:sync: Pressbooks Futures: Discovering more open content and improving online learning

Author: Sarah Fennessey

Topic: Sponsor Session
UNESCO Area of Focus:
Session Format: Presentation




Pressbooks is an Online Content & Courseware Development Platform

Pressbooks supports blended and online learning in a modern and customizable way with an extensive directory of open educational resources and an intuitive authoring platform to create or adapt content.
Import content, add/edit interactive digital elements, deliver content in multiple formats, integrate content into learning management systems, and assess and track student learning—all with one platform.

@SarahF I was looking back at your speech, very interesting… and I’d like to ask about the option of having a self hosted pressboks. I found info and documentation for installing my very own instance of pressbooks! :slight_smile: But I wonder if you have info about cases like this where institutions hack their own pressbooks for authoring books. What has being their experience?

Hi Mario, thanks for reaching out with this question. A number of institutions have opted to set up their own self-hosted version of Pressbooks and have had tremendous success with the right team in place. BC Campus is a great example. Here’s an article from Steel Wagstaff that you may find interesting, he helped set up a self hosted instance of Pressbooks at UW Madison: https://medium.com/@steelwagstaff/getting-started-with-pressbooks-ee3e5f07f4d2. They eventually moved to PressbooksEDU, hosted by Pressbooks, to alleviate some of the pain points of self-hosting such as having to install plugins, perform updates, run database backups, optimize servers, and perform technical maintenance on the system.

I like reading these echoes of conversations from the conference.

There’s not much “hacking” to install your own Pressbooks node. It’s open source software built upon WordPress multisite-- it’s a lot of iron running to do a few books. Many institutions, like BCcampus (proud disclaimer I am working with them now on a project supporting faculty adding H5P interactivity to existing open textbooks). Many universities are running their own instance and many more running the hosted service as described in Steel’s article.

For many, it seems people equate them with digital textbooks, but I see other interesting uses- it is at its core, yet another publishing platform (that does very well with accessibility and publishing in a wide variety of formats, epub, pdf, mobi).

I even come across people building resource “books” where in the past they might have done a web site. I have seen them set up for workshop materials, where participants are added as authors to post their work in their own “chapter” page).

A really great example is veteran online teacher Laura Gibbs who has taken to using the personal publishing plan on Pressbooks.com to publish her collections of “TinyTales” (microfiction) but also teaching guides.

I think it would be great to tun some kind of discussion session or asynchronous one here during Open Education Week to talk about using Pressbooks for things Other Than Textbooks. One could even include a link to this session as a resource.

Can you hear the sound of me dropping a hint?

Thank you @SarahF and @cogdog it is very helpful to hear and see what others have done reusing open software, especially if it is in creative or new ways like that anthology.

Interesting how open software allows to proof-test and then gives the possibility to aquire the added value of the know-how and support. A different model.