Contribute a chapter or section to the History of Applied Science and Technology open textbook

We are seeking chapter contributions (7,000-9,000 words) and section contributions (roughly 1,000 words) on a range of topics for the first volume of the History of Applied Science and Technology open textbook, led by Danielle Skjelver (UMUC).

Authors should have experience teaching first-year history courses, as the text is aimed at first-year undergraduate students. We are currently looking for authors for the following chapters and sections:

  • Egyptian and Babylonian Science before 500 BCE (~1,000 words)
  • Doing History (primary source section) before 500 BCE (500-1,000 words including source text)
  • Greek World 500 BCE-500 CE (~1,000 words)
  • North Africa 500 BCE-500 CE (~1,000 words)
  • Oceania 500 BCE-500 CE (~1,000 words)
  • Doing History 500 BCE-500 CE (500-1,000 words including source text)
  • Golden Age of Islam 500-1400 CE (7-9,000 words)

If you’re interested in participating, please contact Danielle Skjelver and include details of your teaching and research experience. We welcome contributions from faculty and Ph.D. students (ABD), and encourage interest and contributions from members of underrepresented groups within the history community.

Call for Chapter Contributions on Metaphysics, Behaviorism, and Materialism

We are seeking chapter contributions of 2,000-3,000 words (8-10 pages double-spaced) on a range of topics within metaphysics and philosophy of mind for the Introduction to Philosophy open textbook, edited by Christina Hendricks (UBC). We encourage interest and contributions from members of underrepresented groups within the philosophical community.

Philosophy of Mind

We are looking for one or two chapter contributions on the subjects of behaviorism and materialism (identity theory of the mind)Chapters should be written for a smart undergraduate student population being exposed to philosophy of mind for the first time. Send a CV and a short paragraph of your experience in teaching philosophy of mind to Heather Salazar at with the subject heading “Phil Mind Open Text.”


Authors are needed for the following chapters (descriptions available):

  • Finitism, infinitism, monism, dualism, pluralism (Counting 1)
  • Case study: what if anything are numbers? (Counting 2)
  • Case study: metaphysics on a human scale asks whether there is free action
  • Case study: what are universals?
  • Notes on methods: is there an experimental metaphysics?
  • The difficult contacts between religious and physicalistic metaphysics
  • Topics for further study

Please send a CV, including details of your teaching and research experience, to Palma Adriano, and copy Apurva Ashok.

Updates: Open Digital Citizenship Toolkit, February Office Hours & more

Open Digital Citizenship Toolkit: Chapter Reviewers Needed

The Rebus Community is supporting the creation of a Digital Citizenship open textbook out of Ryerson University. The Digital Citizenship Toolkit includes a student workbook and a faculty support book. The textbook will help students develop a higher-level critical lens through which to navigate the digital realm, while the faculty support book will teach faculty how to integrate digital literacy concepts into an already existing course. To find out more about the project, head to the Rebus Community forum.

Currently, we are looking for chapter reviewers for the student workbook. Each section is approximately 4,000-6,000 words. If you’re interested in acting as a reviewer, please sign up on the forum thread, letting us know a bit about experience and which chapter you would be interested in reviewing. The list of chapters is available on the project homepage.

Catch the Recap: Adapting Open Textbooks

In January’s Office Hours event from Open Textbook Network & Rebus Community, faculty and staff who have adapted open textbooks discussed their process, insights, and recommendations for others considering adapting an open textbook for their course. Watch the video recording, or read a summary.

Join Us for the Next Office Hours with the Open Textbook Network and Rebus Community!

February: Barriers to Open Textbook Adoption: Common Questions and Concerns Explained

When: February 21, 2018, 2 p.m. PST /  5 p.m. EST

Guest speakers: Jasmine Roberts, Strategic Communication Lecturer, The Ohio State University; Sarah Cohen, Managing Director, Open Textbook Network; and others TBD

Open textbooks reduce the costs of attending college and increase access to knowledge. Still, they have their (vocal) detractors. In this session, experts will dissect common arguments for and against using open textbooks, and discuss ways to overcome these objections in the higher ed landscape.

RSVP for the session.

January Office Hours Recap & Video: Adapting Open Textbooks

Are you a faculty, staff member, or librarian hoping to adapt an Open Textbook? This month’s Office Hours session on adapting open textbooks will help! Watch the video recording, or read a summary below.

In January’s Office Hours event from Open Textbook Network and Rebus Community, faculty and staff who have adapted open textbooks discussed their process, insights, and recommendations for others considering adapting an open textbook for their course.

Guest speakers included Lauri Aesoph, manager of Open Education for BCcampus; Dave Dillon, counselor/professor, chair of the OER Task Force (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges) at Grossmont College; and Anita R. Walz, copyright and scholarly communications librarian at Virginia Tech.

Watch a recap of the session, or read the full summary below.

Elizabeth Mays from the Rebus Community began by speaking briefly about Rebus’ mission to build a new and collaborative model for open textbook publishing. She then introduced Karen Lauritsen, from Office Hours co-sponsor Open Textbook Network (OTN). Karen explained OTN’s mission: to improve education through open education. Currently, OTN members represent more than 600 higher education institutions. OTN offers resources, guides, a member discount on Pressbooks EDU networks, and training and support for institutions with open textbook publishing programs.

Dave Dillon presented first. He teaches a first-year college and career success course at Grossmont College. He said his interest in OER began when he saw that the textbook he had created through a university press had been marked up from $30 to $42 by the university bookstore. Dave put in a sabbatical proposal to create an open textbook for his course. He was able to combine existing texts: from Open Oregon, Lumen Learning, and the State University of New York system (SUNY), with his own original material into a new text. Dave said one of the sources was originally CC BY SA NC, but he was able to negotiate with the original editor to change the license to CC BY, which allowed him to release the new text under this less restrictive license. He pointed to a variety of guides and resources from BCcampus that he said helped him understand best practices as he built the new book (see resources below).

Lauri Aesoph said she was glad to hear the BCcampus resources were helpful and that a new and improved edition of the BC Open Textbook Authoring Guide was coming out soon. Lauri said her role in open textbook adaptations at BCcampus is as a project manager, working with faculty, authors, and adapting faculty and authors throughout the province of British Columbia. She said initially BCcampus began as an effort to Canadianize 10 open textbooks and it grew from there. “Canadianizing” meant replacing the content with Canadian examples, Canadian spellings, and metric measurements. She said she worked with a team of copy editors who helped to develop style guides for the books. Lauri likened adapting an open textbook to a home renovation. “You run into surprises all the time, and sometimes it can take just as long as building a new house.” She said it’s important to start with a quality text that observes best practices. For instance, the team had to remove a lot of images and videos that were not openly licensed, and in some cases, copy edit books that were not copy edited to begin with. Finally, she mentioned that sometimes it took awhile to get the original books into Pressbooks for book formatting. In one case, this was because the original books were produced in a closed, PDF format. In another case, it was because they were cutting and pasting to import a book from OpenStax. BCcampus’ Pressbooks developer, Brad Payne, ultimately built a plug-in to automate the process of importing from OpenStax into Pressbooks.*

Anita Walz shared her experience helping a Virginia Tech College of Business faculty member adapt an open textbook, into what became Fundamentals of Business. Once the professor’s textbook increased to $220, he came to Anita for help. They decided to remix an openly licensed textbook with the goals of making the new text engaging, editable, accessible, tested by students, and low-cost. Walz concurred with Lauri’s construction project analogy, saying, “You’re either building something brand-new, or you’re renovating something that already exists.” She said the professor reduced the text, rewrote large passages, brought out-of-date examples up to date, and reorganized its sections. He had help from additional contributors and authors, and also some student reviewers. Anita managed the overall project and trained the team in Creative Commons licenses, copyright, and how to write attributions. She also obtained grant funds, reviewed the entire book for copyright issues, identified the research and graphic design that would be necessary, handled permissions, and more. She said she had to have some hard conversations about fair use out of concern for downstream users. Ultimately the book was formatted in Word, which Anita said she does not recommend. Among tips for those starting open textbook adaptations, she suggests documenting expectations up front, so everyone knows what is expected from their role and what they’ll be contributing. “It’s really important to be very clear and maybe even in writing, regarding what kinds of licenses are acceptable, both as inputs and as outputs,” she said.

Next, the session opened up to Q&A from attendees. C. Holland asked how Lauri and Anita became project managers for managing open textbooks. Lauri said she was hired at BCcampus Open Education 15 years ago. As the organization grew, the team realized that their role was to support, guide, and train the faculty. “We need to teach those who are developing and using these materials and resources how they can do it on their own,” she said, noting that five years later, that’s working.

Anita said she happened into managing the project when she was approached by faculty, and they didn’t have a structure at the outset. “There are a lot of things I would do differently,” she said, laughing.

People asked about software used to produce open textbooks. Anita said they used Word, but does not recommend doing so. Lauri and Dave both used Pressbooks.

Lauri said they require authors to work in Pressbooks, and conduct training on it for faculty and staff. She also authored the BC Open Textbook Pressbooks Guide.

Dave said Pressbooks was a natural choice. “Of the five things that I was looking at to try to sort into the same unifying text, three of those were in Pressbooks already. So, that made it really easy.” He said Pressbooks was as accessible as other alternatives, and continually improving. He complimented the Pressbooks support team. Most of all, he advised against doing an open textbook just in PDF. The closed format, he said, is “terribly difficult to be able to openly adopt.”

Anita agreed with Dave, saying, “I would agree that the remix of PDF is really problematic. And actually, the book that we remixed from was PDF. So, we had to reverse-engineer it- it was such a mess.”

That was part of what motivated her to create a guide to modifying open textbooks.

Karen asked Anita to elaborate on the fair use issues she ran into. Anita talked about how in-copyright images can complicate downstream uses.

“When you add content under fair use that is iffy, you put other people in a position where they have to do- where they should do a fair use analysis. And you don’t want to do that in openly licensed content.” She mentioned that there were a few crucial images they couldn’t find replacements for but had to include. She reached out for permissions, included a clause to make those permissions transferable, and created a permissions file for the book that is available upon request for those who might remix it.

Others asked about copy editing and graphic design. Dave and Anita recommended using student talent for the design. Lauri was able to hire copy editors for the BCcampus books. Anita did not have a copy editor for the business text, but now sends books to be edited professionally. Dave did not have this benefit but thanked Rebus Community for the support they offered in facilitating peer review.

Funding was another topic of discussion. Anita said her open textbook efforts were funded by the university libraries and the open education budget. Dave said his college received a small grant to incentivize faculty open textbook creation or adoption projects. Lauri said BCcampus is funded by the Ministry of Advanced Education to provide support to all 25 public co-secondary institutions in the province of British Columbia.

Finally, guests discussed accessibility and its importance when building open textbooks. Lauri pointed to the BC Open Textbook Accessibility Toolkit, available in English and French, and noted that books meeting the criteria on the Accessibility Checklist are marked with an accessible flag. She said BCcampus is gearing up to release an updated version of this resource in mid-February.


*In the interest of transparency we would like to note that some members of Rebus staff also work for Pressbooks, an open source book formatting software. Pressbooks offers a discount to OTN member institutions. Pressbooks is not affiliated with Office Hours events, and any mentions of Pressbooks are speakers’ own.

New Resource: Rebus Community Contributor Engagement Guide

Central to our mission at Rebus is the goal to document the process involved in publishing open textbooks so others can use what we learn to create their own. Our hope is that the resources we develop can simplify the workflow for open textbook creators everywhere. We have been working hard on several of these resources over the past months and we’re excited to announce the release of the first of these, the Rebus Community Engagement Guide.

Licensed CC BY, the guide suggests ways to keep the community around projects active, engaged, and committed to seeing books through to publication, while also ensuring that the process is rewarding for them. This guide is based on our experience managing open textbook projects to date, and we welcome your feedback and additional suggestions. Stay tuned — we’ll be releasing more guides, templates and other useful tidbits in the coming months!

Behind the Scenes: Reflections on December’s Office Hours (International Perspectives)

Rebus Community and the Open Textbook Network held an Office Hours session sharing some international perspectives on open textbooks. Keep reading to learn more about the process involved in this unique session. If you missed it, you can still watch the session online or read a full transcript.

For December’s Office Hours session, the Rebus Community and the Open Textbook Network did things a little differently. Instead of conducting the usual live one-hour session where people can join in via video conference, we made some deliberate changes to our format. This was partly out of necessity as the speakers for this session – Tomohiro Nagashima, Jessica Stevens, Werner Westermann Juárez, Mark Horner, and Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou – were spread out around the world, and it would not have been possible to get them all on the same video call. However, it also gave us an opportunity to shake things up and highlight the limitations of our usual format. In the end, we pre-recorded the session, shared the video and transcript, and conducted a week-long discussion period in the Rebus Community forum. In another change, we thought we would use this recap to reflect on the process, more than the content, though we still very much encourage you all to watch the video or read the transcript to hear our guests’ insights!

Why did we change the format of Office Hours this month?

Since Rebus’ team is mostly located in Canada and the USA, we tend to fall back on North American defaults. The Office Hours events are typically scheduled for afternoons in the Eastern Time Zone (EST), and as a result, most of the attendees for these events feature people located in similar time zones. While we have been recording these sessions, and posting the videos and transcripts after each event, we felt that we could be doing more to engage people for whom our events aren’t easily accessible for lots of reasons. The Rebus Community is working hard to be a global community, and we are involved with projects and collaborators all over the world, but most of our projects are currently based in North America. Similarly, the majority of the Open Textbook Network is within the USA. However, last year the community welcomed new members in Australia, and is collaborating with communities in the UK and Chile. As Rebus also expands, we will be working hard to change this and ensure that collaborators all around the world can get involved in an open textbook project (or start their own!), but first we have to work to understand their unique contexts and challenges.

Given the topic for this session – International Perspectives – it only seemed right to find speakers from different countries. We tried to get broad geographical representation, aiming for at least one speaker from every continent, while at the same time being aware that guests couldn’t be asked speak for everyone in their region. We deliberately kept the focus local in our prompt questions for the guests, asking them only to speak about the context they were most familiar with. We also committed to preparing translations as needed, if our guests preferred to speak in a language other than English. Thomas took us up on this offer, recording his portion in French.

Online time zone conversion tool, showing the time in Montreal, Canada (12:00am, Dec. 4 2017), Chile Summer Time CLST (2:00am, Dec. 4 2017), South Africa Standard Time, SAST (7:00am, Dec. 4 2017), Australian Eastern Time (4:00pm, Dec. 4 2017), and West Africa Time (6:00am, Dec. 4 2017).

Converting the time of our video release across different time zones. It’s an extra step that people outside North America do to attend regular Office Hours sessions.

We also wanted to make a point about how those located outside North America often face an extra challenge when converting from EST to their local times and in trying to accommodate events in their schedules, which can often fall outside working (or even waking) hours. There’s also a sense of being an outsider when North American standards, such as time zones, are the norm. So, in our promotion for the event, we only included times in the speakers’ time zones: Chile Summer Time (CLST), South Africa Standard Time (SAST), Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST), and West African Time (WAT). We hoped that our usual set of attendees, located in the USA or Canada, would run these conversions to see when the video would be available. Calculating these differences is fairly easy with online tools, but this is an extra step that people outside of EST do very often, so we felt it was time to switch it around.

Reflections on how we set up the international Office Hours event

As we were writing out the event description, we struggled to choose whether to keep the focus on Open Textbooks or Open Educational Resources, as the latter are more commonly used in some regions over others, but the former is typically the focus of our Office Hours events. We also realized that the very topic or name “International Perspectives” implies revolving around North America.

What’s more, as one of our guests, Tomo, rightly pointed out, our own assumptions of OER internationality led to our framing the event a certain way.

On a more logistical note, we could have done better with securing translators well in advance. We learned that captioning translations is difficult, and that uploading a video to YouTube with captions to match different languages presents its own challenges. We relied on YouTube’s ability to match captions to speech, but any French speakers watching the session will notice that the translation is not quite in sync with the speech. A lot more careful planning was needed than we initially anticipated, and had we more time, the results would be significantly better.

During the week-long discussion

We planned for an asynchronous discussion to take place on the Rebus Community forum once the video was released, to give viewers a chance to interact with the speakers, ask them questions, or share their own comments about the topic. Unfortunately, the discussion did not take off as much as we had hoped, which was disappointing. However, we plan to re-run the discussion as part of Open Education Week in March 2018, which we hope will bring a larger audience to the event.

Our regular Office Hours sessions have about 20-35 participants in addition to the guest speakers, and typically five to ten of these attendees tend to ask questions during the session. In contrast, this Office Hours session has ninety-three views, making it the third-most-watched video on our YouTube channel. In the forum, only five people posted questions for our guests, out of whom four were staff at Rebus or OTN. Three of our guests engaged in the discussion on the forum. We hope that people will go back to watch the video even at a later date, and if they wish to, share their reactions in the forum.

We made sure to promote this event in the same way and through the same channels that we have our previous events, so we believe the lower rate of participation had to do with the changed format. It is possible the time of year had an impact as well (the video was out on December 4), but we do think that the difference between a scheduled call and a pre-recorded session plus asynchronous discussion was notable. Again, we take this as an indicator of how difficult it can be for those unable to attend a scheduled session (for any reason) to then catch up later.

We learned some lessons (on inclusivity and OER internationally), and hope others have too

We’ve learned some valuable lessons from conducting this session, including that engaging community members who can’t attend scheduled events takes time, effort, and a bit of imagination. While the first attempt at this format perhaps wasn’t as successful as we’d hoped, we will be continuing in our efforts to create more inclusive events.

In particular, we will be keeping the asynchronous discussion option for future events. We hope that this will allow for more engagement from people in different time zones, but also for those who have a preference for written communication, or another language, as we can accommodate these preferences using tools like Google Translate.

In the future, we will also still make the effort to invite and include speakers from outside North America at our events, especially since we have learned that we have the technology options to support it.

Most important, we were thrilled with the video we were able to put together with our guests’ insightful contributions. We encourage everyone to watch it to hear more about the amazing work happening in OER around the world. It’s an opportunity for everyone to reflect on their practices, and think on ways to form more cohesive, inclusive communities around OER.

This Office Hours session was an important one for the team at Rebus; our mission has always to build a model for publishing open textbooks that can be used all around the world. It resonated deeply with Zoe and Apurva in particular, too, who both feel like they one foot in the North American context and the other out, being transplants to Canada from New Zealand and India respectively. We hope that it also resonates with you, and that you have also gotten something valuable from this session!

If you have any thoughts about our format, process, or this session, please let us know in the Rebus Community forum!


We will be reopening the discussion as part of Open Education Week March 5-9! Anytime that week, you can join the conversation in the Rebus forum.

(updated) Office Hours: Barriers to Open Textbook Adoption

Open Textbook Network & Rebus Community Host Office Hours

Barriers to Open Textbook Adoption: Common Questions and Concerns Explained

February 21, 2018, 2 p.m. PST /  5 p.m. EST

Guest speakers: Jasmine Roberts, Strategic Communication Lecturer, The Ohio State University; Sarah Cohen, Managing Director, Open Textbook Network; and others TBD

Open textbooks reduce the costs of attending college and increase access to knowledge. Still, they have their (vocal) detractors. In this session, experts will dissect common arguments for and against using open textbooks, and discuss ways to overcome these objections in the higher ed landscape.

RSVP for the session.

Click link to join the session day of. (Note that the session will be recorded.)

If you have any questions, or have difficulty entering the call, email us at

Updates: Open AmLit Anthology, Media Innovation OT & January Office Hours

Catch Tim Robbins at MLA18 with an update on The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature!

This unique open textbook project has come a long way since Robin DeRosa and her students put together the first version of The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature. Rebus has been supporting the anthology’s expansion, with Timothy Robbins as the lead editor. Tim will be sharing the anthology’s evolution to date at the annual Modern Language Association convention on Jan. 5, at 8:30 a.m. EST. He will show Robin’s initial book shell, Abby Goode’s recent revisions, his own class’s revisions, and thecurrent work in progress with Rebus. If you’ll be at the conference, we encourage you to attend Tim’s session, and learn more about this dynamic project!

P.S.: We’re still looking for more contributors for the project. If you’d like to collaborate with us, please let us know in the Rebus Community forum.

Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship Open Textbook at Scripps Institute

Lead editor Michelle Ferrier will be presenting the MI&E open textbook this week at the Scripps Howard Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute to spread the word to potential adopters of the book. The annual institute held at Arizona State University trains a dozen competitively selected faculty across the country to infuse entrepreneurial journalism concepts and practices into their journalism classrooms. 

January: Open Textbook Adaptation
When: January 24, 4 p.m. EST / 1 p.m. PST 

Guest speakers: Lauri Aesoph, Manager, Open Education, BCcampus; Dave Dillon, Counselor/Professor, Chair, OER Task Force (Academic Senate for California Community Colleges), Grossmont College; & others TBD

One of the benefits of open textbooks is that they can be adapted for various faculty and student needs. Content can be adjusted for various student audiences, updated to include current events, or otherwise customized to reflect specific teaching approaches to the subject matter. In this session, we’ll talk with faculty who have adapted open textbooks. They’ll talk about their process, insights, and recommendations for others considering adapting an open textbook for their course.

Like what we’re doing? Please get in touch if you’ve got any ideas, feedback or thoughts for us!

Tim Robbins Presents Open Anthology of American Literature at MLA Convention

The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature continues to grow and evolve. Robin DeRosa, professor at Plymouth State University, and her students, who were looking for a cost-savings anthology for their classroom, started the project. Now, with support from the Rebus Community, the book is under the wing of a new lead editor, Timothy Robbins, assistant professor of English at Graceland University. The anthology has since expanded to include more texts, with collaborators from institutions around the U.S. contributing to the book.

Next, Tim will present the anthology and its iterations at the annual Modern Language Association convention on Jan. 5. He will show Robin’s initial book shell, Abby Goode’s recent classroom-led revision, his own class’s revisions, and the current work in progress with Rebus. If you’re in New York, we encourage you to attend Tim’s session and learn more about this dynamic project.

Inspired by Robin’s experience, Tim included an assignment in his course for students to help expand the anthology. His students read through the texts in Robin’s shell, which included what Tim calls a “potpourri of canonical and ‘minor’ writers.” Tim says his students completed activities to guide their classroom discussions and also give them the skills needed to build the anthology, which they did in teams near the end of the semester.

As part of the process, Tim’s students read about and discussed open education and Creative Commons licensing. Early in the term, student teams participated in developing criteria for evaluation and grading. Tim says that he found this “practice forced students to take a kind of critical ownership of the project by thinking both proactively and reflectively on their own learning and engagement.”

During the term, students used the Pressbooks software to format the anthology. They located and annotated secondary research, edited texts, wrote introductions, all while focusing on “how to make the texts ‘teachable.’” At the end of the semester, teams led a classroom lesson based on their newly designed anthology chapter. The expanded anthology included entries for authors and texts not yet represented in traditional texts.

“My own ‘American Literature to 1900’ course charts some of the various, often contentious stories of “American” culture’s movements towards inclusion, emancipation, and equality across those four centuries of coverage,” Tim says. “When I took on the project with Rebus, I knew that inclination would color the anthology’s roster, a case reinforced in the current Table of Contents. As expected, the sections track roughly chronologically and feature representative authors and texts. Indigenous creation stories confront European colonial documents; the early texts of New England’s Puritan pulpits are met and challenged by the voices and pens of native peoples, African slaves, and women writers. The American Revolution gives way to an explosion of social movements and an expansion of the canon stretching from Thomas Paine’s republican propaganda to the birth of African-American letters in Phillis Wheatley. The selections from the early nineteenth century include the familiar names of the ‘American Renaissance’—Emerson, Poe, Hawthorne, Whitman, Melville—in tandem with the literature of abolitionism. The post-Civil War sections aim to balance the significant social writings of the Gilded Age and Reconstruction era with the emergence of realist fiction.”

Robin DeRosa reflects on the expansion, saying: “When my students and I created the first version of The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature, we were mainly trying to save money. Students were regularly paying about $85 to purchase an anthology full of literature that was virtually all in the public domain. The first Fall that we used the book started off a little rough: We realized it didn’t have any of the introductions or illustrations or annotations that students generally rely on in commercial anthologies. So that semester, students started adding these things to the book, and before long, we realized that the cost-savings were the least exciting part of our dynamic, student-generated textbook. By the end of that semester, students had created lots of great content, other schools had begun using the book, and I had a whole new sense of the pedagogical possibilities inherent in open textbooks.”

Rebus is excited to be building off of Robin and her students’ work, and could not be more grateful to have Tim at the helm. With Rebus’ support, further entries have been added to the anthology, with more expected in 2018. Roughly 30 entries are completed and polished, and we’re seeking more contributors, including people to take the lead on organizing and writing introductions to the various periodized sections. Tim’s student assistants at Graceland have been charged with line editing, and he has also enlisted a graphic design major to help create a new cover for the anthology.

Robin is proud to see the anthology grow. “Now that Rebus is facilitating a more coordinated expansion of the project, you can’t imagine the pride that my students and I feel knowing that our initial work was the seed that led to the emergence of what will be such a game-changing text,” she says. “There is nothing in my career I feel prouder of being a part of than this project, and I am so grateful to the current editors and team at Rebus for taking our small idea and growing it so beautifully: What a wonderful example of the open community at work!”

The open text is gearing up towards an official launch in the summer, but given the nature of this project, the text will continue to evolve and grow indefinitely. Stay tuned for more updates later in the year, and for those who’ll be in New York in January, please support Tim at the MLA convention on Jan. 5!

If you’d like to collaborate with us on this unique project, please let us know in the Rebus Community forum.

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)