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Beta Project Introductions!


If you're a project lead on one of our beta projects, introduce yourself here and tell us a bit about you, your project, and why you’re interested in creating open textbooks.

You can also read through the other comments and learn more about others in the beta, who can be a great source of inspiration and support over the course of your projects.

Reminder: Once you have commented here, I will also make sure you have the right permissions to start setting up your project.

Look forward to hearing from you all!

Target Completion Date

1 Jun 2018


  • None yet.


Zoe Wake Hyde


Susan Jones


Deborah Amory


Cathie LeBlanc


Naomi Wahls


Kendra Mull


Apurva Ashok



  1. Hi! I’m Dave Braunschweig, a full-time faculty member in Computer Information Systems at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, US. I’ve been creating OER for six years now, and almost all of my courses are based on open content, with many striving toward open pedagogy as well.

    My project is to update and extend “Programming Fundamentals - A Modular Structured Approach using C++”, available from https://cnx.org, to make it a generic “Programming Fundamentals” title with code examples in C++, Java, and Python at least. Other languages (JavaScript, C#, PHP, etc.) would also be welcome. The programming fundamentals course I teach allows students to select their programming language. I typically have students using Python, Java, C#, and JavaScript. It makes the discussions much more interesting, because it constantly reinforces the difference between programming concepts and language specifics.

    I’m interested in creating open content from several perspectives. First, it’s a social justice issue. Making information and learning accessible enhances our community (locally and globally). Second, I know from experience that students are more successful with open content and open courses than they are with proprietary textbooks. Third, I am confident that there are others with similar interests who can help make this revised title much better than I would be able to on my own.

    I look forward to working with you!

  2. Hi Dave! Great to hear from you, and love your perspectives on creating open content (+100 for ‘it’s a social justice issue’!). I’ve just added granted you permissions to start setting up your project, so go forth and let me know if you run into any issues :)

  3. Hi everyone!

    My name is Cathie LeBlanc and I’m a faculty member at Plymouth State University in Plymouth, NH, USA. I started at PSU 20 years ago in the Computer Science and Technology Department (my PhD is in Computer Science) but about 10 years ago I moved to the Communication and Media Studies Department. I teach classes in digital media (focusing on games) as well as digital and media literacy. Starting in August, I will be the University’s first ever General Education Coordinator and plan to bring my interest in OERs to that role. Last year, I created an OER for our First Year Seminar (FYS) which was used as the textbook for all sections of that required course. In addition, students in my section of the FYS created an OER about fake news. Students in my class called Intro to Media and Cultural Studies began the creation of an OER about media studies. Creating OERs with students helps them to change their relationship to knowledge so that they begin to understand that they are not just consumers of knowledge but they can contribute to the knowledge ecosystem in a variety of ways. As I work with and on OERs, I have gotten interested in the Domain of One’s Own community as well as the IndieWeb community. I see a strong connection among these efforts in that they all seem to me to be about resisting the monetization of knowledge to the detriment of the least privileged among us.

    For this Rebus project, I plan to revise the FYS OER. I’d like it to be more interactive and to contain more topics about being successful in a University setting. For PSU, this means the OER needs more information related to project based learning, working on wicked problems, collaboration, design thinking, interdisciplinarity, and the value of general education in the 21st century. I think a lot of that material will be useful to any University interested in the long-term success of their students.

    I’m excited about the possibilities that will come with being part of this beta!

  4. Hi Everyone!

    I’m Luis R. Izquierdo, a faculty member at the University of Burgos (Spain). There, I teach subjects related to Machine Learning, Finance, and Complex Systems Modelling. I very much enjoy doing research on Evolutionary Game Theory, a discipline devoted to the study of the evolution of populations of individuals whose decisions are interdependent (i.e. situations where the outcome of the interaction for any individual generally depends not only on her own choices, but also on the choices made by every other individual). The discipline has countless applications that range from network routing to resource management, passing through evolutionary biology and international relations, to mention only a few. 

    My coauthors –Segismundo S. Izquierdo and Bill Sandholm– and I believe that Evolutionary Game Theory can benefit a lot from using both mathematical analysis and computer simulation, and we have started writing a book to show how these two approaches can be employed synergistically. The title of our book is “Agent-based Evolutionary Game Dynamics”, and it is meant to be a guide to implement and analyse Agent-Based Models within the framework of Evolutionary Game Theory, using NetLogo (http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/).

    As for my interest in creating open textbooks, I fully agree with Dave and Cathie above. I see knowledge as a public good that can be used to make this world a better place in many different ways, and which is developed most efficiently if it is shared and transmitted freely. I think the ethical commitment to make knowledge open and free is even more salient when the people who create it are paid with public funds (as is my case). I have been developing software and releasing it under GNU GPL for many years, and now I am very excited to have the opportunity to contribute to a book which will also be open and free for everyone! Thanks a lot for making this happen!

  5. Hi Cathie & Luis! Thanks for chiming in :) Have just granted the permissions you need so you can get started setting up your projects. Look forward to seeing them come together! Will keep an eye out in case you run into any problems along the way.

  6. Woah, feeling a bit intimidated by you all and your accomplishments.

    I’m Amanda Taintor hailing from Reedley College a small/middle sized community college nestled in the very rural Central Valley of California, USA. Formerly I taught Child Development/Early Childhood Education full time here but two years ago I transitioned to the role of Faculty Coordinator Instructional Design and Distance Education. I still have the opportunity to teach a few courses in Child Development throughout the year. My OER journey really began when I entered into this new role. I jumped in head first securing two grants for our college to begin implementing and using OER materials to teach our courses. Of course I turned to my child development peers first when I began to introduce the concept of OER on campus. They were extremely excited….that is until we realized the extreme void of OER materials in our field. When I first began my hunt for ECE OER materials I assumed I wasn’t looking hard enough, surely a field which has the lowest pay upon exiting higher education would have developed ways for students to save money while completing a degree. Nope….there simply is close to nothing out there.

    Now the hard part….to put into words what I hope to do. During my hunt I connected with numerous ECE professional across the US who had discovered the same lack of OER resources and were beginning to develop material. What I began to realize is everyone is frantically developing materials which is stretching our already exhausted ECE workforce incredibly thin. The replication of efforts felt incredibly inefficient but I have been at a loss as to how to facilitate better collaboration in the ECE field.

    I can’t exactly pinpoint a specific book since they all need to be written and ECE field in general loves developing specialty courses. At our college we have 32 different CHDEV/ECE courses! In my communication with other colleagues we are hoping at the very least begin collaborative work on the 8 core course of our discipline. These courses are universal in the California Community College system (there are 114 of us) and fairly universal nationally: 1) Principles of Practice 2) Child Growth and Development 3) Observation and Assessment 4) Introduction to Curriculum 5) ECE Practicum 6) Health and Safety 7) Teaching in Diverse Society 8) Child, Family and Community

  7. Amanda, I’m with you in being amazed at folks’ accomplishments. I am also in a Community College — Parkland College — in Champaign, Illinois.

    I am an “academic development specialist,” working with students in pre-college level courses. I spent 5 years at The New Community School in Virginia, a small private college prep middle/high school for students with specific language learning disorders. I learned how to work with student strengths and anxieties, and to design instructional experiences to build success and deep learning and student ownership of same. I’ve seen the difference appropriate instruction can make in a person’s life.

    I’ve come to specialize in math and collaborated with a math instructor to overhaul our lowest level math course from a tech-based skill-drill (ALEKS) format to a multisensory, conceptual one. I’ve shared the chapter on integers at OERCommons .

    Most research and emphasis on “developmental education” and math is on accelerating students, but scraping into that research yields quiet recognition that many students’ needs are unmet, and that quick reviews of procedures don’t hold up well. I’ve been involved in the adult ed community at https://community.lincs.ed.gov/ which has afforded me many amazing opportunities, including creating and sharing OER with Designers for Learning and Power in Numbers.

    Still, many widely used adult basic education math resources are an accelerated repetition of procedural instruction, and when that proves ineffective, the students are deemed “not able.”

    I think the OER community can and should collaborate to create resources to improve the cognitive accessibility of math, and facilitate professional development for effectively using them. There are some good ones already — even full courses with conceptual frameworks that could be adapted to be cognitively accessible to more learners. I think the OER community can create and disseminate interactive, multisensory OER to open doors of opportunity. Whether it’s lessons using manipulatives and pencil and paper (especially in rural areas or correctional institutions where internet access is limited) or interactive OER at sites such as geogebra.org , there is so much potential for reaching the adult basic education community. I rememberthis moment in this video where Susan Osterhaus credits the Nemeth Braille for opening up higher math to average learners; when she started it had been assumed that blindness precluded understanding past pre-Algebra. I want this to happen for adults who aren’t sure they can understand math’s abstractions. I see it happen with some of our students but I’d like to scale it up and improve it… but that will take a team :-) Hoping to find/build one…

  8. Hi Folks,

    Wow! I’m impressed by all the good work everyone is doing. It’s an honor to join this group.

    I am a faculty member at SUNY (State U of NY) Empire State College, where I teach anthropology, social science, LGBTQ+ Studies, etc. I have only recently started working in the OER world, thanks to a SUNY project to convert high enrollment general education courses to OERs. A colleague and I just finished designing Intro to Anthropology as an OER course, remixing/reusing an open textbook developed by the Society for Anthropology in Community Colleges — Perspectives. We are now working on converting the Sex and Gender in Global Perspective course to OERs… a more formidable task, as there is no single text out there to use.

    Inspired by all this work, I will be on sabbatical next Spring (2019) to complete work on an OER textbook for my Intro to LGBTQ+ Studies course. This is the project that we will be working on here too, with the help of Allison Brown from SUNY OER Services. There are only one or two textbooks out there that are relevant for an Intro LGBTQ+ Studies course, and all are from a humanities perspective. My goal is to focus on the needs of our adult/nontraditional learners, with an emphasis on social science and community and human services along side a humanities/cultural studies approach.

    I look forward to working with all and learning even more about OERs as we go along. And yes, as others have pointed out — I think this is an important social justice issue, particularly for those of us working in public education.

  9. Hello!

    I’m a PhD Candidate with Open Universiteit in the Netherlands focused on Open Virtual Mobility through Intercultural Learning and I’m also a volunteer UNESCO lead mentor for a project in Uzbekistan in Open Education for a Better World. Our project in Uzbekistan is focused on professional development of English teachers, particularly during their recertification process. Our first phase completes at the end of June and was mainly an evaluation of the current program and a mentor proposal of 3 future phases: virtual exchange, OER textbook/open book project through the Rebus OER beta project, and online course possibly through MoodleNet. The OER textbook portion involves having experts write book chapters on professional development of language educators and teaching methods and later a future phase will include a virtual exchange where graduate students perform case studies and write chapters on the case studies using the methods in the first portion of the OER textbook/open book. Our project is interested in an OER textbook/open book in order to provide education at a better cost to participants in Uzbekistan and also so that the book could be localized in other countries, such as Mexico.

  10. Hi all, thanks so much for jumping in and sharing your stories! And rest assured you’re all very impressive company, we count ourselves just as lucky to have found you.

    Amanda, Susan, Deborah and Naomi, you now all have the permissions needed to start setting up your projects. Earlier, Dave found that the create button was hidden on the front page until he logged out & logged back in again. We think we’ve fixed this so you no longer need to, but in case you don’t see the button, give it a try. Any other issues, you know where to find me!

    Thanks as well so everyone who has responded to the Doodle poll - next Thursday or Friday are looking the most likely but there are a few more people to reply, so I’ll keep you posted. If you haven’t added your availability yet, you can do so here. Thanks!

  11. Hi Everyone! 

    My name is Carrie Cuttler. I have a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of British Columbia (UBC). I’m currently working as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Washington State University (WSU). I teach Research Methods, Statistics (graduate and undergraduate), and Abnormal Psychology but have also taught Cognition and Memory and Developmental Psychology. Prior to working at WSU, I worked as an Assistant Professor at Concordia University and as a Curriculum Development Specialist at UBC. As a Curriculum Development Specialist, I created lab sections for the Department of Psychology’s research methods and statistics courses and I published lab manuals on research methods (Research Methods in Psychology: Student Lab Guide), and statistics (A Student Guide to SPSS).

    I learned about Open Educational Resources after being asked to join a Course Materials Reasonable Costs Committee at WSU. I was subsequently invited to join WSU’s Open Educational Resources Visioning Group and I became an Open Educational Research Fellow with the Center for Open Education. Last summer I received a small Affordable Learning Grant from WSU to create and adopt a third edition of the open textbook Research Methods in Psychology. It was a fantastic and rewarding experience and my students were thrilled to have a free textbook! Indeed, they were so delighted they voted me Best Professor at WSU and WSU’s student association granted me an award for Exceptional Usage of Open Educational Resources. As such, I was excited to receive another Affordable Learning Grant from WSU this summer to work on an OER for Abnormal Psychology.   

    I also recently submitted a research paper that focused on examining students’ perceptions, usage, and ratings of the quality of open vs. traditional textbooks in online and on campus courses. The results revealed that students reported utilizing open textbooks significantly more than traditional textbooks, they perceived a greater degree of overlap between the open textbooks and other course materials, and they rated the quality of the open textbooks significantly higher than they rated the quality of the traditional textbooks. This convinced me that open textbooks are a viable solution to escalating textbook costs and demonstrated several other potential benefits of OER. 

    I applied to Rebus Beta Projects with two of the co-authors of the Research Methods in Psychology: 3rdAmerican Edition open textbook (Rajiv Jhangiani and Dana Leighton). We applied to have the open textbook peer reviewed and distributed to a broader audience. 


  12. Hello everyone! I loved reading about all the projects here—such a great group of people and textbooks!

    My name is Allison Brown, and I’m working with Deb Amory on her Intro to LGBTQ+ Studies text. I work at the State University of New York at Geneseo and have been project managing, editing, and handling the technical production of open textbooks for five years. A lot of the previous work I did had limited collaboration, just me and the author, or me working with copy editors, so I’m excited to bring our processes out and be more open throughout the whole process and use the Rebus platform as a way to connect with the global open textbook community.

  13. Hi everyone! I am so excited and honored to be a part of this group! I’m Michelle Reed, the Open Education Librarian at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) Libraries, where I lead efforts to advance open education on our campus. In the (almost) two years that I’ve been at UTA, I established a robust program that includes advocacy, training, and support for open educational practices. Last summer Texas passed state legislation requiring institutions to provide students with searchable information about OER-only courses. So, over the last year, I led UTA’s response to the legislation and we now have two new course attributes integrated into our schedule of classes to denote these courses. (It’s a work in progress— still much to be done!) Over the last year I also participated in SPARC’s pilot Open Education Leadership Program. My capstone project for the program was an open resource to help institutions implement the legislation (SPARC profile here). My Rebus Project is an expansion of that work. I’m hoping to find contributors to share stories and case studies of their experiences implementing course markings, as well as other authors, editors, and reviewers. The expanded resource will be published in Pressbooks.

  14. Hi Carrie, Allison & Michelle! Great to hear from you all. Michelle, you’re a step ahead with your project already set up, and Carrie & Allison, you should now be able to move forward too. Thanks!

  15. Hi all,

    Ai managed to quickly read some of your introductions. Nice group and congrats to all of you for your accomplishments.

    For me it is already an accomplishment to be here.

    My name is Antonio, from Mozambique. I currently work for a Higher learning Institution as a programme coordinator for a degree in Portuguese teaching. All our programmes are online degrees and textbooks are a major concern.

    I would like to create a quality textbook to be used at our institutions.

  16. Hi Antonio - great to hear from you! We’re really excited to be supporting your project. I’ve just granted you permissions to create your project, so you can go ahead. Note that right now the language will be locked to English, but in our next release (happening next week) we’ve added fields for project (i.e. contributors should speak this) & book language. Let me know if you have any questions :)

  17. Hello everyone! I’m very excited to be here!

    I’m an associate professor of music theory on the faculty of the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam. I have a Ph.D. from UC Santa Barbara where I wrote my dissertation on Frank Zappa (more specifically, on the ways his work plays the perceived line between the worlds of “classical” and “popular” music).

    While at Santa Barbara, I joined a project to create an online remedial music theory program for incoming transfer students. I ended up writing over 700 pages of text, examples, and exercises, but the project lost funding in the web development phase and was never put to use. The text has been sitting on my personal website for a number of years now where it receives only a handful of visitors every year. I’m hoping that by working with SUNY OER Services and Rebus I can share this work with a broader audience.

    On personal level, as a classroom teacher I have been continually frustrated by traditional textbook publishing. My field—being as focused as it is on aesthetic traditions from past eras—sees curricular content change very slowly from year to year. In response, textbook publishers are prone to raising prices nearly every year and putting out unnecessary new editions that render rendering functional books unusable through superficial reorganization while adding little to no new content. My interest in OER grew out of efforts I’ve made over the past decade to liberate ideas and information that have been a part of inherited traditions for generations and make them, like the music they explore, available to everyone. Aside from my project here, I have been working on an ear-training resource that takes musicianship exercises from public-domain and open-source texts and puts them in a more accessible format. The website, The Trained Ear, will be getting a major update in the coming months.

  18. Hello all, I’m four months late with this post, so my apologies. Let’s say I’m challenging the limits of asynchronous discussion. I spent the summer in France, where I did my best to avoid anything that reminded me of work. That said, any work I might do pertaining to my Rebus project would be a labor of love. And I am excited to see your projects develop and am eager to help if I can.

    My own project will build a new OER dedicated to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus. Being 200 years old this year, Frankenstein is already an open text in the public domain, of course, but as a community college educator I am especially interested in seeing how students, educators, and Frankenstein scholars might collaborate to build learning resources around the novel, with a special focus on resources of use in first- and second-year writing and literature courses.

    Outside of my teaching writing, literature, and public speaking here at SUNY Corning (in the Finger Lakes region of New York State), I also serve a OER Faculty Coordinator and President of the Professional Educators of Corning Community College (NYSUT/AFT/NEA/AFL-CIO)….In addition, this year I am coordinating our “One Book, One College” program, the selection for which this year is… you guessed it… Frankenstein! In collaboration with SUNY OER Services and SUNY Press, we (SUNY Corning) have published our own print and online editions of Frankenstein, which feature openly licensed cover art by one of my students last year, Sarah Bogdan. My vision for this Rebus project is that it results in new editions down the road that include a nice selection of OER beyond the novel itself and the cover art, and that this edition will be so useful that students and faculty around the world will find it useful, perhaps even indispensable.

    Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read this long-delayed post!

  19. Hi Ryan! Wonderful to hear from you, and spending the summer in France sounds like a perfectly legitimate reason to be posting late, if you ask me! :D Great to hear you’re back, though, and back up and running with your project - it’s a very cool idea, and exciting to see how it will develop.

    In terms of the beta, we’ve been running calls with the rest of the group for the past few months, gradually working our way through different parts of the publishing process. These calls are all recorded, but it might be a lot to catch up on, so we’ll have a think about how to proceed - we can either loop you into the existing calls, or we are considering kicking off with another beta group in the next few months. The best option might be to have you join our next call so you can see how they go, then decide whether you want to continue on - I’ll be posting details soon on the drop in thread.

    In the meantime, I’ll also intro you to Apurva (my right hand in managing these projects) who’s particularly interested in this project as a former English grad. If we do start a second round of projects, she’ll be running the show, so good for you two to be in touch now.

    Hope to talk soon!