Open Books

Voice in the Age of the Web

The intended audience for this is students, mainly my students in ENG 1123 (Composition II). I’ve decided to to Scribd because that gives the students more versatility in how they might access it than posting it directly into Blackboard would. I can embed it into Blackboard the same way I’ve embedded it into this blog post, and they can choose to either read online or download. They can also choose to download to a variety of devices.

So that’s that.

This is one of my answers to my college president’s mandate to switch over to the iPad. Scribd works very well with the iPad. The embeds like this don’t work so well on the iPad. In fact, they don’t work at all because they are Flash based. If you just click the link to go to Scribd, though, you move into html5 territory, and it all starts working like a charm.

And with a pdf document like this one, you can choose from Scribd to download into iBooks which gives you the reading experience designed specifically for the iPad.

It’s a plan I can live with. I’m going to start building, I think, a good bit of course content to share in this way.

This particular piece was supposed to be a rough draft of a textbook chapter. As a chapter, it was not yet complete. But as a class handout, it will do the job well enough.

I’ve had this ambition to write my own textbook for a few years, but it never seems to quite work out. I don’t have the time to see it through, for one. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m pretty horrifically over-extended. I’ve looked for other people to partner with me, but those who have been willing and able have also been stretched for time.

I also have this thing about not wanting to make any money off my own students, and this gets a little tricky with textbook publishing discussions because my students come from all over the state. There isn’t a way to sell it to the people most likely to buy it without me facing the dilemma of whether I am asking my students to purchase something for which I get the money.

I tried to come up a plan for publishing it and donating the funds to an organization, but that quickly became extremely frustrating because other people were making decisions about how it would be handled without consulting me first.

Meanwhile I get word that the president of my school wants us all to go to ebooks. The quickest, easiest answer I have for that is to make my own.

This is probably more than you need to know, probably far more than you need to know, but there it is. I’ll be posting a number of things in the next few weeks that are incomplete as textbook chapters but fine and dandy for class handouts. They are for my own students, but anyone is welcome to share.

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