The open education movement is full of well-meaning, very smart people who get stuff done. My favourite kind of people! These people care about students, their success, and, most-importantly, their well-being. There are lots of ways to participate in this movement: you can adopt open educational resources (OER) in your classrooms, contribute to a project in a small way, peer review an open textbook, adapt a project, create a textbook from scratch, or become an open ambassador. It’s Rebus Community’s goal to support faculty, librarians, and other open practitioners as they create, adapt, discuss, contribute, and share open textbooks.
Rebus Community is an initiative of the Rebus Foundation, a Canadian registered charity based in Montreal. In 2016, we put out our first call for pilot project teams who wanted to create open textbooks with the Rebus team providing project management support. Since then we’ve collaborated on dozens of open textbook projects in a range of disciplines. Through our experience and in collaboration with a big beautiful community of OER nerds, we developed a publishing model that is based on open principles and can be replicated by anyone with the drive to create impactful, accessible, high-quality textbooks. Today, we advocate for this model of publishing by providing training, software and resources that support OER creators.
Here’s what we offer:
- The Textbook Success Program combines a twelve-week course and nine months of monthly check-ins. Participants are grouped into a cohort of creators from their campus and from other institutions. The result: hands-on experience with open publishing, the capacity to create more open textbooks, and a network of OER-practitioners that crosses disciplines, institutions, and countries.
- The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) is the openly licensed documentation of our collaborative publishing model. It guides readers through the process of creating open textbooks, starting with team building, moving through peer review, and finishing with post-release considerations.
- Our web-based software lets anyone create a project homepage for their open textbook project. The project homepage is public facing and can be used to amplify your project’s status updates, calls for participation, and eventual release announcement. Users can hold discussions on a wide array of topics, organize important resources, and connect with their team.
To date, we’ve had a number of projects concerned with language learning. I’m particularly excited about the Technology in Language Teaching team. They’re participating in the Textbook Success Program with an open textbook project that provides, “an overview of the theory and practice of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) for classroom and learn ‘anytime anywhere’ environments.”
In a meeting the other day, a colleague who once worked as a writing teacher said of language instructors, “They’re the first to break the rules and want to shift the normal practices of teaching.” As someone who works for an organization that supports alternatives to commercial textbook publishing, I hope what my colleague says is true. As I watch the language learning projects on Rebus Community grow, I am heartened. Let’s break rules!
Leigh Kinch-Pedrosa does marketing and communications for the Rebus Foundation in Montreal, Canada. Before joining the Rebus team, Leigh produced live storytelling shows and art installations, and developed a series of workshops that encourage entrepreneurs and academics to use personal storytelling to communicate complex ideas.