Creating this Book
We decided to start our book creation process by taking the CHBE 220 lecture notes and writing them into Jupyter notebooks. The notebooks were initially created using Jupyter notebook through UBC Syzygy. The cells in the Jupyter notebook were written in markdown since this cell type allows for text formatting and equations (using LaTeX). The advantage of this platform is the ability to create books using multiple cells and run the cells separately, which was great for the editing process but caused a few formatting inconsistencies during conversion to Pressbooks. Once the notebooks were completed, they were uploaded to GitHub. GitHub allowed us to easily edit the notebooks and track the changes made on the notebooks. Once the final edits were made, we uploaded the final version of the notebook to Jupyter notebooks once again and redownloaded it as an HTML file. This process took us about 6 weeks to complete.
We uploaded the Jupyter notebooks to Pressbooks as an HTML file. After a few trials, we discovered that writing the Jupyter notebooks directly in HTML coding language, the uploaded file contained very few formatting issues in Pressbooks. Here is a useful guide for coding things in HTML in a markdown cell: Writing Markdown Cells in Jupyter Notebooks. After uploading the file onto Pressbooks, we reformatted the chapters slightly. For example, the (‘$’ and ‘$$’) code that was initially present in the HTML file was converted to “[l a t e x]”. Text boxes were also added to distinguish sections in the book (learning objectives, examples, exercises, etc.) The book content can be directly created in Pressbooks, but we found this method of editing and writing to be the most efficient for our working group and project. This process took us about 7 weeks to complete.
An additional feature that we looked into during the creation of our Pressbooks book was the H5P plugin. This plugin allows for a wide variety of interactive features that can be added to the book. For our book, we chose a flashcards plugin that was added to the review section of each chapter. This plugin was added to the book to allow for students to review some of the important concepts and terms in each chapter.
After completing each chapter, the book was reviewed by each one of us, and the formatting was edited throughout the process to ensure the chapter components were consistent. Once the final edits were made, the book was made public and the pdf output was reviewed to ensure no other mistakes were present. A few formatting issues were discovered in the pdf form of the book. Most of these mistakes were fixed, but some of them were difficult to fix, so they were left as is. Finally, the book was reviewed through the public link online to ensure there were no additional obvious mistakes that needed to be addressed. The process of reviewing the book and adding additional features and practice exercises took us about 3 weeks to complete.
Here are a few resources that were very helpful in our own process of creating this book:
- All things Pressbooks
- Making an Engineering Pressbooks of Your Own – Rick Sellens
- Self-Publishing Guide
BC Campus has a wonderful resource bank related to Pressbooks: