User:Jtneill/Grants/Student-authored open textbooks 2010/Generic guidelines

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Some generic guidelines for student-authored open textbooks as assessment exercises

Video overview of the student-authored open textbook project: (4 min.)

The problem/need[edit]

Figure 1. The proposed student-authored open textbook project targets three higher education needs.
  1. Assessment: Need for authentic assessment tasks which:
    1. Teach real-world skills
    2. Create usable outcomes for the academic and broader community
  2. Textbooks: Need for open, online textbooks:
    1. Lack of open textbooks
    2. Lack of local content
    3. High financial cost and restricted copyright of commercial textbooks
  3. Collaborative, online writing skills:
    1. Need for collaborative, online writing and multimedia communication skills:
    2. Need for staff to write and edit alongside students to help develop students' critical thinking, writing and learning skills

The proposal[edit]

learning and
assessment exercise

Figure 2. Three pedagogical aspects of a student-authored open textbook learning and assessment exercise.
  1. The goal for students is to:
    1. author a textbook chapter in a collaborative editing environment
    2. create an online multimedia presentation to accompany the chapter
    3. develop and demonstrate:
      1. subject-specific knowledge
      2. effective writing and communication skills
  2. The goal for academic staff is to:
    1. facilitate student confidence and success in approaching a novel task
    2. co-create (as an editor and co-author) a good quality free and open online textbook
  3. The goal for the textbook is to:
    1. Provide a niche textbook freely usable by anyone, but in particular which be an additional textbook or alternative to commercial textbooks
    2. Be freely usable by anyone
    3. Provide a meaningful and engagement learning and assessment exercise for students
    4. Become

Basic steps[edit]

  1. Platform: Decide on an online platform and learn to use it e.g., Wikiversity or Wikibooks
  2. Table of contents: Develop a table of contents for the book, with proposed chapters (more chapters than students, to allow some choice) - Example
  3. Guidelines: Develop textbook chapter guidelines to help orient and guide students through the process - Example
  4. Sign-up: Invite students to sign-up to a chapter - or propose their own chapter - Example
  5. Student training: Provide training for students to:
    1. Explain the concept and mechanics of the project, including
      1. Philosophy
      2. Marking criteria
    2. Creating a user account
    3. Form and use peer-review teams
    4. Plan the chapter and get feedback on the plan
    5. Learn basic online editing
      1. Text formatting
      2. Linking
      3. Using images
      4. Tables
      5. Collaborative editing and online communication
    6. Learning to use the editing environment could be facilitated by having students develop learning journals (or e-portfolios) in their user space - Example
    7. Brainstorm possible generic parts of a textbook chapter - Example
    8. Draft the chapter
    9. Get peer-review and redraft
    10. Create multimedia presentation - Example
    11. Submit the chapter
  6. Marking and editing: The lecturer/editor marks the chapters and provides feedback and edits towards a final product
  7. Distribution: The book can then be downloaded as a pdf or printed
  8. Evaluate: What worked? What didn't?
    1. Consider student feedback?
    2. Consider peer review of book and/or project?
  9. Succession planning: What will happen the next time the unit is taught?
    1. Continue work on improving the book?
    2. Write new chapters?
    3. Or tackle a different book/project?