Subject matter related to open textbook authoring.
This blog was created to keep our expanding audience informed about what is going on in the world of Open Textbooks and related topics. Please read and enjoy the posts. You are encouraged to add any comments that add to the discussion.
Subject matter related to open textbook authoring.
We are excited to name ChemWiki as our featured book for both June and July. This collection of online science textbooks features over 6800 high quality illustrations. To learn more about ChemWiki, please read the press release at http://prlog.org/11908511 or visit ChemWiki at http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/
Mike Alvord, Director of Operations for Newhall County Water District, and I are working on writing an Advanced Water Mathematics online textbook. Mike has basically completed the first draft of the textbook which is already in use in our Water 031 Advanced Water Mathematics course. I have been focused on completing edits and identifying any inconsistencies in formatting. Since the text is currently being used, we have found that the students are enjoying providing comments, pointing out errors, and indicating topics that aren’t clearly explained as well. Once this draft is final and we’ve received additional student feedback, we’ll add more homework problems, figures, and any other final updates.
ChemWiki not only shines as an exemplary series of open-licensed chemistry textbooks, it has spawned
Professor Delmar Larsen of the University of California at Davis heads the ChemWiki project, a series of online textbooks including Analytical, Biological, Inorganic, Organic, Physical, and Theoretical Chemistry plus the History of Chemistry and Lab Techniques. All are licensed Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike. Students and instructors contribute to the textbooks that are constantly improved.
ChemWiki includes more than 6,000 pages with high-quality illustrations. Individual pages in ChemWiki can be printed or turned into Adobe PDF files. Contributors include more than 30 chemistry professors and students as well as web technologists and publicist Richard Osibanjo.
ChemWiki provides maps to popular commercial general, organic, and physical textbooks.
Here are the pages showing how other colleges and universities are starting to incorporate the UC Davis ChemWiki into their courses:
College Open Textbook grantee communities include two based on the UC Davis series:
PracticeZone is part of the ChemVantage academic program learning and assessment program for General Chemistry that includes jargon used in mastering video games. Chuck Wight of the University of Utah founded ChemVantage. “We have configured the software to allow students to submit proposed solutions to the problems as often as they want, in order to improve their scores. The objective is for students to use the feedback to correct their errors prior to the deadline for the assignment.” ChemVantage carries a Creative Commons Attribution license.
College Open Textbooks delights in publicizing the wiki texts from UC Davis, the use of these by several institutions, and the exciting approach to chemistry education from the University of Utah.
Network with the Text and Academic Authors Association (TAA) community, build your knowledge, and expand your publishing opportunities at the 25th Anniversary TAA Conference, “Academic & Textbook Authoring—Evolving Arts”, in New Orleans, LA, June 8-9, 2012.
This year’s conference will feature two 2-hr workshops, “Thinking Well, Writing Well: How Smart Academics Write to Get Published,” and “Textbook Authoring Basics, A Holistic Approach. Choose from more than a dozen sessions and several small-group discussions on topics, including copyright, self-publishing, ebooks, writing productivity, digital pedagogy, and more. You will also have the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a veteran author or attorney specializing in educational publishing, and several networking opportunities, including a Welcome Breakfast and an evening Networking Reception.
Joy Hakim, author of the ten-volume K-12 textbook series, A History of US, and three-volume textbook series, The Story of Science, will give a keynote presentation on June 8, entitled, “Textbooks Should Be Great Books!”
In honor of TAA’s 25th anniversary, registration has been reduced to $125 for members and $155 for non-members. The first 30 conference registrants will receive a copy of Step-by-Step: Building a Research Paper, and Internet Surf & Turf Revealed: The Essential Guide to Copyright, Fair Use, and Finding Media. To learn more about the 2012 TAA Conference or to register, visit http://www.TAAonline.net/2012TAAConference/register.
Our eight adopter communities have been making great progress with their open textbook or OER projects. Focused on using these to improve teaching and learning for their students, adopter communities are required to have at least two college or university instructors who have adopted or who have plans to adopt an open textbook(s) or open educational resources as the primary text for a course they teach or plan to teach in the 2011-2012 time frame.
We just got an update from Professor Danielle Budzick and her colleagues at Cuyahoga Community College, OH on their business communications adopter community.
Here is her report on the progress they have been making at Tri-C with their grant:
The Tri-C grant team is diligently working on modification to the Flat World textbook. As a team, we are coordinating the re-ordering of the chapters to align with our official course outline.
Here is what the rest of the team is working on!
Fran Brady is taking the lead on editing the Intercultural communication as her day job is with Sherwin Williams and she works with international clients. She’ll be adding more examples and building out chapter.
Pam Grant is adding examples of emails, memos, and letters to provide a stronger context for students, as this is the first chapter in the revised book.
Linda Glassburn is ramping up with example of business proposals and reports by creating her own to include within the textbook. Linda also imported several grammar and punctuation chapters from two different Flat World books at the end of the text to provide an “appendix” area for a refresher to students.
Getting Ready for Summer Pilot
All of the grant faculty are going to be teaching Summer Sections of Business Communication using the modified textbook. Our next steps are finalizing the textbook, so we can share with an other instructors who are teaching college-wide.
I’ll continue to update as we finish the editing and get ready for summer. I can be reached via email at Danielle.Budzick@tri-c.edu.
Both Jacky Hood and I along with 150 other leading educators and business executives focused on education convened in Half Moon Bay on December 4-7 for the Big Ideas Fest (http://bigideasfest.org/2011-big-ideas-fest/2011-big-ideas-fest). In addition to listening to 18 speakers (http://bigideasfest.org/2011-big-ideas-fest/2011-speakers-big-ideas-fest) ranging from Martha Kanter, Under Secretary, US Department of Education, to Kaycee Eckhardt, an amazingly giving and passionate Reading Teacher from New Orleans Charter Science and Math Academy, we ate good food, networked, and worked on some big ideas.
Part of the conference was the facilitation of Action Collabs (http://bigideasfest.org/2011-big-ideas-fest/2011-action-collabs-big-ideas-fest, a great way to brainstorm solutions to core questions. There were nine groups of 15-20 people led by facilitators through the multi-day brain-storming process. Open Educational Resources (OER) were the major focus. Four of the nine groups took on the following question: “How might we leverage open (content, data, and research) to transform teaching and learning?” The groups all followed a six step process: 1) Identify the Opportunity, 2) Design the Solution, 3) Prototype the Solution, 4) Present and get Expert Feedback, 5) Update the Solution based on the feedback and Design if to Scale and Spread, and 6) Present it again. Step 1 included interviewing experts. Former COT director and now Open Courseware Consortium/CCCOER community college outreach manager, Una Daly, was one of the experts. The process was engaging and produced very interesting results. It was fun to see the solutions that 150 bright minds can produce. Strong synergy emerged among educators, business people, foundation managers, and others. The four different groups focused on the same question approached their solutions in very different ways.
Other Action Collab Topics included Assessments and Basic Literacy/Math Skills.
ISKME secured a $50k grant from the Gates Foundation to take the three most promising “big ideas” to the next level. It is a matching grant and ISKME is looking to find another $50k to match the Gates funding, which means that $100k will be used to bring 3 of the 9 ideas presented to the next level. Everyone in the Action Collab I participated in (aka WeLearn) were elated when our idea was paired with another group as one of the winners. WeLearn emphasized vocational life-long learning. Putting tools and knowledge in the hands of those in the workforce to help them learn and grow. In addition to OER and traditional content, we had focused on mentor/mentee matching and close ties to corporations as one of the benefactors of a more skill-based workforce.
This big idea is similar to a concept that the Open Doors Group has been discussing; it is called CHAI (Commerce, Healthcare, Agriculture and Industry) as a potential sharing space for flexible, affordable education/training materials. This is a much larger initiative with a focus on vocational education initiatives utilizing open resources. Very exciting idea that has synergy with the big ideas that surfaced at the Big Ideas Fest. Stay tuned for more ideas.
Related posting: Read move about the Big Ideas Fest from Carol Hedgspeth’s blog post: http://www.collegeopentextbooks.org/blog/?p=1845
NOTE: IMAGES ARE CC-BY-SA BY ISKME.
ISKME’s 3rd annual Big Ideas Fest (www.bigideasfest.org) was held in early December in Half Moon Bay, CA, and as promised, creative doers and thinkers from diverse levels of education gathered to learn from and share with each other. This convening yielded creative, inspirational, and often revolutionary ideas about current educational challenges, while providing the opportunity to interact and engage with a mix of teachers, researchers, administrators, entrepreneurs, education leaders. Central to Big Ideas Fest is the “action” component, called Action Collabs–design-oriented labs where participants brainstormed, prototyped, and ultimately create scalable solutions to major education challenges, such as achieving universal literacy and math competency, and leveraging open education to transform teaching and learning.
In a major shift from traditional educational conferences, the event is designed to bring together kindred spirits on a level playing field, where a person’s work or role becomes less important than how they share and collaborate within their group. In this way, the mix of students, teachers, administrators, researchers, inventors, and executives operate as peers in solving a common problem. These common problems are referred to as “design challenges” at the Big Ideas Fest.
One of the design challenges that was taken on by the Action Collabs was to create solutions around leveraging open content, data, and research to transform teaching and learning. During the Action Collabs, teachers, administrators, and students worked alongside noted leaders and policy makers in the field of open education. The Action Collab process facilitates moving from brainstorming ideas to creating tangible manifestations of those ideas (using pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks and other craft items), in a rapid low-investment way, and results in a visual representation of a solution that helps to see the idea in the real world.
Many of the Big Ideas Fest’s rapid-fire speakers were full participants in the Action Collabs as well. Speakers on open education included Brewster Kahle, Founder of the Internet Archive; Martha Kanter, the U.S. Under Secretary of Education; Neeru Kholsa, Co-Founder of CK-12 Foundation and pioneer in the OER movement; and Barbara Chow, Education Program Director at Hewlett and champion of open education resources. Additional speakers included Jody Lewen, the Executive Director of the Prison University Project; Kaycee Eckhardt, an award-winning charter school teacher whose science and math academy is housed in a FEMA trailer in the 9th ward of New Orleans; and Adora Svitak, the 13-year old recipient of NEA Foundation’s Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education.
THE ACTION COLLAB
The Action Collab groups that were focused on “open” provided innovative and inspired prototype solutions to the question “How might we leverage open (content, research, data) to transform teaching and learning?” One solution, “Pandora for Learning”, was designed to connect students to content that students are passionate about and that they have curated. A second solution to the open education design challenge focused on creating a virtual learning experience that is learner- and teacher-curated, linking the end user to open content about the arts.
ISKME is committed to support the further development of these and other design solutions on the soon-to-launch online Action Collab Network.
Developing Open Educational Resources for Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health Education
The cost of developing medical education resources can be quite high and is duplicated across institutions. Enabling national and global access to medical open educational resources (OERs), including open textbooks, has the potential for improving health education and delivery, reducing cost for development, and expanding access to instructional content. After discussions with other repository providers and Florida State University College of Medicine (FSU COM), it is clear that there is an interest in setting up a meeting to discuss the creation of a sustainable OER partnership among medical schools, institutions providing healthcare programs (i.e., 2 and 4 year institutions), and repository providers.
The Orange Grove Repository and the Open Access Textbooks project has offered to facilitate this meeting with the assistance of FSU COM. The first step is to see what our common interests and goals would be. Please complete the Contact Information Form and the Meeting Time Poll if you are interested in participating in an online discussion about a sustainable OER partnership between accredited medical and healthcare educational institutions/programs. If there is indeed a group that is interested in collaborating on medical OERs, taking it one step forward and forming a medical OER consortium would not only provide institutions with a means for sharing and collaborating on medical OERs and reduce the cost of curriculum development but could also lead to the acceptance of medical OERs in promotion and tenure reviews. The FSU College of Medicine Open Educational Resources Task Force Final Report may be helpful to your medical community in understanding medical OERs.
Using the information you provide, The Orange Grove will work with the FSU Medical School to create the agenda and email it to you as soon as we determine the best time for our first meeting. We would like to schedule this meeting before the winter holidays.
We look forward to hearing from you.
Robin Donaldson, Ph.D
Project Director, Open Access Textbook Project
Project Manager, The Orange Grove, Florida’s Digital Repository
Florida Distance Learning Consortium
The Open Access Textbook project is supported by a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE Grant No. P116Y090040).
In the last several years, we’ve seen the release of many excellent open textbooks, yet adoption still remains a challenge. From my perspective as a math instructor, I see two major barriers: discovery and ancillaries.
The first challenge for adoption of open textbooks is an instructor finding one. There are many instructors who are not even aware that open textbooks exist. Second, if an instructor is interested in open textbooks, even the reasonably well-culled listing at collegeopentextbooks.org can be daunting, and very few listed books resemble complete, ready-to-adopt textbooks. For a busy instructor, the prospect of having to remix resources from multiple sources is often more effort than they’re willing to put in.
To start addressing the second part of the discovery challenge, I built OpenTextBookStore.com. This site lists a subset of open textbooks I felt are really ready-to-adopt without requiring remixing or supplementing, and that are available in printed form. I’ve started with math books, but I hope to expand the listing with recommendations from subject matter experts in other fields. The site recreates the experience of browsing a publisher’s website; each listing shows a summary of the book, license information, the available formats, a table of contents, and a list of any available ancillaries.
Instructors have become accustomed to publishers providing extensive ancillary materials for textbooks, providing the second challenge for adoption of open textbooks. Many excellent efforts are contributing to addressing the ancillary challenge, including open courseware efforts like the Washington Open Course Library (which I was part of). In mathematics, online homework has become commonplace, and for a majority of faculty is a key part of their textbook adoption decision.
To help address this, I’m happy to announce MyOpenMath.com, a free and open online homework system for mathematics. It is built on open-source software I’ve been developing for six years, and that has been used by tens of thousands of students. It provides randomized, algorithmically generated homework with automated grading of numerical and algebraic answers, similar to WebAssign and other publisher products. It also provides a course management system with gradebook, file posting, discussion forums, etc. (To their credit, WebAssign has produced online homework for several open textbooks, but this comes with a cost to students and is not open.) MyOpenMath has homework aligned with open textbooks in pre-algebra, beginning and intermediate algebra, pre-calculus, and trigonometry. The courses can easily be copied and modified by an instructor and used with students as graded homework. Many courses include video lessons, classroom activities, or other supplements as well. These courses are also available to students for self-study, review purposes, or as ungraded practice. These courses were contributed by faculty in Washington and Arizona; please see our “About us” page for credits.
Increased adoptions of open textbooks will only come by making it easy for faculty to find open textbooks, having open textbooks that can easily replace traditional textbooks, and providing ancillaries that instructors rely on. I hope OpenTextBookStore.com and MyOpenMath.com can contribute to that effort.
The Florida Distance Learning Consortium will administer two surveys. One is for college and university students on textbooks, open textbooks, and OpenCourseWare (OCW). The other survey is for faculty and administrators on digital textbooks, open textbooks, open educational resources (OERs), and OCW. These will be administered to all of Florida’s 28 public colleges and 11 state universities. This is our second round of these surveys, and we used the data from the first round (download the student survey report) to improve the items for this round.
We would be pleased to administer the same survey to other states, countries, or institutions so our community could gain a global, national, and state understanding of the awareness and use of OERs and OCW. In the interest of openness and free sharing of research data, we would make the raw data available for other researchers, as well as the analysis of the aggregated data for a national or worldwide perspective. Participating institutions would be provided with their raw data and our analysis methodology. Our goal is to administer these surveys annually, worldwide.
We are currently working on the process for making the surveys available to other institutions. To
accommodate the schedules of various institutions and our grant deadlines, our goal is to enable other institutions to administer the surveys as early as December 2011 and as late as the end of March 2012. The surveys are part of our Open Access Textbook project, supported by the Fund for the Improvement of
Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), to develop a national model for open access textbooks with the eventual goal of making open textbooks available for the 50 most attended general education courses. We are working with the University Press of Florida and an international group of over 20 university presses toward that goal. Institution representatives who would like to take part in these surveys or interested university presses are welcome to contact us.
David W. Nelson is the Project Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I, Robin Donaldson (email@example.com) am the Project Director. We look forward to working with
anyone who wants to take us up on our offer to administer the surveys.
Robin Donaldson, Ph.D
Florida Distance Learning Consortium
The Orange Grove, Florida’s Digital Repository
Designed by ZABELLO DESIGN.