Month: June 2018

Announcing 10 new OER publishing projects in Rebus Projects!

Our first round of projects have been added to Rebus Community’s beta – a huge welcome to them all! Keep reading to learn more about the beta projects in our new platform, or head directly to Rebus Projects to participate.

Just over a month ago, we introduced Rebus Projects, our new web-based software for managing open textbook/OER publishing projects, and invited the community to apply to be part of the beta. We received a number of applications from people working on open textbooks or other OER around the world, and are thrilled to reveal the first round of projects to join the platform!

These projects range across disciplines and are in varying stages of the publishing process, with some just starting out, some expanding existing texts and others ready for peer review. But what they all have in common is a dedicated project lead (or several!) and a commitment to producing high quality, openly licensed resources in their fields.

We’re really excited to see how each project shapes up and look forward to supporting them along the way. In addition, we’ll continue to build lessons from their experiences into our development process and into public resources and documentation that we’ll be releasing over the coming months (watch this space!).

Keep reading to learn more about each project in their own words, and how you can get involved.

First Year Seminar Readings (Lead: Cathie LeBlanc, Plymouth State University)

This set of readings was created for the required First Year Seminar for students at Plymouth State University but the readings have broad appeal for first year college students at other institutions. The topics covered include the importance of general education, habits of mind to be fostered during college, working on wicked problems, the design thinking process for project development, the value of interdisciplinarity, and information literacy in a digital world.

Research Methods in Psychology: 3rd American Edition (Lead: Carrie Cutler, Washington State University)

We are currently seeking peer reviewers for our book Research Methods in Psychology: 3rd American Edition. The book is written for an undergraduate audience but has also been successfully used in graduate-level courses. It includes introductory chapters that introduce the science of psychology, review the steps of the scientific method, discuss research ethics, and describe various measurement concepts (e.g., reliability, validity, operational definitions). With this foundation in place the book progresses to experimental designs, non-experimental designs (correlational and observational research), survey research, quasi-experimental designs, factorial designs, and single-subject designs. For each class of research, various designs are presented along with the strengths and limitations of each and practical considerations are discussed. The book concludes with chapters on presenting research, descriptive statistics, and inferential statistics. While we consider this to be a fairly mature OER (now in its 3rd edition with contributions from several experts in the field) we are hoping to get outside feedback to further improve the book. We also want to call attention to this new edition for people seeking an open textbook for their research methods courses.

Multisensory Math for Adult Learners (Lead: Susan Jones, Parkland College)

I want to create materials and community applying Universal Design for Learning principles to open the doors of mathematics to adult learners for whom learning math is a significant barrier in their lives and/or careers.

I think the OER community can create and disseminate interactive, multisensory OER to open doors of opportunity, whether for evolving “career certificates” or already established adult education credentials. Whether using manipulatives (especially in rural areas or correctional institutions where internet access is limited) or interactive OER at sites such as , there is much untapped potential for reaching the cognitively diverse adult basic education community.

I’d like to create a small module with UDL elements which will mean having several options for representation and expression because learners will have different strengths from which to build.

I’ll need technical help designing accessible online activities and collaboration from other teachers, especially those working with students with disabilities.   Most importantly, I’ll need help managing the project and getting it beyond my one-student-at-a-time perspective and out to a larger scale.

Boosting Evolutionary Game Theory with Computer Simulation! (Lead: Luis R. Izquierdo, Universidad de Burgos)

Evolutionary Game Theory is a fascinating discipline that studies the evolution of populations of individuals whose decisions are interdependent (i.e. situations where the outcome of the interaction for any individual generally depends not only on her own choices, but also on the choices made by every other individual). The discipline has countless applications that range from network routing to resource management, passing through evolutionary biology and international relations, to mention only a few.

We believe that Evolutionary Game Theory can benefit a lot from using both mathematical analysis and computer simulation, and we have started writing a book to show how these two approaches can be employed synergistically. The title of our book is “Agent-based Evolutionary Game Dynamics”, and it is meant to be a guide to implement and analyze Agent-Based Models within the framework of Evolutionary Game Theory, using NetLogo.

The first chapters of the book are available to view. We are very interested in comments, critiques and suggestions from anyone. If you are not an expert in Evolutionary Game Theory and in computer programming, that’s perfect, since this book is written for you, so we would love to hear your comments!

LGBTQ+ Studies: a primer (Leads: Allison Brown and Deb Amory, State University of New York)

LGBTQ+ Studies: a primer will be an introductory level OER LGBTQ+ Studies text. The few textbooks in this area tend to lack a social science perspective, focusing instead on the humanities and the arts. This project will address contemporary LGBTQ social issues from the perspective of the social sciences — sociology, anthropology, political science, psychology, and the human services. In addition to the main text, the goal of the project is to create OER video introductions to key theorists and their work in LGBTQ studies.

Core 8 Early Childhood Courses (Leads: Amanda Taintor, Reedley College and Jennifer Paris, College of the Canyons)

The California Community Colleges Curriculum Alignment Project (CAP) developed a 24 unit lower-division program of study supporting early care and education teacher preparation. Eight courses create the foundational core for all early care and education professionals at both the 2 and 4 year levels. Currently very little OER materials exist in the Early Childhood Education field of study despite the growing need for early childhood educators from birth – 3rd grade. This project hopes to gather discipline experts to contribute to concepts directly related to the 8 courses listed below. The Early Childhood Education courses of study span a vast realm of discipline expertise. Through the Rebus Projects platform it is our goal to gather experts in specific concepts to write and contribute to complete OER books.

  1. Child Growth and Development
  2. Child, Family and Community
  3. Introduction to Curriculum
  4. Principles and Practices of Teaching Young Children
  5. Observation and Assessment
  6. Health, Safety and Nutrition
  7. Teaching in a Diverse Society
  8. Practicum

Marking OER Courses: Best Practices and Case Studies (Lead: Michelle Reed, University of Texas, Arlington)

Marking OER Courses: Best Practices and Case Studies will expand the “Texas Toolkit for OER Course Markings” to help higher education institutions implement course marking solutions for open or affordable educational resources. Our goal is to create a practical guide that summarizes relevant state legislation, provides tips for working with stakeholders, analyzes technological considerations, and more!  The editors are currently seeking case studies and stakeholder stories from individuals at institutions that have implemented such markings or are in the process of doing so. We’re also seeking section leaders to work closely with the editors to develop each chapter outlined on our project site.

Music Theory Tutorial (Lead: Allison Brown and Andre Mount, State University of New York)

Music Theory Tutorial was originally designed as an online remedial program to be used by incoming transfer students to the University of California, Santa Barbara Music Department. In its current state, the textbook consists of twenty-eight modular chapters with exercises and end-of-chapter tests. The book begins with rudimentary lessons on material typically covered at the beginning of an undergraduate music majors’ first semester of theory (notation, rhythm, meter, scales, etc.) and concludes with concepts commonly found in third-semester courses (chromatic harmony, harmonic function, etc.). Despite its intended purpose, the breadth of content covered therein makes this book suitable for use as the primary textbook for first-, second-, and third-semester music theory courses in a wide range of music departments, schools, and conservatories. It could also be used in introductory classes for non-majors or by individuals outside of traditional music programs for self-paced study.

The text is more or less complete at this stage but there is room for improvement. I am seeking input from peer-reviewers on two fronts. First, several of the chapters use a somewhat esoteric approach in their presentation of the material. It would be beneficial to know whether or not members of the music theory community feel that these chapters should be modified at all to make the book more widely useful. Second, although the modular nature of the text is one of its strengths, feedback regarding the sequencing of chapters and the cohesiveness of the text as a whole would likewise be very helpful

Programming Fundamentals – A Modular Structured Approach, 2nd Edition (Lead: Dave Braunschweig, Harper College)

If you teach an introductory programming course in any programming language, your contributions are needed to make this free textbook as widely inclusive, accessible, and available as possible!

The original content for this book was written specifically for a course based on C++. The goal for this second edition is to make it programming-language neutral, so that it may serve as an introductory programming textbook for students using any of a variety of programming languages, including C++, C#, Java, JavaScript, Python, and others.

Programming concepts are introduced generically, with logic demonstrated in pseudocode and flowchart form, followed by examples for different programming languages. Emphasis is placed on a modular, structured approach that supports reuse, maintenance, and self-documenting code.

We are seeking contributors and peer reviewers for all programming languages. Learn more and join us on the project site!

Professional Development for Language Education through Collaborative Open Learning (Leads: Naomi Wahls and Dr. Chrissi Nerantzi, UNESCO mentors)

Connecting professionals for professional development has become a major need in current education environments. Open Education Practices (OEP) offer an alternative to engage in intercultural collaboration among teachers worldwide as well as sharing best practices and concerns. This book edition aims to collect research and theoretical informed practices in virtual exchange, virtual mobility, bilingual education, collaborative open learning, and technology for language learning and teaching.

This open book will feature topics below focused on developing countries or rural areas including the following: This is a second phase of the Open Education for a Better World Project in Uzbekistan in collaboration with the University of Nova Gorica.

The team is first seeking contributions focused on the theory of language education and teaching, and a second call will take place to localize the theory from the first call through case studies using the theories creating local editions to Uzbekistan and Mexico.

Thanks to all of these projects for their enthusiasm and willingness to be a part of the Rebus beta. If you’d like to join the projects, volunteer for an activity, or simply remain updated on their progress, head over to Rebus Projects and see what they’re up to.

If you’re currently working on a project of your own, and would like to use the Rebus Projects platform, you can submit an application to join our second round of beta projects! We expect to be reviewing new applications in early July.

Rebus Projects v1.1 Changelog

As promised, since the first release if Rebus Projects in mid-May, we’ve been continuing to work hard on it and it’s time for an update! Listed here are the new features and other changes that will be released this week. We’ll be sharing these changelogs with every new release so you can keep track of progress. And, as always, we welcome your questionsbug reports, feedback, and any great ideas you have for what we should add in future.

New Features

  • A completely new project admin interface, including:
    • A single editing UI for all of a project’s Activities, Discussions, Resources, and metadata
    • Autosave while editing
    • A new team management interface with autocomplete search of all registered users
  • New public/private mechanism for both activities and projects that lets you edit a ‘draft’ project before publishing
  • Project Language and Book Language metadata with autocomplete support for searching the native and English names of over 213 languages (other languages supported via language codes).

Other smaller changes:

  • Simplified project and activity creation
  • More reliable comments form
  • Improvements to the profile creation flow
  • UX improvements to the outline editor
  • A bunch of other bug fixes!

Blueprint for Success Open Textbooks: Now Available for Adoption!

Blueprint for Success in College and Career is a student’s guide for classroom and career success. Curated, co-authored, and edited by Dave Dillon, this set of OER is helpful for students embarking on their college journey. Take a look at the book online, download it in multiple formats, or keep reading to learn more!

Rebus Community is very pleased to announce that the Blueprint for Success series is now available for adoption and use in classrooms! The series comprises three books for the College Success and FYE (First-Year Experience) genre. The central text, Blueprint for Success in College and Career, is designed to show how to be successful in college and in career preparation, and focuses on study skills, time management, career exploration, health, and financial literacy. In addition, targeted sections on Study Skills and Time Management, and Career and Decision Making are available separately as Blueprint for Success in College: Indispensable Study Skills and Time Management Strategies, and Blueprint for Success in Career Decision Making.

Blueprint for Success in College and Career CoverEach book has been carefully curated, co-authored, and edited by Dave Dillon and peer-reviewed by subject experts at institutions across North America. The books are available in multiple formats including web, PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and editable formats such as XHTML, WXR, XML, and ODT. The series contains adapted sections from Foundations of Academic Success, A Different Road to College: A Guide for Transitioning Non-traditional Students, How to Learn Like a Pro!, and College Success, and covers a range of topics including college level critical thinking and reading, test taking strategies, health, finances and resources, social interaction and diversity, and more.

If you’re interested in adopting the series, or books in the series, please let us know on the project homepage!

Dave began working on this book as early as 2009, as his work as a counsellor and instructor showed a clear need for a comprehensive set of resources to help students in their college journey. He explains, “Many students do not learn how to study effectively and efficiently or how to manage their time. Others aren’t certain what to choose for their major or their career. And some are lost trying to navigate through the maze and culture of college, often balancing their school workload while working and taking care of family responsibilities. Students are sometimes unsuccessful when they begin college—not for lack of motivation or hard work, but because they did not acquire the skills or information necessary to allow them to succeed.” With this series, Dave hopes that students will be able to obtain the information and skills they need to confidently maneuver through classes and college. He hopes that the tone of the book will resonate with students, as sought to create a College Success textbook that genuinely read as people having a conversation together — as though it was talking with students rather than at students.

Dave Dillon Headshot

Dave Dillon, Counsellor/Professor, Grossmont College and Chair of the OER Task Force (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges

It was especially important for Dave that this series was published with an open license. He describes how he stumbled across OER and made the decision to commit to publishing the series with a CC BY license: “Despite my interest in keeping the price of textbooks low, I found that the cost was still prohibitive for many students and as I began to research textbook affordability solutions, I found OER (Open Educational Resources)….There are many reasons for why this series is an Open Educational Resource, including but not limited to textbook affordability, access, empathy, openness, inclusion, diversity, and equity. I want students to be able to have access to the textbook on day one and after the course ends, not have to choose between buying food and purchasing the text, and not have to worry about a lost, stolen, or expired digital access code.”

The Rebus Community worked with Dave throughout the writing process, advising on formatting, licensing, images, and other questions that arose. We also recruited reviewers and coordinated the peer review process for the book, and were fortunate to find a wonderful group of reviewers who generously shared their expertise. Rebus also helped recruit volunteers to prepare a glossary of terms for the book, and assisted Dave in formatting, running accessibility checks, and other final stages of publishing.

We are very excited to be celebrating the release of this series! Dave has worked tirelessly to ensure that the series is a comprehensive and valuable resource for students, and we couldn’t be prouder of both him and the books. If you’re interested in adopting any of the Blueprint for Success in College texts, please let us know in Rebus Projects.

Dave and other faculty at Grossmont College are working to develop openly licensed ancillary materials to accompany the books. These include multiple choice quiz questions, developed by Dave, and powerpoint slides, created by Rocio Terry. Janice Johnson has implemented content from the Study Skills and Time Management book into Canvas, which is a great way for like-minded instructors to adopt the text. We’ll share these ancillaries as they are completed, so stay tuned!

We would also love to hear from anyone interested in collaborating on ancillary development or who might be adapting this resource to better fit their needs. You can always reach us via the project homepage or email us at