First books published in TU Delft Open Textbook project
On 12 December 2018, the TU Delft Library will present the first open textbooks to be developed as part of the project of the same name. A wide range of educational material including lecture notes, old examinations and video recordings is already available as OpenCourseWare, as is the material in the MOOCs (free online courses). In order to encourage teachers to publish their books under open licence, the TU Delft Library recently started offering them support with the process. This approach is in line with TU Delft’s principle of transparency, including around education.
The digital books are useful for students as they are free and can be accessed anywhere and anytime using a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The author/teacher can amend the material or add to it at any time, so it remains a lot more up to date than when they have to wait for a new edition to be published. But what is even more important for TU Delft is that everyone who is interested can access the books and can reuse them (on certain conditions). "We want to create an online community around the open textbooks", explains Michiel de Jong, open textbook project manager at the TU Delft Library. “Not only students, but also fellow researchers, anywhere in the world, can read the books, offer feedback and reuse and edit the material, as long as they respect certain conditions (outlined in a Creative Commons licence). If multiple people work on the same material and continue to develop it, the quality of the work improves. And higher-quality teaching material also benefits the quality of education.”
One of the books to be presented, Delft Foundations of Computation, is a good example of the reuse of open material. When Stefan Hugtenburg and Neil Yorke-Smith wanted a new book, they decided to revise and add to Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ existing open textbook Foundations of Computation. Of course, they also published the resulting book under open licence.
The MOOC, Introduction to Aerospace Structures and Materials, is based on a first-year course of TU Delft's Aerospace Engineering degree programme. The team behind this course converted Associate Professor Rene Alderliesten's lecture notes into an open textbook for the MOOC. Gillian Saunders-Smits, project manager and teacher of the MOOC, also ensured that the e-book is as accessible as possible for users with a reading disability or visual impairment, in anticipation of TU Delft signing the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The book will also of course be used in the Aerospace Engineering degree programme, alongside the MOOC (that is set to begin its second run in March 2019).
At the presentation of the books, Gillian Saunders and Neil Yorke-Smith will discuss the process of writing and publishing their open books. Michiel de Jong will also use the occasion to introduce how the TU Delft Library supports lecturers with publishing their open textbook and how teachers at TU Delft can set about publishing open textbooks. Both lecturers will be presented with a printed version of their book during the event.