Exactly what we hoped would happen with open textbooks

I’m really happy right now, and it is all Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani’s fault.

Dr. Jhangiani is an instructor at Capilano University who I first connected with this summer when we were looking for faculty reviewers of open textbooks as part of the BC open textbook project. Dr. Jhangiani came to us with a Research Methods textbook that we didn’t know about and asked if he could review it as part of the project. At the time I thought it was fantastic that we had faculty bringing us open resources that we were not aware of. Really that was just the beginning of Dr. Jhangiani’s awesomeness.

A few weeks ago I was presenting on open textbooks at a conference in Vancouver where I had the pleasure to meet Dr. Jhangiani in person. We had a brief chat and he told me that he had adopted the textbook this fall. Awesome moment #2 from Dr. Jhangiani.

But today…today he took it to another level.

This morning I read an email he sent to me pointing me to his personal website where he has posted his revised version of the open Research Methods textbook that he reviewed. Seeing that completely made my week.

Dr. Jhangiani took an existing open textbook and did exactly what we hoped an instructor would do; revise it to meet his needs and then release it back to the commons under an open license for others to use and reuse.

And I suspect that the changes he made to the open research methods textbook will become valuable for others in the system as he has taken a textbook that was written with an American perspective and Canadianized it, removing American examples and replacing them with Canadian examples. He also modified the book to make sure that Canadian laws and perspectives on research were included, and added a table of contents, which the original textbook was missing. Heck, he even nailed the Creative Commons licensing.

Here is an instructor who has taken an existing open resource that was 80% of the way there and instead of going “this doesn’t meet my needs so I am not going to use it” took full advantage of the open license on the book and modified it to work for him. Not only has he saved his students money by making a free, open textbook available to them, but he has also made a valuable resource that others will no doubt use and benefit from.

This is the EXACT use case we have been hoping to see with the open textbook project. I have dreamed of seeing this happen and I am freakin’ PUMPED to see a vision realized. Thank you, Dr. Jhangiani! You have no idea how happy I am right now.

Okay, off to do a happy dance, Big Lebowski style

Ok, that might be a bit intense. Maybe more like John Candy style

Or….really…just take your own pick and join me in my happy dance.