Creating an open textbook can seem like an overwhelming endeavor. Writing multiple chapters and supplemental materials presents the average instructor with an impossible workload and the necessity for large grants or release time. Creating an open textbook also involves much more than just writing, it requires reviewers, editors, and production help, as well as overall project management. Collaborative textbook projects can help distribute the work, as writing or reviewing single chapters is a more manageable commitment for a busy academic, as well a way to build a professional network, currency in the field, and publishing credits.
In this panel presentation, two team members on the Digital Citizenship Toolkit project will discuss their experiences working collaboratively on a pilot project to develop an open textbook. The Digital Citizenship Toolkit began at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario. Through a grant from eCampusOntario and in partnership with the Rebus Community, the project grew to include collaborators from the university and college sectors in Ontario as well as authors from around the world. We will provide our reflections on the powers of collaboration: the process of working across institutions and borders, finding authors, coordinating editors, embedding reviewers in the process, and encountering new opportunities to expand the project. We will also share our frustrations, from managing workload to communication difficulties, and strategies we developed to support the process, including thoughts on the preparation of project documents and guidelines to formatting reviewer etiquette. Finally, we will touch on how our experiences of this project are helping to develop a new, collaborative model for publishing open textbooks that will benefit others in future and also outline further plans with the project. Goals: Having reflected on our experience on the Digital Citizenship Toolkit project, we hope to produce a set of resources that will help other open textbook creators work more effectively together, especially when working collaboratively across institutions. We aim, with this panel, to facilitate a conversation about best practices in collaborative open textbook creation, and to hear from participants about what has and hasnt worked for them, a discussion that we hope will inform and enrich the resources we create and share with the open community. Panel members will include Michelle Schwartz, MLIS lead author and Instructional Design and Research Strategist, Learning & Teaching Office, Ryerson University and Ann Ludbrook, Copyright and Scholarly Engagement Librarian at Ryerson University