Looking Back; Looking Forward

2017 has been a big year for our team and all the incredible projects and collaborators we’re lucky enough to work with. This was Rebus’ first full year working hands-on with pilot projects, and we’ve learned a lot about what goes into publishing open textbooks. In particular, we’ve discovered that there’s a lot of work that happens day-to-day that doesn’t always get shared here in our newsletter, or in other public-facing channels. We thought we’d take this chance to share with you a recap of all our ongoing projects, so you can see what’s been happening even when we’re not asking you to join in!

  • Accessibility Working GroupEarlier in the year, we convened this group and invited a handful of experts to review one of our books in order to take stock and guide the development of a comprehensive strategy for ensuring all books support by the Rebus Community meet accessibility best practices. The draft strategy has been out for comments, and we’ll be releasing a revised version in January.
  • Antología Abierta de Literatura Hispánica – Eight instructors (including one teaching an AP Spanish class!) have been working with their students all semester to create new entries in the Anthology, following lead editor Julie Ward’s assignment structure. Once they’re submitted & formatted, we’ll announce the second edition!
  • Blueprint for Success in College & Career Series – We’re just wrapping up the review process for these three texts, created by Dave Dillon from new and existing resources, and they’ll be heading into his classroom in January. He’ll soon be incorporating both student and reviewer feedback, working toward a summer release.
  • Digital Citizenship Toolkit – Led by authors at Ryerson University, with others as far flung as Cairo and Christchurch, the last chapters of this toolkit will be completed by the end of January and we’re just kicking off the review process.
  • Financial Strategy for Public Managers – As announced a few weeks ago, this text has been released and is ready for adoptions in 2018! We’ll also be sharing some reflections on what we learned from the process in the new year. And if you haven’t done so already, you can read the book online, or download it in other formats.
  • Guide to Making Open Textbooks with StudentsThis collection of case studies, advice, resources, and ideas for working with students on creating OER has had a wonderful response and we’ll soon be getting our hands on some print copies, so keep an eye out at conferences next year! Take a look at the digital book here.
  • History of Applied Science & Technology – This wide-ranging text has been gradually gathering authors from all over the world. We’ll be looking to finalize and release Volume I by mid-next year.
  • Human Geography – With our last contributor joining recently, the authors will be kicking into writing mode in January and February, working toward classroom beta testing in Fall 2018.
  • Introduction to North American Archaeology – With a big team assembled, lead editor Katie Kirakosian is aiming to collect chapter drafts early next year and work through the editing and review phases by the Fall semester.
  • Introduction to Philosophy – Our most experimental project has been booming, with almost 20 new authors joining in the last few weeks. The first few parts should be ready for review by mid-year, with the others following soon after.
  • Literature Reviews for Education & Nursing Students – Our most recent release, this text from Linda Frederiksen and Sue F. Phelps is just out the door! Next steps will likely include making it available in print and soliciting feedback from instructors and students using the book in their classes.
  • Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship – The fourth release on this list, MI+E has been a huge community effort to bring together, and taught us a lot of good lessons that we’re already sharing with other projects. We’ll continue marketing it for adoption into the new year, and the second edition will soon be underway.
  • Media, Society, Culture, and You – A newcomer to the Rebus family, lead author Mark Poepsel is currently working on reformatting this book from iBooks to Pressbooks to make it available in more formats, and we’ll be helping to coordinate the review process.
  • Northern & Indigenous Health and Healthcare – Another recent addition, the project has gathered nearly 50 contributors who will be submitting abstracts for their sections in the next few weeks, with full chapters to follow. The team are also in the early stages of defining what a review process inclusive of expert indigenous and community perspectives should look like.
  • Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature – We’ve added dozens of new entries to this anthology this year, and lead editor Tim Robbins will be sharing the progress at the MLA conference in early January. Another call for contributions will follow soon after, and we’re targeting an official release in Summer 2018.
  • Peer Review Working GroupsKnowing that peer review is critical to the success of open textbooks, we set out to convene a handful of small groups to consider things like different kinds of review, recognition for reviewers, how to indicate the review status of a text and more. This initiative has fallen quiet in recent months, due to the demands of other projects, but we’re keen to get it back up and running next year.
  • Science of Human Nutrition – Having completed the peer review process earlier in the year, this text will be rolled out in the classroom at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa in the Spring semester. In tandem, one of UH’s librarians will be monitoring student responses and performance as part of a research project.
  • Sight Reading for Guitar Performance – This unique book has been stretching our formatting muscles for the past few months, but we’re excited to now be launching the review process. Combining video, audio, images, and scores, it’s great fun making it work as a multi-format text!
  • Social Psychology Ancillary Materials – The team of collaborators on this project managed to create a nearly complete set of slides to be used alongside the 1st International Edition of Principles of Social Psychology, currently adopted by several universities around Canada and the United States. We will be looking to complete the set and create even more ancillary materials next year.

The progress we’ve made on these 17 projects and two working groups has only been possible due to the incredible dedication of their project leads and the (collectively) hundreds of volunteers who have so generously given their time and expertise to the cause. We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed, from writing a chapter right through to retweeting a call for contributors! We can’t wait to continue working with you through 2018 and beyond.

Looking ahead to next year, we’ll be continuing to support these projects, and also start sharing some of the tools and resources that we’ve been developing. We’re also hoping to grow our team, so we can dedicate more time to those resources we know will benefit many of you. We’re as committed as ever to our goal of creating a new, collaborative model for open textbook publishing that can help all those working to create open textbooks and change the face of education worldwide.

Thank you once again, and we wish you all a very relaxing holiday break.

All the best,

The Rebus Team (Zoe, Liz, Apurva, Hugh, Boris & Baldur)

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