I wish to thank my supervisor Dr. Rory McGreal, Professor and Director of TEKRI – Centre for Distance Education for insights and support. I appreciate the feedback in the development of my study from Dr. Nathaniel Ostashewski (Internal Committee Member), Dr. Mark McCutcheon (External Committee Member), and Dr. Oscar Lin (External Examiner). I wish to express my gratitude to Dr. Paul Prinsloo (External Examiner) for analyses that contributed to improvements in this document.

This dissertation is for my parents, Phyllis and Stanley Swettenham and my wife Fabienne, who have provided support and immense understanding towards my online learning journey in the distance education programme, including the online course conferences at 02:00 in the mornings.

I want to recognize my many sponsors, both external and internal to Athabasca University, who have supported my life-long learning and this research project, in partial fulfillment of the Doctor of Education in the Distance Education programme within the Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (formerly the Centre for Distance Education), Faculty of Humanities and Social Science.

I wish to thank Elisabeth Dardenne for German-to-English language translation assistance of OER policy documents and Kim Greyson for the English language review of my research executive summary. Additionally, I appreciate the extensive improvements of the free and open Voyant Tools application by Andrew MacDonald, and related open online resources by Stéfan Sinclair and Geoffrey Rockwell. Additionally, other free and open source software (FOSS), such as Carrot2, LibreOffice, and Zotero, were essential to my research project.

My dedicated OER policy study was inspired by the first Pressbooks open etextbook site in Alberta to support the Creative Clinical Teaching in the Health Professions (Melrose et al., 2015), for a course in the Faculty of Health Disciplines at Athabasca University. The subsequent authoring synergies of Dr. Sandra Collins, Professor in the Faculty of Health Disciplines, and student Mateo Huezo MC created exemplary scholarly open etextbooks publishing initiatives for Athabasca University students and educators. Furthermore, Tony Mishra and Lawrence Poon, Learning Technology Team from the Faculty of Health Disciplines, provided the foundational computing support in 2015 for hosting the first Pressbooks open etextbook publishing service in Alberta post-secondary education at the website.

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