstore. Listen as Henry talks about some of the advanced features that he developed:

After graduating in 2020 Henry continued contributing to LibreTexts during the explosion of interest driven by the pandemic shutdown. He is now a graduate student at the University of California San Diego studying for a doctorate in Chemistry.

Ethan Turner, a computer science student at UC Davis succeeded Henry as Full Stack Developer at LibreTexts. Among his outstanding accomplishments are building the Commons & Conductor system for accessing the books and managing their development and curation (learn more) and building the ADAPT and H5P Studio online assessment applications. In Fall 2022, Ethan built LibreTexts Polyglot Engine and supervised the mass translation of thousands of OER books already in the LibreTexts libraries into Spanish and Ukrainian as well as more than 50 books into six other languages including Hindi and Chinese. Ethan graduated in Spring 2023 and continues to work on the LibreTexts project.

As students, Matt Barkovich, Henry Agnew, and Ethan Turner played major roles in developing OER technology that has advanced the mission of LibreTexts. Their development is all open-source and available from the LIbreTexts Github repository.

Winning this award would be a testimony to the proposition that students can (and do) play vital roles in the creation and maintenance of sustainable OER ecosystems. It would be a signal to those in the OER community of how involving students at all levels can produce and maintain the bleeding edge OER technology needed to move forward.

Award Nominator

About Student Award

This award honors the outstanding endeavors of a student who has advocated for or benefitted academically from the use of open educational resources (OER). The award is presented to the student whose achievements may inspire others to pursue degree programs that utilize open resources and/or someone who played a prominent role in advocating successfully for the promotion and advancement of OER and open education.

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