Textbook Success Program Syllabus | October 2019 Cohort

Textbook Success Program Syllabus

October 2019 Cohort
When: Fridays, 1:00-2:30pm ET
Where: Zoom, https://zoom.us/j/823176390
Facilitator: Apurva Ashok

Program Description

The Textbook Success Program is a professional development package that equips faculty, librarians, administrators, and managers with the tools they need to make great open textbooks. It is comprised of a weekly 12-session course, followed by 9 monthly check-ins, totalling a full year of guidance and support.

The goal of the program is to give an overview of the open publishing process, and provide creators with the necessary skills to apply this process to their open textbook projects. During the session, we’ll cover topics like defining the scope of a project, authoring and content creation, types of editing, peer review, formatting and layout, adoption, marketing, accessibility, and post-publication considerations. We’ll use Rebus resources developed over years of managing the creation of open textbooks, and also rely on our shared experience as we go through this process. The sessions will prompt us to think about questions like: how can we ensure that the books we create can be accessible to all readers? What markers of quality can we apply to open textbooks? How can open textbooks be maintained after publication?

Session 12 in the program is reserved for special topics and review based on the cohort’s needs. Please keep this in mind, and notify the program facilitator, Apurva Ashok, if there is ever a topic that you would like covered or reviewed during this final session.


  • Understand the stages involved in open publishing and Rebus’ collaborative approach
  • Develop knowledge of open publishing within your institution
  • Efficiently apply workflows and best practices to help your project progress
  • Connect with open education peers in a supportive learning environment
  • Gain confidence using open tools and approaches to advance your project and grow the community around it
  • Contribute to the OER community’s collective knowledge by sharing your year-long experience creating OER through this program openly, transparently, and publicly
  • Gather experience and be equipped to act as, and support, future open education leaders
  • Apply and adapt this approach in future to start, support, and complete any new open publishing project

Tools and Resources

Memorandum of Understanding

This is a cohort based program, where participants and facilitators will interact and engage with one another both on online sessions and in the cohort discussion space. We expect that these communications will be respectful, and that everyone in the cohort feels welcome, safe, and accepted.

To help ensure such a space, we’ve drafted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). It articulates community guidelines, expectations of all attendees, steps for reporting unacceptable behaviour, and consequences. Suggestions or revisions to the MOU are welcome. If you think there is something missing or needs to be changed, please let us know in the cohort discussion space. All cohort members must read through this MOU within the first week of the program, and let the cohort know in the discussion space that you agree to its contents.



18 October 2019
We’ll start off with group introductions and learn about each project, in an effort to build a network of support and an awareness of each others’ work. We’ll also share the Rebus approach to OER: how collaboration makes OER stronger, improves and diversifies content, builds adoption vectors, and increases community buy-in. Finally, we’ll discuss why considerations like accessibility, marketing, formatting should be made early on.

Framing your Project and Project Scope

25 October 2019
Defining your project scope and expectations is critical to a successful project. Here we talk about how to scope a project to get the most buy-in possible from the start, while incorporating accessibility and marketing best practices into the creation process.

Marketing and Communications

8 November 2019
Marketing and communications strategy must be more than an afterthought. Your method of talking about your project is an integral element of building a successful OER project. Sharing the project’s story helps grow the book’s community to build long-term sustainability and success.

Team Building

15 November 2019
In this session we cover various roles and responsibilities, tasks and workload, types of teams, and how to find people to help your project succeed. We highlight the ways strong leaders plan tasks, motivate the team, and keep the project on track. Finally, we discuss ways to manage a team consisting of volunteers and remote contributors.

Recruiting and Managing Contributors

22 November 2019
Finding authors and other contributors for an OER project is critical to its success. Striking a balance between their available time and the project’s requirements needs to be done with care and forethought.

Accessibility and Inclusive Design

6 December 2019
Thinking about accessibility and inclusive design up front yields resources that can be used by all students from the moment of release. By integrating these considerations into your project from the beginning you can reduce remediation work post-release.

Authoring and Content Creation

13 December 2019
Content is one of the most anticipated parts of OER creation. In this session we discuss how to produce strong content that is optimal for learners and consistent across the OER project, while also keeping in mind considerations such as target audiences, diversity, accessibility, downstream uses like remixing, localizing, etc.


20 December 2019
Editing is a critical phase of OER creation as it ensures the usability and readability of the text. We explore how it plays out throughout the creation process in different ways, and how it helps your project become a cohesive resource.

Peer Review and Other Feedback

3 January 2019
A critical piece of successful OER is getting feedback and review early on. In this session we talk about why peer review is important, how to get it done, and other methods to receive comments and critique on your project.

Formatting and Release Preparation

10 January 2020
Once your book’s content has been written, edited, and reviewed, you need to get it into formats to be shared in the world. We’ll talk about different approaches to formatting and layout, (using Pressbooks and other tools) and how to prepare for the book’s big release.

Post-release and Adoptions

17 January 2020
The book is out there. Now what? We’ll discuss adoptions, improvements, maintenance, and ways to expand your book so that it and the community around it live on.

Special Topics and Review

24 January 2020
Throughout the course, we will take note of sections to review and expand upon in this session. We will also respond to special topics of interest to the cohort. We encourage requests from participants early in the course so that we can prepare a meaningful and comprehensive response.

Monthly Check-ins

21 February 2020
13 March 2020
17 April 2020
8 May 2020
5 June 2020
10 July 2020
7 August 2020
4 September 2020
2 October 2020
Creating high-quality, accessible, representative, and valuable open resources takes time. We want to make sure that you have the support you need from this learning community for a full year. During the monthly check-ins, we’ll get a chance to talk about challenges and successes as you apply what you’ve learned in the previous sessions to your project. You can lean on the cohort to get answers, share their experiences, celebrate milestones, and get the inspiration or motivation you need to keep progressing!


We encourage transparency in what we do, so that everyone, including those outside the program, are aware of the work we are doing and can benefit from the knowledge shared. All communications will take place in the cohort discussion space. However, in the event of extraordinary circumstances, participants can contact Apurva Ashok privately via direct message on the Rebus Community platform: https://forum.rebus.community/u/apurva/.

@apurva Please add me to the cohort group in the platform + tag me in our ‘About the Cohort’ thread"

Done! Thanks for joining today, Walcir. I’m excited to reconnect next week. :slight_smile:

@apurva, 29 November is the day after US Thanksgiving, which I think many people take off–would we be able to consider either skipping that week or recording it? It’s such an important topic I’d hate for a lot of people to miss that session.

Nice catch! @arwalz also pointed out the same earlier, and I was planning to ask the rest of the group about it this Friday. If there are no objections, we can push all the sessions forward by 1 week. We’ll be sure to chat about it and make a decision together during our session this week!

@apurva - I work with @mooredm and would like to be added to the cohort please!


Hi Courtney, thanks for creating your account! I’ve added you to the cohort group, and also tagged you in our ‘About the Cohort’ thread. Looking forward to hearing more from you tomorrow, if you can join the session. :slight_smile:

Welcome Courtney! Looking forward to working with you.

I agree with taking this off. I will not be available the day after Thanksgiving.

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I just asked about being added to the group. Please add me when you get a chance. Thanks!

Thanks, Joe! It seems like there was a consensus on the call about pushing the session on Thanksgiving Day, so I will update the syllabus accordingly. I’ll wait to hear how people feel about the ones nearer the end of December and early January, before making any changes.

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Hi Mike! I’ve added you to the cohort group and also tagged you in our ‘About the Cohort’ thread above. Now @zoe can look into adding you as part of the team on the project page that @walcir.cardoso created. We’ll keep you posted!

Hi @Mike! Thanks for posting. I see you’ve now been added to the project - was that you, @walcir.cardoso? If so, could you let me know if you did something different this time?

Please note that the date for the February check-in has been moved from 14 Feb. 2020 to 21 Feb. 2020. Thanks all for accommodating this change!

@oct19-cohort — it’s come to my attention that our monthly check-in for April was scheduled on Good Friday, April 10. I suggest we move it forward by 1 week, to April 17. I hope this is okay with you all. Please let me know if anyone has any objections or conflicts!

I’ve updated our syllabus to reflect this change.

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April 17 is fine.


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Hi @apurva, I will have a full-day event on April 17, but if this date works well with the rest of the team @walcir.cardoso @Mike @am.senecal, then please just go ahead =) thank you!

Sorry that you won’t be able to attend, Chloe. I’m sure we’ll get a good report from Walcir, Mike, and Anne-Marie!

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