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.
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.
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.
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.
Tom Caswell, Program Manager for the Open Course Library, reported 10, 000 visitors to their site since its official launch of the first 42 courses on October 31, 2011. He sums up the project which will contain 81 open courses targeted at the highest-enrolled general education classes for lower division college students as thus:
“The Open Course Library is a collection of expertly developed educational materials designed by faculty and openly shared with the world. It includes textbooks, syllabi, course activities, readings, and assessments for 81 high-enrollment college courses.”
“42 courses have been completed so far, providing faculty with a high-quality, affordable option that will cost students no more than $30 for course materials.”
“Faculty (anywhere) can modify and build on some or all of the course materials. There are no strings attached. We only ask that faculty cite the Open Course Library in their course and fill out our short adoption form.”
Image Credit: Timothy Valentine & Leo Reynolds CC-BY-NC-SA
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
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