Category: Open Textbook Projects

Surprise, surprise! What we learned while writing The Rebus Guide

As anyone who has contributed to the creation of open educational resources can tell you, there are often many surprises along the way! This was certainly true in the making of The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far), and while some were a bit grim, many of them were good surprises. Having worked with so many remarkable OT project leaders and contributors over the past two years, we thought we knew the lay of the land. But as we wrote and reflected, we learned even more about our own processes, resources, and infrastructure.

The Guide will continue to evolve as we hear back from you on the Rebus Forum, but for now we want to share some of the unexpected unknowns that have popped up. We hope they will inspire you to tell us about your own surprises in making open textbooks (or other OER), so that we can continue to improve the Guide, and make it easier for you to build books and community.

A stitch in time saves nine
It’s an old saying, but still relevant in the digital age. Over and over, we were reminded how important it is to put plenty of time into project scoping, establishing content tracking templates, and building up the initial leadership team. Even if it seems like a lot of labor at the beginning, make sure these pieces are really clearly planned up front, because they make your work much easier in the long run. While it can be challenging to plan a textbook, determine its structure, and prepare to write content before you know what that content will actually be, it is nonetheless crucial.

Small sparks can grow into burning interest
Surprisingly, we found that individuals who were initially outside the core team could eventually get very engaged in a project. For example, reviewers who were ‘only’ asked to critique a given chapter often developed an abiding interest in the book as a whole. Given encouragement, volunteers may became much more involved over time, making contributions (both big and little) beyond their original commitment. In the Guide’s section on engagement, we talk about how to make this happen, and in turn grow community connections and support for the book after release.

Keep rigorous but stay loose
Innovation is always characterized by change, and collectively driven publishing is a pretty innovative process! While it’s important to reach objectives and keep your team focused, it’s just as necessary to stay responsive to change. Adapt, revise, and improvise. It’s okay to change course, even if you’ve put a lot of time into the upfront planning. Remember: every project is different, so even though the Guide puts forward a model for creating open textbooks, you’ll always be modifying and renewing that model.

People are your key resource
Again, this might seem obvious when talking about collaborative publishing. And despite our commitment to providing great online tools, we recognize that human beings are the best ‘software’ out there. It can sometimes seem like an insurmountable task to recruit contributors, but if you spread the word widely, like-minded people frequently come out of the woodwork, keen and raring to go. You still need to remember, however, that once they’ve signed on, the interpersonal work needs to keep happening. Managing volunteers involves a lot of emotional and mental support, but there are tools and tips aplenty to help you navigate your way through.

Your audience is everywhere!
The readers of the initial textbook release are not your only audience. Those who eventually adapt the book, and take it to its next iteration, are part of the ecosystem too. Keeping adapters in mind is just as important as thinking about adopters and readers. This makes the planning and production processes a little different from conventional publishing—and somewhat more difficult—but that is also what makes open textbook publishing exciting and rewarding.

So these are a few of our happy surprises along the way. What has not been surprising in this experience is how much we learn and grow through collaboration with the OER community. None of these unexpected lessons would have come to light had we not had so many people share their voices and experiences. Thank you!

 

photo by Alexander Andrews on Unsplash

Media, Society, Culture and You — The Backstory on Our New Release

Media, Society, Culture and You by Mark Poepsel (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) is a highly approachable text that introduces a wide range of mass communications concepts, including their complex histories and compelling contemporary realities. What’s more, the backstory of this project is just as intriguing—an example of how making open textbooks can help change the way we produce and share knowledge.

Kyoto street view by Camille Villanueva on Unsplash

Mark’s work on this textbook began as part of a broader OER project initiated at SIU Edwardsville, one that challenged community members to explore the value of offering open texts in classrooms. Having decided that he wanted to create a more in-depth tool for examining such themes as the network society, the digital economy, and media entrepreneurship, Mark initiated the project with the help of instructional designers at his institution. In time, both the analysis of his subject and his reasons for creating an open textbook in the first place became more profound.

“I probably did a deeper dive than other professors in the original project,” says Mark. “I stayed with this text, and continued iterating it because I think our students are burdened enough with the costs of higher education.” A preliminary version of the book was created using Apple’s iBooks platform, which Mark found fun to use, but lacking in support for the academic editing process. Eventually he transferred the project over to Rebus’s Pressbooks instance, the Rebus Press, which he found simple-to-use, open to customization, and less limiting than iBooks Author.

“It was eye-opening to work with Rebus Community. People were ready and willing to edit one or more chapters of my 45,000-word text. The book is only about 150 pages, but with the help of project managers, peer reviewers, and a copy editor, we made it a solid 10 chapters that focus on precisely what I want to share with students. In other words, Rebus Community supports a level of academic freedom not widely seen.”

To his department’s credit, the textbook featured in Mark’s tenure application, pointing to growing recognition for the academic legitimacy of open publishing. The work has also led to other positive impacts in his professional career. He has been invited to write for other open textbook platforms (ones that even pay a stipend!), and has given three conference presentations about the process of OER development.

Perhaps most importantly, however, Media, Society, Culture and You represents a start for new pedagogical outputs, new ways of writing and teaching, and new ways to keep academic work fresh. Mark has called the book a “stub,” meaning that it serves to prompt more work. He intends eventually to double the extent of the text, adding more content and historical perspectives to each section, as well as quizzes and discussion questions at the end of every chapter. In time, an online teaching manual may also be created by the community of educators who use the book.

For Mark himself, the experience has also been a kind of stub: “This effort in some ways guides my future plans. I want to stay on the edge of pedagogy and research into participatory and entrepreneurial journalism. Establishing this text as a pedagogical option for a community of scholars will go a long way toward my efforts to contribute to a community of practice. Working on this has created to a positive feedback loop between my research and my pedagogical work.”

Now that the textbook has been released, it is open for use, including adoption and adaptation. Already, it is engaging both faculty and students at SIU Edwardsville. Readers there have found it accessible and easy to follow, as well as provocative in just the right way. Mark says that he hopes the book “serves as a shot in the arm for facing the realities of digital disruption” and that it will prompt users of social media and those within the network society to reflect on and recognize their own roles in how political communication and action unrolls. In that way, perhaps, the publication of the book embodies its own theme as a whole!

A special thanks goes to copyeditor Leanne Page, who dedicated a great deal of time to the project, as well as her keen eye for details and an invaluable progress-tracking spreadsheet (making sure the book would be ready before Mark’s tenure dossier was due!)

 

Take a look at the book online, download it in multiple formats, and let us know how it works for you, your students, and your colleagues!

 

photo by Camille Villanueva on Unsplash

Collaborate & Create: Announcing the New Rebus Community Guide!

After two years of collaboration, thirty projects undertaken, and a dozen open textbooks released, we are thrilled to announce the publication of The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far). The book-in-progress is the result of innumerable conversations and exchanges within the Rebus Community, and represents a wide range of collective knowledge and experience. Beyond our pleasure in sharing this outcome, however, we are enormously grateful for the many voices, perspectives, and helping hands that have made the Guide a reality. We also want to highlight those two little words in parentheses in the title: there are plenty of new learnings, knowledge, and reflexive revisions to come!

The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far)

The book (so far)… and what comes next

In its current form, The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) is for anyone thinking about starting an open textbook project. It starts at the beginning of the process, with chapters on project scoping and building a team, and then moves on to content creation and editing, getting feedback and reviews, coordinating release and adoptions, and sustaining the book’s community.

Like all Rebus-supported projects, however, the Guide is and will remain an effort that evolves and grows over time. Through conversations, use, new writers’ and editors’ contributions, and ongoing reflection and revision, it will reflect our changing perspectives on how and why we make open textbooks. In this way, it shows where we have collectively gotten so far, while embodying the ethos of openness and the reality that innovation is always characterized by change. As the book is used and the project grows, we look forward to a lively series of discussions on the Rebus Forum, as well as continuing re-imaginings of how our ecosystem makes textbooks.

The project and book were initiated by Zoe and Apurva as a way to comprehensively document our approach to OER publishing. Over the last two years, we have worked in a very hands-on way with more than 30 open textbook projects! That means that there are many practices that we have learned to make more inclusive, and numerous insights to exchange with the broader community of OER users and creators. Capturing them in text, but in a way that can evolve, is our aim with the Guide. Of course, because every project is different, there is no single template for success. In fact, it is within those differences that we see so much potential for making the Guide a living and dynamic resource.

The Guide represents an important moment in the evolution of the Rebus Community, a culmination of two years of great, collaborative work. Moving forward, it will serve as a living repository of collective knowledge, equipping those who want to publish open textbooks with the resources they need. Just as the forum and Projects platform provide the tools that can make the community more self-sustaining, the Guide will help build long-term capacity. In turn, we can dedicate more time to refining and extending this infrastructure, and enabling more project teams, anywhere in the world, to create and share OER.

Walking our own talk

As we started working on this project, we realized what a learning experience it is to walk the talk of creating collaborative, open textbooks. Using our own tools and resources has helped us identify what aspects of the platform and process work well, what hiccups still exist, and what kind of solutions and improvements we need to work on next. It has also made us all the more grateful when project leads, contributors, reviewers, and readers (and everyone else!) tell us what they think has been successful, as well as what issues remain. We’ll keep working to resolve those issues and avoid new ones. With every new voice giving us fresh and different perspectives, the Rebus Community grows in diversity—in time, that leads to a more accessible and responsive platform.

In the meantime, and in the interest of prompting other insights, here are a few of the surprises we bumped into during our work on the Guide:

  • Managing and contributing to open textbook projects takes a lot of time and hard workWhile that might seem obvious, what isn’t so straightforward is remembering to look after your own well-being along the way. Be nice to yourself (and each other): get lots of rest, eat well, and ask for help as often as possible! Along the way, all that energy you’re putting into the project needs to be replenished.
  • The publishing process isn’t always linear—in fact, it rarely is—and that’s a good thing! Sometimes slowing down to deal with the curves in the road is exactly how you learn to see things differently. Our insight is that you don’t have to wait to finish one task in order to move on to another, and you can ‘complete’ a given phase even if all the content isn’t there. Keep things moving on a rolling basis, and stay patient when the rolling gets rocky.
  • We continuously learn that paying attention to accessible design, inclusive language, diverse forms of marketing, and equitable editing is critical. There are implications for additional work down the line, both during production and after release. In the long run, however, this attention is part of what makes open textbook publishing truly openbeyond just the openness of licenses and usage.
  • Nothing about OER is a solo endeavour, and it’s not just authors who “create content.” An open textbook is many things at once—collective processes and outcomes, a learning opportunity, a set of connections within a community. Building a strong team for your project is therefore critical, and thoughtfully nurturing those people will enable them to nurture the project in return. It’s all about the ecosystem, and the stronger and more enjoyable that network is, the stronger and more successful the textbook will be!

In the coming weeks, we’ll be shining a light on different parts of the content, development process, and insights that have gone into and come out of The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far). We hope you’ll be a part of the project and follow its progress. Already there are plenty of discussions to be joined, templates and checklists to be used, chapter outlines to be reviewed, and updates to new content. Plus, lots of current and future reflections on why we believe so strongly in this model of publishing—including where it can lead. You’ll also soon be seeing three draft cover designs for the book, and we’ll be asking you for feedback on which ones are most appealing (and why). Stay tuned!

Like the Rebus Community as a whole, this book is an outcome of the collective generosity of many dedicated and creative people who believe in rebuilding the publishing ecosystem. We are humbled to have been able to work with our project leaders and contributors over these past two years. This is book is for you—for all of us, in fact—and stands as a promise to keep making (and re-making) the tools and resources that allow us all to create open textbooks. We hope you’ll be inspired by what we have collectively made—so far!

 

New Mass Communication OER! Media, Society, Culture and You

Media, Society, Culture and You by Mark Poepsel (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville) is an approachable introductory text that covers major mass communication terms and concepts, including digital culture, social media, gaming, propaganda, and ‘sharing’. Take a look at the book online, download it in multiple formats, and keep reading to learn more!


We’re excited to announce the release of Media, Society, Culture and You, a new open textbook by Mark Poepsel from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Mark discusses various media, platforms, phenomena, and social implications, including their history and how they are evolving as information and communication technologies change. Mass media educators will find that this approachable text helps direct students’ attention to the current crisis in political communication and action, including the roles of social media and the network society.

Mark Poepsel HeadshotThis open textbook began as a larger, campus-wide project to explore the value, both to students and to the university, of offering open texts. Driven by the idea of reducing the financial burden on students pursuing higher education, Mark decided to dig deeper than other professors on the project. His motivations to author the book and share it openly also stemmed from his classroom experience: “After teaching an Intro to Mass Media and Society course for a couple of semesters, I wanted an additional text that focused a bit more on concepts like the network society, the digital economy, and media entrepreneurship. So, I wrote one with the help of instructional designers at my university.”

Unlike most texts in mass communications, Media, Society, Culture and You focuses largely on digital culture, the network society, and the information economy. As Mark notes, “while you can find the same topic areas covered in introductory media and society texts, you won’t find them covered in this depth or with this emphasis. I see it as a supplemental text for most teachers, and as a core text for me, since I expand on it in lectures by bringing in other academic readings.”

The book’s purpose is to dive deeper into ideas about how society and culture are rapidly changing in correlation with evolving information and communication technologies. Once students have a grasp of what the network society is and what the information economy is, hopefully they can plan mass media careers that can withstand change.

Book cover: Media, Society, Culture and You: An Introductory Mass Communications Text, Mark A. Poepsel, Ph.D.For Mark, it’s exciting that other professors can incorporate his text in whole or in part, and supplement it with other texts in their Mass Media and Society courses. Given that the book is free, another bonus is that students interested in other fields might find it and expand their knowledge of media. Mark imagines readers “sipping coffee across the table from me, discussing with some level of excitement what’s going on in the field, and then considering going into it.”

If you’d like to join the conversation with Mark, take a look at the book online, in multiple formats including PDF, EPUB, MOBI, or in editable formats such as XHTML, WXR, XML, and ODT. And if you’re interested in adopting or adapting the book, please let us know by filling out our adoption form!

In the market for new course materials? Don’t forget about these great resources!

There are some great openly licensed open textbook resources supported by Rebus that are available for classroom use! Keep reading to see whether any of these resources would be a good fit for your upcoming course. If you are planning on adopting or adapting any of these open textbooks, please let us know!


Are you or others at your institution planning for the upcoming semester or academic year? Then it’s time to take another look at all the Rebus supported open textbooks that have been released over the past year! All our books are licensed CC BY, most are peer reviewed, and all can easily be adapted to better fit your course’s needs. And, even better, they are freely and easily accessible to you and your students in a bunch of formats (web, PDF, ebook and editable formats).

Titles available for adoption/adaptation:

Financial Strategy for Public Managers (Sharon Kioko and Justin Marlowe)
Financial Strategy for Public Managers is a new generation textbook for financial management in the public sector. It offers a thorough, applied, and concise introduction to the essential financial concepts and analytical tools that today’s effective public servants need to know. Financial Strategy for Public Managers has been peer-reviewed by 8 subject experts at 8 institutions.

 

Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship (edited by Michelle Ferrier and Elizabeth Mays)
This is a modular open textbook designed for entrepreneurial journalism, media innovation, and related courses. This book underwent student and faculty testing and open review in Fall 2017. Feedback has been implemented in Version 1.0 and will continue to be implemented in Version 2.0 (ETA August 2018).

Literature Reviews for Education and Nursing Graduate Students (Linda Frederiksen and Sue F. Phelps)
This open textbook is designed for students in graduate-level nursing and education programs. From developing a research question to locating and evaluating sources to writing a sample literature review using appropriate publication guidelines, readers will be guided through the process. This book has been peer-reviewed by 7 subject experts and is available for adoption and use in courses or as a library resource.

Blueprint for Success (Dave Dillon)
A free, Open Educational Resource, Blueprint for Success in College and Career is a students’ guide for classroom and career success. This text, designed to show how to be successful in college and in career preparation, focuses on study skills, time management, career exploration, health, and financial literacy.

The Blueprint for Success 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. 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. All have been peer-reviewed by an experienced team.

Antología abierta de literatura hispánica (Julie Ann Ward)
Una antología crítica de textos literarios del mundo hispanohablante. Se enfoca en autores canónicos y también se intenta incluir voces marginadas. Cada texto tiene una introducción y anotaciones creadas por estudiantes. // A critical anthology of literary texts from the Spanish-speaking world. A focus on canonical authors and an attempt to include voices that have been marginalized. Each text includes an introduction and annotations created by students. You can also contribute to the expansion of this text by having your students contribute! Find out more about implementing the assignment.

The Science of Human Nutrition (University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Food Science and Human Nutrition Program)
This peer-reviewed textbook serves as an introduction to nutrition for undergraduate students and is the OER textbook for the FSHN 185 The Science of Human Nutrition course at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. The book covers basic concepts in human nutrition, key information about essential nutrients, basic nutritional assessment, and nutrition across the lifespan.


Additional Resources

For those running an open pedagogy assignment in your class, creating a new open textbook, or working with students to create a new open textbook, there’s something for you too:

Authoring Open Textbooks (Melissa Falldin and Karen Lauritsen)
This guide is for faculty authors, librarians, project managers and others who are involved in the production of open textbooks in higher education and K-12. Content includes a checklist for getting started, publishing program case studies, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and an overview of useful tools.

 

A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students (edited by Elizabeth Mays)
A handbook for faculty interested in practicing open pedagogy by involving students in the making of open textbooks, ancillary materials, or other Open Educational Resources. This is a first edition, compiled by Rebus Community, and we welcome feedback and ideas to expand the text.

 

 


If you are planning on adopting or adapting any of these open textbooks, please let us know!

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 geogebra.org , 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.

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 contact@rebus.community.

El primero (y segundo) de Rebus: ¡Dos nuevos proyectos de traducción español/inglés!

Los más recientes proyectos de la Rebus Community están concentrados en la traducción y adaptación local, y son liderados por la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, en Chile. ¡Son los primeros en ser lanzados en nuestra nueva plataforma, Rebus Projects! Dales un vistazo a los proyectos en la plataforma, o sigue leyendo para informarte más.


La Rebus Community se complace de anunciar su primer grupo de proyectos de traducción; una traducción del inglés al español del Digital Citizenship Toolkit (Kit de herramientas para la ciudadanía digital) respaldado por Rebus, y una traducción del español al inglés de un informe llamado Desafíos de la Formación Ciudadana en la era Digital (Challenges for Citizenship Education in the Digital Age). Ambos proyectos son liderados por Werner Westermann, jefe del Programa de Formación Cívica de la Biblioteca del Congreso Nacional de Chile, en colaboración con la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV). Werner es un miembro activo de la comunidad de Educación Abierta quien ha estado abogando por la política REA y usando la Alianza para el Gobierno Abierto para producir y ofrecer REA relacionados con la educación ciudadana en Chile, y más allá.

El poder de los REA es evidente en la manera como estos proyectos cobran vida: Werner estaba leyendo el boletín semanal de la Rebus Community, cuando vio un anuncio acerca del proyecto Digital CitizenshipToolkit (Kit de herramientas para la ciudadanía digital). Ese mismo día, se puso en contacto con Rebus diciendo que le encantaría trabajar en la traducción de este kit de herramientas al español, para ser usado en las aulas de la PUCV. El kit de herramientas es un proyecto de libro de texto abierto liderado por Ann Ludbrook y Michelle Schwartz en la Ryerson University. El libro está dirigido a ayudar a los estudiantes a desarrollar una lente crítica de un nivel más alto con la cual navegar el ámbito digital, y más adelante estará acompañado de un libro de texto para el profesorado. En este punto, Werner también compartió que le entusiasmaba traducir Desafíos de la Formación Ciudadana en la era Digital, un informe sobre educación ciudadana, del español al inglés. Este proyecto plantea una maravillosa respuesta al proyecto de traducción del libro de texto abierto del inglés al español.

Trabajaremos con estudiantes del último año de traducción en la PUCV para traducir el Digital Citizenship Toolkit al español y el informe de educación ciudadana al inglés. Los estudiantes también adaptarán localmente el contenido del libro, con contenido específico relacionado con Chile y su contexto. Este trabajo está siendo respaldado por una subvención de la Embajada de EE. UU. en Santiago, Chile, y busca poner a prueba una infraestructura y marco metodológico para crear y publicar libros de texto abiertos.

Estos proyectos tienen otra faceta peculiar: encajan con el Objetivo número 4 de Desarrollo Sostenible de las Naciones Unidas: Educación de calidad. El propósito 4.7 de este objetivo está relacionado específicamente con metas de educación cívica y ciudadana: “Para 2030, asegurar que todos los aprendices adquieran el conocimiento y las habilidades necesarias para promover el desarrollo sostenible, incluso, entre otros, a través de la educación para el desarrollo sostenible y estilo de vida sostenible, derechos humanos, equidad de género, promoción de la cultura de paz y no violencia, la ciudadanía global y la apreciación de la diversidad cultural y de la contribución de la cultura al desarrollo sostenible” 

Con vista al futuro, Werner dice: “Sueño con educar ciudadanos empoderados que buscan influencia pública e intervención para hacer un mundo mejor por medio del fortalecimiento de la democracia”. Nos entusiasma ayudarlo a acercarse a este sueño con estos dos proyectos de traducción.

Si estás interesado en informarte más acerca de estos proyectos, o si deseas participar de cualquier manera, por favor ¡únete a ambos proyectos en nuestra nueva plataforma!

A Rebus First (and Second): Two New Spanish/English Translation Projects!

Rebus Community’s newest projects are focused on translation and localization, and are led by the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Chile. They are the first launched in our new platform, Rebus Projects! Take a look at the projects on the platform, or keep reading to learn more.


The Rebus Community is excited to announce its first set of translation projects – an English to Spanish translation of the Rebus-supported Digital Citizenship Toolkit and a Spanish to English translation of a report called Desafíos de la Formación Ciudadana en la era Digital (Challenges for Citizenship Education in the Digital Age). Both projects are lead by Werner Westermann, Head of the Civic Training Program at the Library of the National Congress of Chile, in partnership with Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (PUCV). Werner is an active member of the Open Education community who has been advocating for OER Policy and using the Open Government Partnership to produce and deliver OER related to citizenship education in Chile, and beyond.

The power of OER is evident in how these projects came to life: Werner was reading through the Rebus Community’s weekly newsletter, when he spotted an announcement about the Digital Citizenship Toolkit project. That very day, he contacted Rebus saying that he would love to work on translating this toolkit into Spanish, for use in classrooms at PUCV. The toolkit is an open textbook project lead by Ann Ludbrook and Michelle Schwartz at Ryerson University. The book aims to help students develop a higher-level critical lens in which to navigate the digital realm, and will later be accompanied by a faculty handbook. At this point, Werner also shared that he was keen to translate Desafíos de la Formación Ciudadana en la era Digital, a report on Citizenship Education, from Spanish to English. This project poses a wonderful counter to the open textbook translation project from English to Spanish.

We will work with senior translation students at PUCV to translate the Digital Citizenship Toolkit into Spanish and the Citizenship Education report into English. Students will also work to localize the content in the book, with specific content related to Chile and its context. This work is being supported by a grant from the US Embassy in Santiago, Chile, which seeks to test an infrastructure and methodology framework for creating and publishing Open Textbooks.

These projects have another unique aspect: they fit in with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal number 4 — Quality Education / Educación de Calidad. Target 4.7 of this goal is specifically related to civic and citizenship education objectives: “By 2030, ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, through education for sustainable development and sustainable lifestyles, human rights, gender equality, promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, global citizenship and appreciation of cultural diversity and of culture’s contribution to sustainable development”

Looking to the future, Werner says, “I dream of educating empowered citizens that look for public incidence and agency to make a better world through strengthening democracy.” We’re excited to help him get closer to this dream with these two translation projects.

If you’re interested in learning more about these projects, or if you’d like to participate in any way, please join both projects in our new platform!

Introducing Rebus Projects: A Custom Project Management Tool for Open Textbook Creators

We are very excited to unveil Rebus Projects, new web-based software that we think will be a better way to manage open textbook/OER publishing projects, and gather and organize contributors and collaborators. The platform is currently in beta (meaning it’s still in development! And there will be bugs!), and your feedback will be critical to future development, to make sure it meets the needs of all open textbook creators.

We encourage you to take a look, and see if there is an OER project you can help with. Or, let us know if you have a project in mind, and submit an application to join the beta.

 

We’ve been working over the past 18 months with a collection of almost two dozen open textbooks projects, with partner institutions and faculty from around the world. This has helped us develop a flexible yet clear open textbook publishing process, that builds in best practices, including attention to accessibility, and fosters collaboration on open textbook projects. We are building everything we have learned (and continue to learn) into Rebus Projects, to help guide open textbook projects through the publishing workflow, and to make it easy to find, recruit, and organize collaborators.

A quick FAQ about Rebus Projects:

Q: How do I access Rebus Projects?
A: It’s pretty simple! Just visit https://projects.rebus.community/ and Sign Up. If you’re already a member of the Rebus Forum, you can log in using the same account.

Q: How can I help on someone else’s OER/open textbook project?
A: Great question! Visit the site and find a project that needs help you’d like to offer (Peer review? Proofreading? Chapter authoring? And more …) Click on the activity you’d like to help out on and volunteer.

Q: How can I get my project listed on Rebus Projects?
A: For the moment we have only have capacity to support a limited number of new projects, but as that changes we will be inviting more to join us. You can request access to the beta for your project here.

Q: How can I give feedback on the platform?
A: Your input is critical to shaping the future direction of the platform, so we absolutely want to hear from you. You can leave comments and feedback in the Rebus Forum or email us at contact@rebus.community. You’ll find some prompt questions in the forum to help guide you.

Q: What if I don’t want collaborators on my open textbook project?
A: We make it easy to collaborate only on the parts of your projects you want help with. It’s up to you. Some projects only want collaboration on specific aspects, such as: peer review, editing, proofreading, beta testing, ancillary materials, marketing and more. Some projects want collaboration for authoring chapters, or even conceiving the project itself. The people behind the projects decide.

Q: Who owns the copyright on open textbooks in Rebus Projects?
A: The authors own the copyright. However, all open textbooks in Rebus Projects must be licensed under a Creative Commons license. We encourage creators to adopt a CC-BY license, but recognise that it is not suitable for some projects. In particular, for projects involving traditional knowledge or other similar content, we will work with project teams to amend our licensing policy as needed.

Q: What do I get if my project gets listed on Rebus Projects?
A: You get access to a brand new software platform, that is being developed specifically to help support the open textbook publishing process. You also get:

  • A public web listing of your project, where basic information of your project, team, activities, discussion threads, and documents can be shared. This listing can be used to promote the project, generate interest from potential adopters, and recruit collaborators.
  • Support & guidance on the publishing process from the Rebus team and the wider Community via the Rebus Forum
  • Guides and templates related to the OER publishing process
  • Amplification of recruitment calls and project updates in the Rebus Community’s media channels (newsletter, blog, social media, etc.)
  • An onboarding call with the Rebus Community, with training on how to use the platform
  • Four one-hour drop-in webinars, where you can pose questions and talk through challenges in the process
  • Access to the Rebus Press (powered by Pressbooks), if needed
  • An opportunity to contribute directly to the development of tools and resources that benefit the wider OER community

Q: Will it cost anything to put my project on Rebus Projects?
A: Accepted individual projects will always be free. We are actively working on a sustainable funding model, with educational institutions and state and provincial education systems. Stay tuned.

Q: Who is behind Rebus Projects?
A: Rebus Projects is a part of the Rebus Community, a project run the Rebus Foundation. The foundation is a Canadian non-profit dedicated to building infrastructure and communities to promote open education, and books on the open web. The Rebus Foundation is generously supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Q: How can I get more information?
A: If you still have questions, head to the Rebus Forum and ask away! Or, you can always email us directly at contact@rebus.community.