eTextbook Initiative - Faculty Information

What is the eTextbook Initiative?

This initiative is a University-wide effort that aims to replace and/or supplement expensive, commercial course textbooks with free, faculty-produced electronic textbooks. These eTextbooks will provide additional content, learning experiences, and assessments not found in a typical textbook while simultaneously saving students money and increasing access to educational materials.

Overview

As technology has advanced, higher education faculty, institutions, and state systems have started to produce their own electronic textbooks. Typically, these self-published eTextbooks are either sold at a low-cost or made available for free to the general public. Higher education institutions around the world are now adopting these materials as a way to cut costs for students while continuing to provide high-quality educational materials. Some West Chester University faculty already use free eTextbooks produced and distributed by Rice University’s OpenStax program.

Certain types of eTextbooks also have the ability to provide content, learning experiences, and assessments that go beyond what’s typically encountered in many electronic textbooks. Using Apple Pages to generate an eBook in both ePub and PDF formats, faculty are able to create resources which can include more than just text and images; they also incorporate audio and video clips and links to other web-based tools, such as interactive images and galleries, rotatable three-dimensional images, quizzes, slideshows, and web-based software. According to research conducted by James Pickering, an Associate Professor of Anatomy at the University of Leeds and author of the multi-touch eTextbook Access Anatomy: Abdomen, students with poor exam results, “…consistently reveal a lack of engagement with appropriate learning resources,” and data in his study suggests that “…these issues may be remedied by using an eBook that contains a range of learning resources that can cater to individual learning styles” (Source: Medical Education).

We believe improving access to educational materials and engaging students using a variety of learning resources can result in improved student outcomes. Thus, this initiative aims to provide faculty training and support for eTextbook development.

Project Leadership

This initiative is overseen by the Office of Digital Learning and Innovation and led by Marc Drumm, Senior Instructional Designer.

Participation Eligibility

In order to participate in this initiative, you must be permanent, full-time West Chester University faculty.

Application Process

Towards the beginning of each Fall semester, a Call for Participation is sent via email to all WCU faculty. An application form is also included and must be completed in its entirety and submitted to our office by the listed deadline in order to receive consideration.

To guarantee that you will be contacted when the Call for Participation is sent, please notify Marc Drumm of your interest (contact information is listed at the end of this page). He will send a second notification email to those faculty who have explicitly shown interest in participating.

Update: Applications for the 2020-2021 cohort are being accepted through October 2, 2020. Download application.

Expected Participation and Deliverables

After the application deadline passes, a set number of faculty will be selected as a cohort. Throughout the academic year, they are expected to attend monthly cohort meetings and meet regularly with an assigned Instructional Designer in order to obtain training in eTextbook construction. Faculty who have completed their eTextbook by the end of the academic year will receive a stipend or professional development fund. As of the 2019-2020 academic year, the stipend is $2,500 for first-time participants and $1,000 for repeat participants. Please note that these amounts are subject to change from year to year and will be listed in the Call for Participation for any given year.

Content Terms of Use

By participating, faculty agree to share the final product with West Chester University students for free. Faculty will retain the rights to their eTextbooks and will be able to distribute their work outside of the university however they choose.

Technology

eTextbooks in this initiative are created using Apple Pages for macOS. The Office of Digital Learning and Innovation has a small number of Macs that can be loaned to participants who do not have access to one.

Support

The Office of Digital Learning and Innovation will continue to support faculty who want to add to or modify their eTextbook after their cohort’s submission deadline has passed.

Additionally, student support is available via this web site or by contacting the Distance Education Support Line (hours and contact information are listed on the office’s homepage).

Questions and Contact Information

If you have any questions related to the eTextbook Initiative, please contact Marc Drumm at mdrumm@wcupa.edu.

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