This is a bulleted list of helpful tips on how to create your own OER works. As a foundation for your work, you can download any of the .DOCX files I have provided here of my textbooks. Doing this can save you a ton of time formatting.
- You know your discipline and you know your classes. Be confident and design the textbook to suit your class directly: It’s mostly for you. If other people agree with your approach to your course (and many will) they’ll find something useful in your textbook as well.
- Discover what free resources are already out there that you can make use of. There are many works in the Public Domain (mostly because their copyrights expired – Project Gutenberg, http://gutenberg.org , is a great resource for finding those) or offered under various Creative Commons licenses that mean you can use them.
- Get familiar with copyright and licenses, especially Creative Commons licenses (http://creativecommons.org ), and a CC-BY license is the one you should strive for.
- Wikipedia is becoming an increasingly quality resource, and I highly recommend looking to use it for things like background biographical information or similar bits of information. Of course, it varies in quality, but it carries a license that allows for its broad use.
- Make a very clear outline and plan for your book, chapter by chapter and section by section. This will make it smoother and easy to know where you need to fill in a gap.
- Create a reasonable timeline with some slack space and STICK TO IT.
- Openly communicate with your authors as much as needed.
- Be gracious to all those helping you. They are taking their own time to help with your project for no compensation.
- Write up a clear plan for your project, which includes a chapter-by-chapter breakdown, timeline, and general summary of your project.
- Stick (mostly) to your timeline! Be reasonable and flexible and have deadlines that can be missed but still keep the project on time. (This is worth repeating)
- Put your authors to work for you! Have them read and comment on chapters.
- Ask authors to generate whatever other resources they are willing to (questions, etc.) and if they have any suggestions or ways they can help beyond what you are expecting.
- When all is finished, convert your book to a PDF (easily done by saving it as a PDF in Word or other word processors) and convert to an eBook (ePub) if you so desire.
- Find distribution channels for your works, such as your own website or OER repositories, like MERLOT or the OER Commons. You can also look into other sites, like Amazon, your school’s library and bookstore, or other places like Smashwords.
- Make use of my site here where all the timelines, proposals, and information I used is catalogued. I am always up for answering questions on Open Educational Resources.
- Make a revision plan and keep notes on how to improve your work. Everything needs updating and revision, and it’s best to be prepared to do so.
Good luck! I will add here as I find things that I forgot to mention or as I receive questions and feedback on my OERs.
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