For the past few weeks I have been working closely with our colleagues at eCampus Manitoba to help them with an open textbook initiative in their province. Today Manitoba launched their open textbook initiative and new site.
The site will look familiar to you if you have ever been to our site at open.bccampus.ca. Because the code is identical, as is much of the content. Thanks to Brad’s API programming and the network architecture we put together at the beginning of our project, the Manitoba site was able to launch in a matter of weeks, not months.
Essentially, the Manitoba site is a replication of the BCcampus WordPress site, including the api’s that pull the textbooks, files and books reviews from SOLR (our learning object repository) and LimeSurvey (where we store our reviews) into the Manitoba site. When you look at a textbook on the Manitoba site, it is the exact same information you see on the BC site since the data sources are the same for both. The only substantial differences between the sites is the branding, plus some of the content that Manitoba has kept off their site since their project is not of the same scope as ours is (yet, he adds hopefully :).
Manitoba is starting with textbook reviews. This has been an excellent tool for us in BC to both getting faculty engaged in open textbooks, and to help address the quality issue of open resources. Like us, Manitoba is offering their faculty a $250 review stipend to get them to look at the open textbooks.
To begin with, Manitoba is shooting for 25 faculty reviews of open textbooks (and if you know or are faculty in the province of Manitoba, consider applying to do an open textbook review). We’re helping Manitoba to manage this review process, and reviews from Manitoba faculty will be licensed with a CC-ND license so they can appear alongside BC faculty reviews of each reviewed textbook.
These reviews are important, not only to help address quality, but to also help recognize adaptation opportunities. If a textbook needs work, that will likely be uncovered during the review process and the reviews can help form the basis of targeted adaptations later on, should Manitoba decide to go down that road.
I’ll be doing a webinar on open textbooks and the review process for faculty in Manitoba on October 22d. If in Manitoba and interested, you can register for the webinar on the new open.campusmanitoba.com site.