Tuesday, January 27, 2009

WikiEducator and Open Textbooks

What is the overlap / complementary functionality between WikiEducator and Open Textbooks? I haven't spent much time thinking about textbooks per se lately. They are just really big OERs or collections of OERs. However, there is some authority baggage that comes with a "textbook".

It will be a while before the education community moves beyond textbooks, so it is appropriate to step back and think about transitioning processes that include the notion of open textbook - whatever that is (or isn't).

Specifically, addressing these objectives...
Our task is to look at different ways to make free, open textbooks a sustainable resource for faculty and students. At the same time, we are working to create a vetting procedure to review textbooks and recommend texts that meet our quality standards.
We know it has to be
  • free, or very nearly free,
  • easy to use, get and pass around,
  • editable so instructors can customize content,
  • cross-platform compatible,
  • printable,
  • and accessible so it works with adaptive technology.
And that's just the short list.
I'm particularly interested in
  • sustainable - this could mean a lot of things - regular controlled revisions, ownership for the base content. What does it usually mean to others when it comes up?
  • vetting - do you see this being handled with WE-provided functionality
  • printable - do you think the WE collections and PDF functions would meet most people's requirements and expectations for a printable textbook

I think WE cross-platform is ok, but is there anything specific happening for mobile device or OLPC display?

What do you know about WE and adaptive technology? I think it is all ok-enough for California Community College access requirements. I'll hear more shortly as I have a blind student in my class this semester. She uses several different technologies, but she is reluctant to talk about this much. I understand, but I would really like to know much, much more.


  1. Hi,

    On Visual Impairment a contributor has some interesting 'insights':
    http://collaboration.becta.org.uk/message/2356#2356 see second comment.

    Following on from the main topic of WE, do you think that there is a place for a well constructed e-Portfolio system that will collate all these various bits that are 'up in the clouds'?

    For more on the system that I beleive can help:

    P: http://www.raytolley1.xfolioworld.com
    B: http://www.efoliointheuk.blogspot.com/
    W: http://www.maximise-ict.co.uk/eFolio-01.htm

    Best Wishes
    Ray T

  2. Thanks for this.

    I agree with your characterization of PLEs - some physical presence and "direction" are important. http://collaboration.becta.org.uk/message/2356#2356

    I'm even thinking of my online course as being a PLE for the group of 30 students in the class. It is pretty similar, though not identical, as it relates to my course, but they are on their own beyond that.

    I'm trying various ePortfolio ideas and technologies - blogs and wikis provide functionality for very liberal interpretation of what an eportfolio is and what it is supposed to do.