Defining your project is important not only because it helps you understand what you’re working towards, but also because it helps provide vital information and framing about the project to those participating.
At the scoping stage of your project, you will need to make some high-level decisions about your project. For instance, you will need to decide what license to apply to your book, what audience you would like the book to target, and at what reading level content should be aimed. In cases where projects are receiving grants or funding from organizations, you may need to adhere to the requirements of grant agreements. As you finalize this information, make sure it’s clearly recorded and shared with everyone on the team.
Before developing a project plan, you need to consider some of the following issues.
Open textbook or projects can quickly grow to become quite large as volunteers and collaborators see the potential impact of the book being created. It’s important that you define your project’s scope – what are you hoping to achieve in the first edition? What tasks and materials have already been set aside as future work? Whenever possible, remind your team about the project’s workload and timeline. Letting others know that there is a clear plan of action towards publication will help allay stress and anxiety. And if needed, revisit your project’s timelines so they are attainable, instead of just aspirational. As you work through these details you will need to create a project plan to outline the expectations and objectives of your project. To learn more about developing a project plan, review Elements of a Project Plan.
Consider what software you will use for authoring, editing, formatting, and publishing your book. We recommend editing and revising your book’s content in MS Word, Google Docs, or Pages, and after the book has been written using an open monograph publisher (e.g. Pressbooks) for formatting and publishing. Some formatting softwares don’t always produce a range of formats, which can impact how well a text can be accessed by students and by others who wish to reuse and remix your content. Selecting your tools at the start lets you focus on refining content at every stage, instead of having to make process decisions as you go. We recommend using the UBC-supported tools so that you can easily find help during your project.
This is the time to think about the future of your project once the work has been completed. Consider potential future revisions (by yourself or by others) and what will be needed. For example, providing transcripts and editable files so that work doesn’t need to be duplicated. Additionally, think about where your project will finally be living or hosted once the project is complete, and whether or not that place will be available long-term (archived) or has the potential to be taken down or become inaccessible.
Adapted from The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) by Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
Open Educational Resources (OER) are teaching and learning resources made freely available through the public domain or open copyright licenses.