Students publish open textbook in collaborative assignment

An exciting integration between Canvas and Pressbooks is allowing students to take their research and writing to the next level. Pressbooks is the supported open textbook publishing platform at the University of Saskatchewan, and over this past year we’ve been supporting a number of projects that bring this textbook editor into your Canvas course. Student papers and assignments have been reimagined to contribute, more collectively, to a collaborative open publication. A textbook, an encyclopedia, a peer-reviewed collection of essays, lesson plans, article reviews, or any number of collaboratively formed publications are possible in this easy to implement group learning activity. Is this post we highlight one such project that promoted active learning using Pressbooks inside of their Canvas courses.

First Canadian Edition of the Project Management for Instructional Designers (PM4ID)

ETAD 874 is the Advance Instructional Design course in the Educational Technology and Design program in the College of Education. This course typically takes a hands-on, project-based approach to learning and this past term Dr. Paula MacDowell led the class in the adaptation of an Open Textbook on Project Management for Instructional Design. The ETAD 874 instructional design team collaborated to develop a project plan, created interactive media, edited the book content, interviewed subject-matter experts, and participated in the co-creation and sharing of knowledge to complete their First Canadian Edition of the Project Management for Instructional Designers (PM4ID) textbook.

The 14 graduate students in the class self-selected into three functional teams, guided by the Instructional Team made up of the course instructor, Paula MacDowell, the project client, Heather Ross, GMCTL and a Project Advisor, Alicia Accettura, teacher-librarian for the Coquitlam School District in British Columbia. The Design Team was primarily focused on the mechanical and visual aspects of the book, including selecting images, designing a cover, improving accessibility, and considering options for publication using PressBooks and print. This function dovetailed with the work of the Writing Team. This team’s work included improvement of chapters that have incomplete or dated content, content additions in the form of case studies, and reviewed and rewrote the Key Takeaways and Review Questions. Aspects of the book such as the Glossary and overall copy editing also fell within the functions of these two teams. The Video Team was tasked with expanding the book’s multimedia content. Updated video interviews with leading experts built the book’s relevance in the field of instructional design.

Intensive weekly communications, open practices, peer critiques, ongoing reflective inquiry, and experimentation with ideas were the Design-based research (DBR) elements that guided their collaborative partnerships. Digital tools that supported collaboration and team-building included Canvas LMS, Google Docs, Miro, Pressbooks, and WebEx.

In the end The ETAD 874 team were able to publish (including printed copies) the First Canadian Edition of the Project Management for Instructional Designers (PM4ID) textbook as proposed in their initial design document using the Pressbooks integration with Canvas. Dr. MacDowell found that, “the value of open scholarship is that students must read with a critical lens and not passively accept the textbook content.” and says she’ll use the Pressbooks/Canvas integration in her classes again.

If you’d like to initiate your own open textbook project inside your Canvas course or as part of your own academic research you can contact to start the conversation.

Feature Image: Photo by Perfecto Capucine from Pexels CC0