Writing a Draft
The first draft is probably the hardest part of making an open textbook. A few hints to get you writing faster:
- Begin with defining learning objectives and key terms. This assures you or your group are writing, very specifically, to set goals and objectives. Decide on key terms and vocabulary early in the drafting process to help with consistency throughout the textbook.
- Draft in a flash. Get your ideas drafted quickly, without formatting. Don’t worry about headings, graphics, or other issues. It may help prevent writer’s block. There will be time to proofread, copyedit and format the book later.
- Create a resource wish list. Keep a list of materials you’d like to include in the book, but haven’t found yet. If you need a break from writing, work on the list.
Commonly, open textbooks are authored by a group. This is either by design, as with a curriculum committee, or because of shared interest among colleagues. In either situation, when more than one person is writing, it helps to have clearly defined roles to expedite the process.
- If possible, bring everyone together to launch the project. Brainstorm topics and concepts to define scope and give everyone a voice in the overall product. Having everyone on board early will prevent rework and confusion as the project progresses.
- During the drafting process, work together to identify learning objectives, key terms and potential resources. Doing so assures that everyone is working to the same end.
- Divide the work by defining roles.
Common Group Roles
- Writer: Writes draft with consist voice and tone. Since writing is especially time-consuming, it helps to have a few writers, especially if a group has more than three people.
- Curator: Finds or makes supplemental resources. The writer may request materials from the curator, using the resource wish list.
- Archivist: Documents resources used throughout the book. Works with the writer and curator to manage assets. This person may also check attribution in a final draft, and provide appropriate captions and other related help.
For additional roles in making open textbooks, see the chapter Defining Your Role.