OEG Live: Audiobook Versions of OER Textbooks (and AI Implications)

A conversation that started here in OEG Connect with a question on Audiobook versions of OER spilled over into several channels making for a compelling conversation for our unstructured OEG Live webcast show.

Join us for this episode June 2 where we hope to talk about the potential advantages of making open educational resources available in audio form, the ways in which it has and is done. But also, and more timely, we want to discuss implications/potentiality for the rapdily emerging AI tools to hopefully make it easier to produce audio (compared to recording and editing). Also, what are things we might do collectively to increase the amount of text content available in audio form?

When (in your local time): 2023-06-02T17:00:00Z

Watch live on YouTube (or later). No registration required. We can accommodate up to 8 panelists in our Streamyard Studio, but everyone is welcome to participate via the live stream and using the chat to ask questions/send comments that can be brought right into the studio. Or reply below with your questions or thoughts on this topic. After the show, this is the archived version that can be rewatched anytime.


Below are confirmed guests for this show (more details about their work in the replies below).

  • Amanda Grey @AmandaGrey Open Strategist at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, started this whole conversation with her question
  • Brian Barrick, political science professor at LA Harbor College and creator of the Audiobook of American Government OpenStax text and has been actively experimenting with AI for audio production.
  • Steel Wagstaff @steel product manager and tech guru at Pressbooks and has an active interest and platform insight for media in OER
  • Brenna Clark Grey @bgray educational technologist at Thomspon Rivers University, multi podcaster, AI questioner
  • Delmar Larsen @DelmarLarsen Director of LibreTexts has been actively deploying machine language for OER translation and has experience too with using it for audio production.
  • Jonathan Poritz @poritzj has created an entire Audiobook version of the of the Creative Commons Certificate

Keep the conversation going right here-- what is your experience with audio versions of OER text? Do you know of any specific examples? If you have been involved with projects like this, how have you gone about producing it? What feedback have you gotten on it? What are you using or experimenting with in regards to AI and audio content?


Stay tuned as we have just invited a few more guests to be in our studio, hoping that they have interest on short notice.

I was fortunate to sit in on an AI in Education online workshop at LA Harbor College co-facilitated by our guest Brian Barrick who will absolutely be worth listening to here next week. Slides from that sessions are available https://bit.ly/lahc-presentation-slides

Just confirmed! @DelmarLarsen will be in the studio too and sharing some insight into his experience on doing audio versions of LibreTexts content… from the original topic that started this:

Hopefully @annarmills and @AmandaGrey got my emails and are interested in being on the show :wink:

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Worth sharing here (as mentioned in original topic thread) is the Audiobook version of the Creative Commons Certificate for Educators and for Librarians published by @poritzj released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

Note the variety of formats (entire book, hours long) and chapter sections, plus his careful attention to attributing CC licensed media contained within the audio. An example Section 5E.3: Creating and Sharing OER (18:05; 23MB):

He’s got a voice made for audiobooks! We hope Jonathan maybe chimes in with how he produced the audio (and why).

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For some more fuel for discussion, I have written a bit about a radical change (for me) in podcast production of OEG Voices, going from a decade+ of waveform editing in Audacity to a new tool, Descript. It uses AI to transcribe audio, but also ties audio and sound together, so much of my editing is now via a primary text interface.

It has been a game changer for my podcast production (but took a while to get there).

Also mentioned:

And we now have a full house having confirmed for Friday that we not only have Amanda Grey from KPU who’s OEG Connect post started this whole thing and Brenna Clark Grey from Thompson University will be in the studio too.

This is gonna be greeeeeeeeeat.

A big thanks to all our guests in the studio and the ones who watched and interacted from the YouTube stream (now the archive of the conversation>

Here are some links mentioned in chat (help if we missed any there were a lot)

Update: We did it! :grin:

Developing Organizational and Managerial Wisdom – 2nd Edition (Audio plus text version)

The audio files sizes were too big to host inside of the Pressbook, so we hosted the files in our newly-created Open Educational Resource (OER) Content Kaltura channel. We embedded the full playlist for an uninterrupted experience, as well as embedding individual audio files into each chapter.

We were able to make the individual files available for download, but unfortunately weren’t able to find a way to mass-download all of the files.

I look forward to encouraging more of our faculty members to consider creating audiobook versions, and now that we’ve done one we can begin looking at ways to improve the process.

Thanks Amanda for not only starting a valuable discussion topic her that generated a good amount of discussion but returning back to share the outcome.

I am impressed with how much this adds to a published work, it not only addresses an issue based on accessibility, but offers all audience a different modality to “read” a book.

It reminds me of the other guest on this show of a podcast we did with Brian Barrick on the impact of his making his OpenXtax American Government OER available as an audiobook, how it helped busy students be able to “read” while they were doing long commutes.

And speaking of podcast, I wonder if publishing the audio in that format might provide a way for students to listen bby chapoter but also in a continuous mode.

I’m curious what went into producing the audio, is it recorded by the authors or possibly students? How much time/effort does it add to the publishing process.

We would be interested, if you are, in maybe a followup to this OEG Live show on what was learned and sharing the process.

And/or, I hope this is something you might consider doing during this year’s Open Education Week (March 4-8), knowing liikely that UBC will be offering many activities.

Thank you again.

I’d love to participate in a follow-up show, but depending on what you want to discuss other people may be able to provide more insight:

  • My role was figuring out what this would look like, how to make it work inside of Pressbooks and facilitation.
  • The audio was recorded and embedded by the author, so he could speak to time/effort
  • It was recorded in our Podcast Studio and uploaded to Kaltura, both of which were supported by the technological expertise of one of our Educational Media Strategists.

Feel free to reach out and we can chat more!