Re: Using LibreText development as part of online instruction spring 2020

Dawn Sumner

Hi Delmar,

I have 28 graduating seniors who have taken the topic of the class before and need 1 more unit of credit for the CA professional license requirements. Thus, they are familiar with the material for the new textbook. I also have these resources for them:

1) my detailed lecture notes
2) a reference text book
3) a lot of photos to use as examples

We are scheduled to meet at 1-2 on Fridays.

Thus, I think this is likely to be possible. Have you had any time to think about this? (It's really crazy, I know.)


On Sat, Mar 14, 2020 at 1:00 AM Josh Halpern via Groups.Io <> wrote:

This would make a great blog post


Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

-------- Original message --------
From: "Delmar Larsen via Groups.Io" <>
Date: 3/14/20 3:04 AM (GMT-05:00)
Subject: Re: [Libretexts-ConstructionForum] Using LibreText development as part of online instruction spring 2020


Yes. We have involved about 2,000 students to date in constructing the LibreTexts. In fact, the first develop step in building the ChemWiki was a 500 student Chem 2C general chemistry class. I have a general set of best practices in involving students, but I have them decentralized (I always wanted to collect and post them in some way).

[Dawn] Is there a guide or general outline of the steps needed to get a relatively large group of students developing content effectively?

Yes, but it depends on the level of the of the students and the goals (upper divisional works better for more synthesis related effort, while non-honors lower divisional students are best with other tasks). The easiest is pseudo-synthesis in which students reproduce with some originality an existing textbook. In effect, this is them building a "textmap".

[Dawn] Is it reasonable to be able to do so with no or minimal in-person meetings?

Yes. The optimal approach we found for student-center textmap construction is following a journal submission. Three phases: (1) construction, (2) peer evaluation and (3) reconstitution and rebuttal. I have used this three-phase approach in grad classes to teach the journal process and how to write a non-aggressive rebuttal letter to an editor. We have also used a two-phase (Construciton and peer review) and one phase (construction) also to less productive final output.

[dawn] Are there resources to help plan building a textbook from scratch effectively? I have a good idea of the content I want developed, but much less idea of how to coordinate development of that content in a course-based system.

I used a central table in my course shell on the LibreTexts for assigning duties. I will look for it tomorrow; I haven't done this for a few years and may have erased all names (almost guaranteed). If you are planing a textbook from scratch (i.e., not building a textmap), the hardest part is establishing the expectations for the students. Unless things are clearly laid out, there will be a wide range of output quality.

Let me ruminate over the weekend.



Dawn Sumner, Professor
Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of California, Davis

she/her or they/their (or anything else you'd like)

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