Open textbook publishing has proven to be successful in matching or improving student learning while increasing access and reducing costs. However, as yet the majority of open textbooks are for high volume undergraduate courses. There are fewer options for graduate education, and what books exist tend to be more focused on research or niche topics, and thus are limited in their impact. In particular, we were unable to find many examples of graduate-level, general textbooks for educational technology and instructional design programs. What few books existed were scattered across the discipline and difficult to discover, adopt, and reuse.
In 2018 I sought to address this gap in our discipline specifically by editing a new textbook for the field: Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology. This book comprises over 50 chapters including classic pieces available through open licenses or special permission, and several dozen new CC-BY chapters by top scholars in the field. Launching with this book were many companion features, including a bank of quiz questions developed by students, for students; crowd-sourced faculty resources; pdf downloads of individual chapters, and an embedded audio version of each chapter. The book is tailored to students by including two sections focused on professional development and career choices.
In developing this textbook, I struggled to find a good technology for creating and hosting open textbooks. I originally used Pressbooks but found it difficult to format, especially for PDF export. Thus in October of 2018, my department launched edtecbooks.org, a service for easy formatting of OA textbooks, multiple licensing options for each chapter, and plugins for popular services like Hypothes.is, Youtube, and Quizlet. In addition, the website is designed to be a service for making open educational technology textbooks easily discoverable, and we are actively recruiting other open book authors to contribute their books to the service. As more books are contributed, the value of the bookshelf increases for all authors.
In this presentation, I will share my design process in creating the Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology textbook. I will also discuss how creating the textbook helped me develop a more open pedagogy, and the successes I had in involving students in managing and creating the book in a way that eased my burden and gave them authentic learning experiences. I will also share details on edtechbooks.org, and other educational technology books available at this website. I will discuss my critical reflections on how to grow open publishing, insights into what features faculty and students need to take open book adoption higher, and what the future of open publishing may entail and how it can contribute to open pedagogical practices. Finally, I will engage the audience in discussing new ideas for features and opportunities for open book publishing platforms, answering the question, “what kind of open publishing resources do we want and need? What will help us carry open forward in more sustainable and successful ways? What will enable more authors to contribute to open book creation?”