• Week 4: Find, Evaluate and Modify Open Textbooks

    Welcome to week 4!

    Faclitator: Clint Lalonde, Manager, Curriculum Services & Applied Research, BCcampus

    Twitter Hashtag: #BCOTB

    Topic: This week, we will be looking at some of the websites where you can find open textbooks. We'll also be discussing some of the qualities that make a good textbook, and exploring some of the technology associated with open textbooks, including the different formats an open textbook can be made available in, and some technologies you can use to modify an existing open textbook.

    By the end of this week you will be able to:

    • Outline the differences between textbook repositories and referatories.
    • Find and search open textbook repositories & referatories.
    • List some of the important qualities that make up a good textbook.
    • Identify the different technical formats of open textbooks.
    • Identify different software tools you can use to edit and modify an open textbook.

    Week Overview

    This week is made up of readings, discussions and some experimenting with software and websites. I have not provided much in terms of support materials for the different websites and software tools simply because there are so many paths you can take when finding and modifying open textbooks, depending on what you feel comfortable and familiar with, and what kind of resources you are looking for. If you choose to explore a repository or install a piece of software and have questions, post your question in the appropriate forum for the topic and we can all try to support each other as we experiment and explore.

    Order of topics

    There are 4 main topics for this week, and you may want to tackle the topics in this order.

    1) Before you go searching for open textbooks, it is a good idea to get familiar with some of the qualities that make up a good textbook. So, start the week with the readings in Evaluating an Open Textbook and post your thoughts on what makes a good open textbook in the forum.

    2) After that, you may wish to read the Print vs Digital article. There is a great deal of discussion right now about which is "better" for students print or digital, so of which are covered in this article. The optinal activity for this article is to install eReading software on your own tablet or computer (from a list of suggested software package), download an ePub textbook and test out the features of an eReader. If you have never used an eReader or eReading software before, this is the perfect time to test out what an eBook is all about.

    3) Following that, move on to Finding Open Textbooks. There are numerous resources listed here, and I hope you will spend some time exploring these spurces of open textbooks and posting your thoughts on the searching process in the discussion forums.

    4) The final article is Modifying an Open Textbook. There is no activity listed with this article, but you may wish to explore some of the tools listed and ask any specific questions about the process of modifying an open textbook. The process of modifying an open textbook is highly contextual depending on the scope of the modifications, so the article deals with modifications at a fairly broad level. Feel free to ask more specifics in the discussion forum.