The University of Lethbridge is an active member of the OER Provincial Pressbooks Pilot Project, through which we access to the EDU Pressbook publishing service hosted through the University of Alberta Library.
What that means for you is the easy and free adoption and modification of existing open textbooks or the new creation of media-rich open teaching resources. These media-rich elements can be used to create learning resources that differ significantly from traditional textbooks. You can pair any kind of text and visualisations with interactive videos, photos and quiz embeds. Furthermore, with Pressbooks being open digital resources, you can activate web annotation tools like Hypothes.is for collaborative course annotations in public or private groups. Once a Pressbook is created, it can be set live and shared with anyone online. It can also be exported in multiple formats for sharing on other platforms or to be used in print. Content can easily be updated by any of the authors or contributors involved in the creation or adaption of a book. For those of you teaching using specific characters, Pressbook allows for a multitude of languages, including specific input methods like LaTex, phonetic alphabets or many of the languages used worldwide.
Pressbooks is a user-friendly tool that doesn’t require a steep learning curve.
BC campus has worked with this educational Pressbooks installation for a number of years and all Higher Education educators in the province have free access to it. eCampus Ontario is running a single network installation to which any creator (i.e. student, staff or faculty affiliated with on of the 45 institutions they support can request their own Pressbooks account.
As member of the affiliated networks above, creators can easily vet, adopt and modify existing open textbooks in their disciplines or create their own if nothing suitable exists. The creation of resources often happens in collectives, in which a team lead invites contributions from other academic content experts in the discipline. The BC campus Open Textbook collection currently holds almost academic 300 textbooks and you can have your resource added to the collection as an online resource or a document that can then be bought as a printed book for a (low) printing fee.
You can read up on the details of the Alberta OER Pressbooks Pilot by accessing the OER Provincial Pilot Project Charter which includes minutes of the ABOER infrastructure group meetings. Please do reach out to Teaching Centre if you are now curious to learn more and have an interest in the free access to the Pressbooks software that can be your avenue into open textbook authoring!
I hope that this project will eventually turn into a government-funded constant to which all Higher Education professionals in the province will have free and easy access. With your help, this can become a reality.
Please note that you can also apply for an Open Access Learning Resources Fund to help offset some of the cost involved in the creation process!
For inspiration, please browse some of the following resources that have been created with Pressbooks.
- PCC OER: A Digital Workbook for Beginning ESOL
- Teaching in the Digital Age
- Beyond The Lecture: Innovations in Teaching Canadian History
- Introduction to Theater – Interactive Learning Content (a student-instructor co-created resource)
- Introduction to Sociology 2nd Canadian Edition
- Introductory Chemistry 1st Canadian Edition
- Mathematics for Elementary Teachers
- Antología abierta de literatura hispana
- Essentials of Linguistics
- Nature of Geographic Information
- Knowing Home: Braiding Indigenous Science with Western Science, Book 1
- Greek and Latin Roots Part II
- Foundations of Learning and Instructional Design Technology
- An Urgency of Teachers
- Pressbooks Guide