Learning Technology

Open iBooks, OER on the iPad

October 1st, 2012 at 04:10

The PARiS project is drawing to a close and all but one of the ten credit ‘sustainability’ modules that have been produced as part of the project are now live on the U-Now site, with the last remaining module scheduled for publication this week. A couple of months ago we identified an opportunity to enhance the outputs of the project by also creating iBook versions of some of the modules.

In total, we produced 10 x 10 credit modules as part of the project, and will be making three of them available as iBooks in the next few weeks.

Screen Shot from the iBook

The titles that we will be publishing in iBook form are:

Sustainability and Engineering

Sustainability in the Arts and Humanities

Sustainability – The Geography Perspective

This will be the first time that the Open Nottingham team has published iBooks, so it is great  to be able to push the boundaries as part of an OER project. They will be  available for download from the Apple iBook store, and we will also be making  an e-pub version available so that the content is accessible across other           platforms and devices.

Screen Shot from the iBookThe text based elements of the iBooks mirrors the HTML version that we published on U-now, so the content that can be accessed on the iPad, is already available for students and other educators in a re-usable format. This is important for us as we obviously don’t want to tie people to just one way of accessing resources and we want to let people get to the individual assets, but at the same time we see lots of value in offering the content through the iBook store.

A core requirement of the PARiS project was to use existing third party OER, and the iBooks have followed this guiding principle. We have supplemented text based elements with creative commons licenced images and have included OER from a number of different sources.

In fact, for books that might draw some criticism for locking themselves up in a propriety device, they are also strong examples of how OER can drive up quality.

Screen Shot from the iBook

There are also opportunities to use iBooks to enhance reward and recognition in relation to OER publication. This is something that is often highlighted as important for the sustainability of OER practices. For example, we have applied for ISBN’s for the iBooks, so the authors will gain an enhanced publication presence through offering content as OER.

Feedback on the work has been excellent so far, and a number of ideas have surfaced for us to produce more. For example, we are looking (outside of the PARiS project) to produce a ‘coffee table’ iBook based for our manuscripts and special collections content.

All three books should be live by October 19th and the e-pub versions available by the end of the October 2012.

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