Session 2 - Framing your project & project scope

Hi @may20-cohort, reminder that our second session is taking place tomorrow at 3:30pm ET on Zoom (at our usual meeting link). I’ll send the password information over Direct Message for anyone who needs a reminder.

This session, we’ll spend about 5 minutes on introductions, 15 minutes on updates, and then 40 minutes on our session on project scoping. We’ll use the remaining 30 minutes for any questions or discussion!

Feel free to look at the handouts and slides prepared for the session:

  1. Handout: Framing your project and project scope
  2. Slides: Framing your project and project scope

Looking forward to chatting with you all again tomorrow! :slight_smile:

Another project homepage created, thanks @mbranson! This time for the Mathematics For The People: Quantitative Literacy For Social Justice book. We’ll learn more about the project plus hear from Mark later today!

Thank you @may20-cohort for coming to yesterday’s session! It was nice to round up the introductions and dive into the project scoping phase.

As promised, I’ve written up a short recap of our lesson and rounded up the resources shared in the chat. I’ve also answered some questions from the group below.


  1. @poritzj - you asked about whether Pressbooks supports Markdown. You can edit and format Pressbooks book in Markdown! Take a look at the “Enable and Use Markdown” chapter in the Pressbooks Guide for more details. Markdown exports aren’t available, but books can be downloaded in HTML & HTMLBook. Thanks Steel (from the Pressbooks team) for this information!
  2. @wernerwestermannj, @RobinArmstrong - I will be in touch with you both over direct message to get you set up in the Rebus Press (our Pressbooks instance). My apologies for the delay!
  3. Werner, you also asked about Pressbooks interoperability with Wikibooks — the Pressbooks team has offered to look into this briefly. Can you possibly share an example Wikibook that might use?

Chat Transcript and Resources

It was really nice to see the support and enthusiasm about the different projects in the chat transcript. If anyone would like me to anonymize/remove information from the transcript, please let me know.

Here’s a list of the resources shared:

Lesson Recap

This session started off with a brief overview of the different stages of the open publishing process. Knowing what goes into publishing can help you as a creator plan for the work involved. The model depicted in the slides is linear, but doesn’t always progress this way in reality (you could be working in many different stages at once). The Rebus publishing model in particular focuses on ways to bring collaboration, accessibility, and marketing into each of the different stages — to both improve the quality of the final resource and to grow the active community invested in it.

The project definition is foundational for the team to agree on the framing, goals, and work plan. We suggest filling out a project summary template with your team so far to get clarity on content to cover and larger project aspirations. The fields in the template correspond to the blocks on your Rebus project homepage, so make sure to update it once you have agreed on what to include! In the template, you’ll consider:

  • Title: informative for reader and adopter, but also marketing. Keep it simple and look to existing texts and community for inspiration. Avoid using OER or open textbook in the title.
  • About the project: brief, highlight any unique elements or aspects about the resource
  • Audience: think beyond course/classroom about student accessibility needs, reading levels, backgrounds, contexts, etc.
  • About the content: list of topics or concepts covered, plus a brief structural breakdown of the book or course materials
  • License: Creative Commons licenses will give upfront permissions to readers while you still hold copyright of the text
  • Team: list the full group of people involved in the project
  • Support or funding: mention institutional support and/or funding if applicable
  • Participation options: pathways to contact the team to get involved
  • Measures of Success: short and long-term goals that don’t solely need to be quantitative

The project definition phase is also useful to think about tools and software that you will use: first decide on what you need for organization, communication, and public updates. Then, consider tools necessary for authoring, editing, & reviewing; formatting & publishing; and ancillary or interactive learning materials.

Discussing the different fields in the template may naturally lead to the creation of an outline, table of contents, learning outcomes, concept maps, or chapter/unit descriptions. These elements can be very useful shorthands to refer to pieces of the resource, and will also serve as guides for authors. Once you’ve come to a good place with the team on all these different elements, you’re ready to think about next steps: announcing the project’s existence, sharing your outline for feedback, recruiting contributors for key roles, etc.