Kean creates template for online textbooks

Video and story by Maddy Mixter | Communications and Marketing intern
Maddy Mixter
Communications and Marketing intern

A new online textbook platform provides professors an opportunity to write their own text, as well as develop an evaluation process that gives immediate feedback to students.

Western professor Eric Kean has developed the online platform which he calls “More than a Textbook” (itsmorethanatextbook.com), and said that the platform can be adapted for any class. Evaluation options include multiple choice, numerical, fill-in-the-blank and free-response questions.

Kean said the process of writing a textbook in the traditional publishing method can take more than two years. However, many Western professors have written their online texts in only three months, he said.

Professor Sandra Alfers is currently writing an online textbook for a German literature course that she will be teaching in winter 2013. She said the textbook can add different media, including videos, while also being specific to the course and her planned curriculum.

“The book is written with Western students in mind,” Alfers said. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all model.”

Alfers said the platform gives professors the freedom to change the text if it isn’t working. The text is accessible at any time for edits, she said. This also keeps the price of the text lower for students, because they don’t need to buy a new edition every year. 


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