Rebus Community Facilitates Open Textbook Creation with 12 New Pilot Projects

The Rebus Community for Open Textbook Creation, a major initiative of the Rebus Foundation, has announced its first 12 open textbook projects.

These open textbook projects will receive support from Rebus Community in the form of project management; help finding collaborators including authors, editors and proofreaders; peer review coordination, and support for design and formatting; as well as help getting the books into classrooms and libraries. This initial batch of projects will be used to develop transparent processes, software and tools to support the publishing open textbooks.

The Rebus Community for Open Textbook Creation, a Canadian non-profit initiative funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is working with open textbook creators around the world to build a new, collaborative model for open textbook publishing.

“We’re building a whole new approach to the creation of educational materials,” said Rebus co-founder Hugh McGuire, who previously founded the open content project Librivox.org, an online collaboration initiative that has produced the world’s largest collection of free public domain audiobooks.

The Rebus Community plans to help publish many new, high-quality open textbooks that can be freely used and remixed by students and educators worldwide.

The first 12 open textbooks being collaboratively created by the Rebus Community are:

“Working on open textbooks provides an opportunity for individual creators to leverage open design principles, but even the most experienced of us can benefit from a shared infrastructure and guiding documentation,” said Billy Meinke, an OER technologist at the University of Hawaii who is participating in Rebus projects. “The Rebus project is connecting a network of creators and helping catalyze ideas around collaborative OER content development.

The Rebus Community is a project of The Rebus Foundation, a Canadian not-for-profit organization with a mission to build new models and technology for open book publishing and reading on the web. The foundation was created in August. Its work on open textbooks is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, leaders in supporting Open Education initiatives.

About the open textbooks in process:

Introduction to Philosophy With Christina Hendricks, professor of teaching at University of British Columbia as lead author, this text will be built for first-year (college or university) students taking introductory survey courses in philosophy, and will touch on the foundational ideas in philosophical inquiry. The book will cover core concepts in Western philosophy as well as other traditions.

The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature (2nd Edition) The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature was initially created by open textbook practitioner Robin de Rosa, chair of interdisciplinary studies at University of New Hampshire (Plymouth). Working with students, she collected public domain texts and created a narrative to form the beginnings of a new, definitive anthology of Early American Literature. Lead editor Tim Robbins of Graceland University will manage the development of the book’s second edition.

The Science of Human Nutrition This project, managed by Billy Meinke at University of Hawaii at Manoa, will be used for high-enrollment undergraduate courses in the Food Science and Human Nutrition. It will cover elementary aspects of several biological sciences and nutrition issues of current interest.

Planning and Implementing a Digital Humanities Project Sarah Ketchley, University of Washington, is the lead author for this project, which will offer clear guidelines and best practices for planning and implementing a digital humanities project, following the workflow from initial planning stages through to completion.

Literature Reviews for Education and Nursing Graduate Students Led by Linda Frederiksen, head of access services at  Washington State University Vancouver, 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.

Media Innovation & Entrepreneurship Dr. Michelle Ferrier at Ohio University and Elizabeth Mays of Arizona State University are the lead editors behind this open textbook that includes activities, ancillary materials and faculty resources on media innovation. The text is designed to be a valuable resource for use in media entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial journalism courses across the globe.

History of Applied Science and Technology A joint project of lead editors at the University of Maryland University College and University of North Dakota with support from The Digital Press at UND, this textbook is designed to meet the needs of History of Applied Science and Technology courses at colleges and universities around the world. Led by UMUC history capstone course chair Danielle Skjelver, the book’s central theme is the transformative impact of technological and epistemological changes on worldview and human behavior.

Ancillary Materials for Principles of Social Psychology Under the leadership of Rajiv Jhangiani at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, this project primarily involves bringing together social psychologists to develop ancillary resources to support Principles of Social Psychology. The book already has large adoptions at UBC, Ohio State, and a few other smaller institutions (including KPU). The ancillaries might include a question bank, powerpoint slides, and an activity manual.

Foundations of Biology Led by a team of authors at Greenfield Community College, this project will involve merging two existing texts–OpenStax Biology and OpenStax Concepts of Biology–to create a version suitable for the mixed levels of students that are taught in a community college setting.

Global Regions: World Regional Geography for a Globalizing World Distinguished Professor of Geography Kris Olds of University Wisconsin-Madison is lead author on this book, which will take a contemporary approach to teaching geography, engaging students with rich visuals and moving away from the traditional encyclopedia format.

Financial Strategy for Public Managers Justin Marlowe at University of Washington is the lead author of this text designed for students in Master of Public Administration programs. It could serve as the core text for a comprehensive introductory graduate or advanced undergraduate course on public financial management. It could also complement university courses or continuing professional education on public finance, public budgeting, tax policy, and nonprofit finance.

Author Guide Melissa Falldin & Karen Lauritsen at University of Minnesota are compiling a guide for authors or project managers/librarians working with faculty authors who want to write an open textbook. Content will cover author intake processes, timeline development, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and useful tools.

Each of these textbook projects is in need of cross-disciplinary contributors, including writers, editors, peer reviewers, image and formatting wranglers and more. To get involved or learn about current project needs, join The Rebus Community at forum.rebus.community.

Rebus Foundation awarded grant from the Mellon Foundation for prototyping a reader-focused ‘open webbooks’ ecosystem for scholarly monographs

MONTREAL – Feb. 7, 2017 – The Rebus Foundation will research and prototype an open, Web-based scholarly reading system, supported by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

The US$75,000, one-year grant will enable a team to focus on an open webbook ecosystem that prioritizes the needs of scholarly readers.

“Close scholarly reading of texts requires readers to process multiple sources, to understand and link complex concepts, and eventually to synthesize knowledge into new scholarly works,” said Hugh McGuire, co-founder and executive director of the Rebus Foundation, who previously founded the open content project Librivox.org and the open-source software Pressbooks. “However, most digital reading environments, whether of PDFs or ebooks in ebook reading software, are limited and constrained. We want to open up what ‘deep’ reading can mean, to take full advantage of the web, both in terms of technology and its culture of innovation”

Through the grant, McGuire and Rebus co-founder & strategic director Boris Anthony will conduct in-depth research to better understand the needs of scholarly monograph readers and develop outlines and prototypes of a webbook reader for long-form deep reading.

“The objective is to figure out an ecosystem—from creation, through publication, to deep reading and annotation—that is fully native to the web, unlike current ebooks,” said Anthony. “We seek an approach that allows readers to more deeply engage with books and the knowledge they contain. We are doing this because we believe books are foundational to open knowledge and free societies.”

The results of the work will be published under open licenses.

The Rebus Foundation is a Canadian not-for-profit organization, established in April 2016, with a mission to build new models and technology for open book publishing, collecting and reading on the web. The foundation was generously funded in August 2016 with a grant from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, leaders in supporting Open Education initiatives.

Rebus Foundation Launches Rebus Community

The Rebus Foundation has launched its first project, The Rebus Community for Open Textbook Creation.

The Rebus Community will build a new, collaborative model for open textbook publishing.

Its mission is to publish many new, high-quality CC-BY-licensed open textbooks that can be freely used and remixed by educators worldwide. In addition, the community will provide support for university administrators launching open textbook publishing programs and faculty wanting to publish open textbooks.

The Rebus Community will:

  • Build a global, connected network of Open Textbook creators;
  • Develop an Open Textbook publishing process in response to the needs of this community; and
  • Develop software and tools to support the processes of publishing Open Textbooks.

“There are many processes that go into creating an open textbook, and the Rebus Community will figure out what open textbook creators need and how to crowdsource those activities in the open education context,” said co-founder Hugh McGuire, who previously founded book-related ventures including Librivox, a mass web collaboration project that produced the world’s largest collection of public domain audiobooks.

Anyone interested in making open textbooks or contributing to open textbook development and adoption can join the Rebus Community at https://forum.rebus.community. Rebus Community members making CC BY-licensed open textbooks can also get access to the Rebus Community Press, a software platform for formatting open textbooks powered by Pressbooks.

For more information about the Rebus Community, visit About.Rebus.Community.

The Rebus Community is a project of The Rebus Foundation, a Canadian not-for-profit organization with a mission to build new models and technology for open book publishing and reading on the web. The foundation was created in August and is funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, leaders in supporting Open Education initiatives.