Yesterday I attended a Symposium on the Future of Course Materials held at my University. It’s the sort of thing I’d be really interested in regardless (I have been for over a year), but I was able to attend as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee on Innovation in Technology and Information.
And I had a very good time. The information wasn’t new to me, but I was really glad to see that we–as an institution–are beginning to think this way. The slate of speakers were Mark Nelson on Digital Platforms, Astley Gayle on Hand Held Devices, Andrew Pate on On-Demand Books, and Nicole Allen on Open Textbooks. I had heard Mark Nelson and Nicole Allen before, and it was a pleasure to hear their perspectives again.
Among the highlights:
They showed the “Future of Publishing” video that’s been floating around the web lately:
And we saw sample books and this video of the Espresso Book Machine:
There were discussions of devices, though I think that many people in the room probably agreed that further out it’s going to be more about content than container, and that the content will become more dynamic, interactive, and customizable.
And all of this has fit into what I’ve been thinking about lately in my Instructional Design Librarian role. I’ve been thinking a lot about Open Education, OpenCourseWare, and open repositories of learning objects. As you might know, I am a fan of modular, reusable content (and it shows up in my work), and all of this is part of the same big picture. I’ve been thinking of working up an open information literacy “textbook,” however, every time I think about it, it becomes more of a collection of modules (some text, some video, some interactive, some quizzing with feedback loops, etc) that an instructor could pull together based on their aims for the course. Hopefully, one day, I’ll make time for a project like that!
Others are thinking about this even more seriously. Steven Bell has been writing about Curricular Resource Strategy, which is in the same school of thought. If you’re interested in the topic, you really should go ahead and click through to read his “Not Textbooks” (pt 1), and (pt 2). My understanding of it is similar to what I was thinking about when I was thinking about an information literacy “textbook,” though it’d be across the curriculum and it wouldn’t necessarily provide a narrative structure for the course materials… though it might and I might not have read deeply enough on the topic yet.
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense that academic libraries lead the way on this.
- Libraries are the place on campus to archive work, to make it findable, and to help people find the best possible source for the issue they’re working on. This could go for this type of course materials as well as it does for current uses and research materials.
- Libraries have people on staff who know about copyright, intellectual property issues, and open access, and helping people understand the mash-up world of these types of resources.
- Likewise, many libraries have at least some staff who have some level of expertise in instructional design, who can help with the design of a course-specific resource once the resources are pulled together.
Is anyone actually doing anything in this area? Anyone thinking about it? I wonder if I can get going on a collection of resources in the next year or so…