Session 8: Authoring and Editing Logistics (July 22 M-1 Cohort)

Hello @July22-M-1-cohort! When we meet tomorrow, we’ll talk about some authoring and editing logistics — seeing what ideas you’ve generated from last week and ensuring that they can be smoothly executed. By the end of this session, you will be able to:

  • Discuss and delegate ways to split content creation and editing work throughout the team (consider: activities, prompts, sections, non-textual elements, subject-matter edits, copy edits)
  • Adapt an author guide and style sheet template to guide your team and collaborators through content creation and editing
  • Leverage your team’s project management tools to track the progress of your OER as it is being written, produced, and edited
  • Using your initial OER content structure, create a sample chapter to demonstrate project consistency and act as an exemplar for all collaborators
  • Practice incorporating accessibility into your authoring and editing workflows

Here are links to the slides and the handout . These are all contained in the Session 8 folder.

Looking forward to seeing you all soon. Remember: come prepared to discuss your “Plan OER Structure” document with everyone tomorrow!

Thank you @July22-M-1-cohort for attending yesterday’s session! A few reminders:

  • Next week, we’ll continue discussing your OER Structure Plan, so come with some ideas about how you’ll be structuring your chapters
  • If you haven’t yet shared your project summary, please do so! So far, I’ve read Vanessa and Demetri’s summaries.

Session 8 Recap

Session 8 helped emphasise the importance of authoring and editing logistics. We know from experience that if you carefully prepare and document your processes, writing, editing, and formatting becomes much easier. It also helps you communicate your project and expectations to other editors/team members who might be stepping in to collaborate on your project at a later stage.

Basic Docuements Needed

The following documents will guide your collaborators in their writing and editing efforts:

  1. A clearly defined author guide will help your authors and anyone else contributing sections to your OER to create content with accessibility, equity, and open pedagogy in mind. This, in turn, will also streamline the work of your editors as it hopefully reduces the time they need to remediate accessibility or equity issues after the fact. @mbilling and @vgonzalez will share a ROTEL specific author guide with you soon, with similar sections to this one, that you can use on your projects.
  2. A content tracking sheet and image tracking sheet can help your teams track who’s been tasked with the authoring and editing of specific content items including interactive content, or even images.

We recommend that you adapt and further develop these documents together with your teams and then share them with everybody as they embark to create or adapt content for your OER.

Documents to help new team members

Author Agreements could help clarify expectations for members in larger teams or instances when smaller teams work with people whom they haven’t collaborated with before. This might not be necessary for your ROTEL projects, but remember that if you are bringing new contributors to author sections for your book, you’ll want to get their informed consent on how they license their work and what compensation (financial or in-kind) they will receive.

The Project Summary is also an especially useful to bring new members up to speed on your project, including the context, goals, audience, and outline!

Sample Chapter

We recommend that you also develop a sample chapter. It does a variety of things for your team:

  1. It can help you convey the desired tone and style(s) of your writing. Seeing an example of a well-executed idea or chapter can help other authors with their drafts!
  2. It helps you determine the sequence of textual and non-textual elements in the chapters. This is a chance for you all to test the chapter structure you worked on last week!
  3. Last but not least, your sample chapter will demonstrate your standards for accessibility and inclusive, culturally relevant materials.

Writing of a sample chapter are homework activities, laid out in more detail for you in the handout for session 8.

Types of Editing

Editing gives your OER structure and appeal and thereby significantly impacts how useful it is for learners. The editing process - be it the more substantial enterprise or more focused on copyediting and proofreading - can benefit from the diverse perspectives in your teams as it puts you in a position to push for the changes that place equity at the core of your work. 2 kinds of editing are helpful on OER projects - one focused more on subject-matter and instructional design feedback, and another focused on grammar and stylistic errors.

Editing workflows

There is no “one size fits all approach” to editing workflows, you can determine your teams’ approach by considering the following few pieces of advice:

  1. Editing needs time, so plan well for it. Be intentional with your time and energy by avoiding too many phases of passing content back and forth between team members.
  2. For the project manager - we also recommend the timeless strategy of underpromise and overdeliver on deadlines. This builds in some cushion for when deadlines get pushed back.
  3. Be sure to foreground exactly what type of feedback you are looking for at this stage, as it can be tempting for folks to give a bit too much for the context. It’s okay to be directive here and provide a list and/ or style sheet that lays out what exactly should be checked.

Centrally, we always suggest: don’t let great be the enemy of good. Don’t dwell on making everything perfect on the first go. Remember that OER are living documents with opportunities for improvement in future versions.

In-Session Editing for Accessibility Activity

The final part in our session was dedicated to an editing practice activity that helped us identify a number of accessibility issues in an example chapter. If you are curious or want to go back to the activity, you can find the instructions and solution key in the editing activity template. Some things you all noted were:

  • moving the learning objectives to the start of the chapter
  • adding colour throughout to bring visual appeal
  • numbering headings and sections; figures; images
  • adding alternative text to images
  • image lightbox feature to more clearly see images in detail
  • adding diverse persepctives - female, trans geologists; or indigenous ways of thinking about plate tectonics
  • creating accessible tables
  • checking if references follow the suggested style guide rules
  • ensuring license is clearly stated and that items placed in the chapter are permitted for reuse

Next week

Next week, we’ll look at more ways to get feedback and input on your projects — through peer and other kinds of review. Getting a seal of approval or recommendation from an external reviewer can help make your OER stronger and more appealing to adopters, so we’ll see how you can work that into your projects.