Read Electric Book Works: Producing The Economy: a case study in multi-format book production by Arthur Attwell (Electric Book Works)
Very rarely, a book-maker gets to add new tricks to the 500-year-old craft of book-making. We got to do that in producing The Economy.
This is an awesome piece with some good overview of dovetailing some of the issues between physical and digital publishing. Some good resources here to check out.

Originally bookmarked on January 28, 2020 at 01:55PM


Notice how print books have remained ad-free in an age when every other available surface carries advertising – something about print books has kept them immune from the disease of advertising.

Annotated on February 04, 2020 at 09:58AM


Books as websites can be public goods in a way that printed books cannot, especially for the poor.

Annotated on February 04, 2020 at 09:59AM


There are other great teams doing similar work: PressBooks uses a WordPress backend for online book and website development. Booktype, which has been around for a long time, also uses a browser-based editing workflow to produce HTML and PDF books. PubSweet is developing a modular editorial workflow, optimised, for now, for journals and monographs. The MagicBook project is being used at New York University. And our Electric Book workflow uses on- and offline static-site generation to make print and digital books.

Nice list of tools for digital publishing for the book space.
Annotated on February 04, 2020 at 10:01AM

Read Reducing Friction and Expanding Participation in the Continuous Improvement of OER by David Wiley (iterating toward openness)
I’m going to write a post or three about some of the friction that exists around using OER. There are some things about working with OER that are just harder or more painful than they need to be, and getting more people actively involved in using OER will require us to reduce or eliminate those po...
This reminds me I should write up something about using Webmention in conjunction with OER.
Bookmarked Full line up of OER20 featured speakers is announced by alt_fjones (OER20)
We are delighted to announce the full line up of featured speakers for our 2020 OER Conference. Joining The Zemos Collective and sava saveli singh who were announced at the end of 2019, we have now completed the line up with Joe Deville and Janneke Adema.
Listened to Want to succeed? Take an Econ 101 course by David Brancaccio from Marketplace

New York Times Columnist Nicholas Kristof thinks understanding the basics of the economy will help you get far in life.

https://www.marketplace.org/2020/01/28/want-to-succeed-take-an-econ-101-course/

College students receive any number of recommended introductory courses. But according to New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, one of the key classes you might need to take to succeed in life might be an introductory economics course.

As part of the Marketplace Morning Report’s “Econ Extra Credit” project, host David Brancaccio spoke with Kristof about how an Econ 101 class can provide a student with a robust toolbox that could be used later in life to both understand and address larger issues like rent control or how to fund a tax cut.

“We’ve repeatedly mangled macro economic policy in the U.S.,” Kristof said. “It’s pretty obvious that even lawmakers kind of have no clue about really basic issues, like you know, what a fiscal stimulus is.”

Click on the player above to hear their conversation on the merits of Econ 101, as well as Kristof’s thoughts on how introductory economics has adapted to better reflect real world economic issues.

This interview is part of our “Econ Extra Credit” project, where we read a new introductory economics textbook provided by the non-profit Core-Econ together with our listeners. If you’d like to join us in this project, email MorningReport@marketplace.org and let us know you’re reading along with Marketplace through the end of Spring.

I love the idea that Marketplace is planning on using an OER (open educational resources) economics textbook to do a public bookclub/MOOC/guided self-study of Economics 101. 

Naturally I worry that the participation rates will start high and end low, but the fact that they’re encouraging their listeners to expand themselves and delve a bit deeper than just listening to their show is fantastic.

And honestly, who couldn’t use an ECON refresher from time to time–particularly one that takes a dramatically different approach to the subject than the one many of us took?

Bookmarked Economy, Society, and Public Policy by Wendy Carlin, Samuel Bowles, Margaret Stevens, Eileen Tipoe, the CORE team (Electric Book Works | core-econ.org)

Economy, Society, and Public Policy is intended to provide hands-on experience for students in using data to understand economic questions. For each unit there is an accompanying empirical project called Doing Economics. These address important policy problems using real data. Doing Economics: Empirical Projects is available as a free ebook. We have also produced a guide to Doing Economics for instructors.

The textbook for Marketplace’s Econ Extra Credit program. (#)

Here’s a link to an .epub version and a .mobi (Kindle) version. For those who prefer a physical copy, Oxford has published it.

There are also app versions: Google Play, iBooks, and Windows App.

Read Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories. (nytimes.com)
We analyzed some of the most popular social studies textbooks used in California and Texas. Here’s how political divides shape what students learn about the nation’s history.

📑 Highlights and Annotations

Conservatives have fought for schools to promote patriotism, highlight the influence of Christianity and celebrate the founding fathers. In a September speech, President Trump warned against a “radical left” that wants to “erase American history, crush religious liberty, indoctrinate our students with left-wing ideology.”

I can’t help but think here about a recent “On The Media” episode A Civilization As Great As Ours which highlighted changes in how history is taught in India. This issue obviously isn’t just relegated to populist India.
Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:22AM

Pearson, the publisher whose Texas textbook raises questions about the quality of Harlem Renaissance literature, said such language “adds more depth and nuance.”

If they wanted to add more “depth and nuance” wouldn’t they actually go into greater depth on the topic by adding pages instead of subtly painting it such a discouraging light?

But Texas students will read that some critics “dismissed the quality of literature produced.”

Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:27AM

Publishers are eager to please state policymakers of both parties, during a challenging time for the business. Schools are transitioning to digital materials. And with the ease of internet research, many teachers say they prefer to curate their own primary-source materials online.

Here’s where OER textbooks might help to make some change. If free materials with less input from politicians and more input from educators were available. But then this pushes the onus down to a different level with different political aspirations. I have to think that taking the politicization of these decisions at a state level would have to help.
Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:30AM

How Textbooks are Produced

  1. Authors, often academics, write a national version of each text.
  2. Publishers customize the books for states and large districts to meet local standards, often without input from the original authors.
  3. State or district textbook reviewers go over each book and ask publishers for further changes.
  4. Publishers revise their books and sell them to districts and schools.

This is an abominable process for history textbooks to be produced, particularly at mass scale. I get the need for broad standards, but for textbook companies to revise their books without the original authors is atrocious. Here again, individual teachers and schools should be able to pick their own texts if they’re not going to–ideally–allow their students to pick their own books.
Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:33AM

“The textbook companies are not gearing their textbooks toward teachers; they’re gearing their textbooks toward states,” she said.

And even at this they should be gearing them honestly and truthfully toward the students.
Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:39AM

Alternate formats of An Urgency of Teachers by Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris

I’m gearing up my reading list for the holidays. I wanted to add An Urgency of Teachers: the Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy by Jesse Stommel and Sean Michael Morris. Seemingly I can only find .html, .azw3, and .pdf copies of the book, and I’d far prefer an .epub version. Fortunately the book has a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license (CC BY-NC 4.0), so I’ve spent some time this morning to convert an original and made myself an .epub version for my Android devices.

I’m happy to share it if others are looking for the same and don’t have the ability (or frankly the time) to make the conversion. I also have a .mobi version (for Kindle) of the text as well since it didn’t require much additional work. These are exact replicas with no changes and come with the same CC BY-NC 4.0 license. If Jesse or Sean want copies to make available on their site, I’m happy to send them along. 

If you have the means, please be sure to make a donation to help support the book and Sean and Jesse’s work.

Book cover of An Urgency of Teachers

Replied to Recommendations for (simple to use) Podcasting app? by Kim CarterKim Carter (Reclaim Hosting Community)
I am hoping to have a simple (to use) podcast where I can record pieces of lessons that are problematic and potentially have student guests for Q/A. Is there a domain app/plugin that is simple to use? What are you using?
In addition to all the other great recommendations, and in part to expose the idea, if you want to go really low tech, there are a variety of phone apps that will record audio in .mp3 format. If you give it a flexible enough license, you can upload/host your audio with notes and other meta data for free on Archive.org. (OER podcasting anyone?)

Then to quickly generate a subscribe-able podcast feed, create a free Huffduffer.com account (using the class name perhaps?) and use Huffduffer’s browser bookmarklet to save your Archive.org posts to your account. Huffduffer can provide podcast feeds out of individual user accounts, collectives, and even by tags, so you’ve got a lot of flexibility in how you and students can subscribe to content there. As an example you can subscribe to a “community podcast” for the tag A Domain of One’s Own.

If you create a custom/unique tag for the class, students can record and tag their own content to create an audio conversation back and forth if desired.

Read Opening Nouns & Verbs by Nate AngellNate Angell (xolotl.org)
The open education community I run with is filled with the kind of people who think words really matter. For a while now we’ve been debating what to call the things we care about and do: open practices, open resources, open pedagogy, open licensing, open this, open that. Our debate is hot enough to make some people turn away and others dig in. But when words matter this much it signals real tensions in beliefs, priorities, territories and relationships.
Read Opinion | How Professors Help Rip Off Students by Tim Wu (New York Times)
Textbooks are too expensive.
OER is a nice way to go, but I’ve also mentioned before how to restructure the textbook business so the economic balance is righted.

tl;dr: Professors aren’t doing the learning, so at most they should recommend one or more textbooks, but never require them. The students should choose their own textbooks or otherwise fend for themselves (many are already doing this anyway, so why disadvantage them further with the economic burdens) and direct market forces will very quickly fix the problem of run-away book prices.

Professors should not be middle-people in the purchase decisions of textbooks.