The BC Open Textbook Sprint – the afterglow

Note: This is a cross-post from our BCcampus Open Education blog.

48,420 words. 8 chapters.

Day 1

The first BC open textbook sprint wrapped up late Thursday night after 4 long days of collaborative writing, researching, editing and reviewing. We’ll have a more thorough debrief of the event in the coming days. For now, here is what is happening with the book.


Over the next 2 weeks, we will be moving the book into PressBooks Textbooks, the platform we are using as our primary book creation platform. For the sprint, we did not use PressBooks but instead used a collaborative writing platform called PubSweet, created by the BookSprints team. After discussing whether to use the BookSprints platform or our platform, we decided to use PubSweet as the authoring platform for the sprint because the facilitators were familiar with the platform. And, given the mammoth task ahead of us to create a 1st year Geography textbook in 4 days, we decided that rather than add a level of complexity onto the process, we would stick with what our facilitators were familiar with working with. So, our first task post-sprint is to transfer the book from PubSweet to PressBooks Textbooks.

This should not be a huge issue as PubSweet exports the book in ePub and PressBooks Textbooks (thanks to the work of programmer Brad Payne) can import ePub files. We had a few moments of concern with our first attempts to import the book into PressBooks due to the way that PubSweet packages ePub files, but a few emails back and forth to the PubSweet developer by Barbara our facilitators and we think the issue is fixed. So, task one is to get the book into PressBooks.


After that, I’ll be undertaking a thorough review of the book looking closely at how the resources we used are attributed. During the sprint, attribution of resources was often noting more than a link to where we found it (after we reviewed to ensure that we could use them under the open license we wished to publish with). But these resources are not attributed correctly, so that needs to be reviewed and corrected.

We will also have copy editors review the entire book. We are still working on the details of the contracts with our copy editors so that has added a bit of a delay in the release of the book. But, with some luck, we should have the copy editing underway in July and completed early August.

Finally, we will release the book. It will be available for download and reuse immediately after it is copy edited (we hope this will be done in August). Once it is publicly released, we will be soliciting peer reviews from Geography faculty from around the province, like we are currently doing with all the books in our collection.

There are many people to thank for making the past week possible. First and foremost, the 5 Geography faculty who were brave enough to commit to locking themselves in a room with a bunch of strangers to write a book in an incredibly short amount of time. The first to sign on was Arthur Green of Okanagan College, followed by Britta Ricker (SFU), Siobhan McPhee (UBC), Aviv Ettya (UFV), and Cristina Temenos (SFU). These people worked incredibly hard, putting in 12-14 hour days, to create the book. Barbara  Ruehling from BookSprints facilitated the entire event, assisted for the first 2 days by Faith Bosworth. UBC librarian Jon Strang was a priceless resource. The BCcampus support crew of Amanda Coolidge, Hilda Anggraeni (who was our illustrator and created & contributed dozens of maps and graphs during the sprint), Brad Payne and Christy Foote. Each of these people gave tirelessly to see the book created in 4 days and make this project happen.

See photos of the 4 day sprint on the BCcampus and BookSprint Flickr accounts. We also tweeted about it using the #bcbooksprint hashtag.

Day 1

All photos from BCCampus_news used under CC-BY-SA license


Clint Lalonde

Just a guy writing some stuff, mostly for me these days on this particular blog. For my EdTech/OpenEd stuff, check out


One thought on “The BC Open Textbook Sprint – the afterglow

Comments are closed.