Open e-Textbook Use Case

This open e-textbook usecase was produced as a contribution to the ISO/IEC JTC1 SC36 Study Period on e-Textbooks by Phil Barker, R. John Robertson and myself. We’d be interested to know if this is an area that others are interested and whether anyone has any comments.


A teacher wants to collate open educational resources to create an open e-textbook


A teacher collates a range of open educational resources from different sources with different Creative Commons licences and creates an open e-textbook.

The source content may include assessment items, video, images, sound, text. This content may contain embedded licence information (e.g. in the exif or id3 file information for images and audio respectively), or licence information included as images or text in the content, or associated licence information in lmetadata records linked to or packaged with the content.

Level of participant(s) addressed

Applies to all participants.

Description or list of the technologies used

A wide range of technologies may be used. These include repositories, content management systems, web 2.0 tools, content-authoring systems, virtual learning environments, course management systems, search engines, licence embedding or attribution tools.

Scenario Sequence

  • Determine topic, curricula, textbook scope, learner requirements
  • Search for stuff
  • Find stuff
  • Evaluate stuff
  • Check licence
  • Select stuff
  • Assemble collection of stuff
  • Edit stuff
  • Format e-textbook
  • Create e-textbook
  • Disseminate e-textbook
  • Revise textbook

Primary Actor(s) and Role(s)

Teacher (content editor/ assembler)

End goal of activity

Students are provided with an open e-textbook tailored to their requirements by their teacher.

Trigger(s) / Pre-condition(s)

The teacher must be able to find sufficient clearly licensed open educational resources that meet their requirements

What issues or challenges have been encountered during the implementation and use of the e-Textbooks?

  • Content interoperability
  • Display of different media formats
  • Handling interactive content
  • Clear licensing
  • Licence compatibility
  • Maintaining granular licence information

Who is using what is described in this use case?

Widely used by learners, other teachers, and learning technologists.

Additional Information Relevant to Understanding the Use Case

A similar use case could be constructed for an e-textbook which did not use OER. However, the licensing implications and rights management implications would be very different.

Education institutions, the music industry and the church at #cetis10

Two interesting tangential conversations kicked off on Twitter this morning during Anya Kamanetz keynote at the CETIS Conference. One on the validity of comparing the challenges currently facing Higher Education to changes in the music industry and the other on the role of the church in founding education institutions and the effect of the Reformation on the church. So for those who missed these fascinating (yes really!) discussions on twitter, here they are again…

Comparison with the music industry

Anya made that point that although recording industry sales have slumped people are now spending more and more money on downloads and ticket sales to attend live performances. So although artists may receive less income from sales of recorded music they gain more income from live performances. Paul Walk of UKOLN felt comparing education to the music industry was unhelpful and David Kernohan argued about the validity of Anya’s assertion within the music industry itself. However Mike Ellis of Eduserv argued that this is indeed a reasonable model for comparison.

paulwalk Paul Walk
oh…. another comparison with the music industry :-(

dkernohan David Kernohan
musicians don’t mind about not selling music as they make money from live performance!! Not many musicians agree.

paulwalk Paul Walk
can we have a rule: no bogus comparisons to (mostly speculative) points about music industry business models?

m1ke_ellis Mike Ellis
@paulwalk don’t see it as that bogus – question is about openness, where the value is in the chain, how to cope

paulwalk Paul Walk
@m1ke_ellis music industry is pretty much passive entertainment. Hope HE hasn’t reached that sorry state yet…

m1ke_ellis Mike Ellis
@paulwalk you’re being too specific, surely? The point was surely not about the mode of use but the env in which the content lives

paulwalk Paul Walk
@m1ke_ellis I think the mode of use is crucial to figure out appropriate business models though

The Church, the Reformation and Educational Institutions

Early in her keynote Anya made the point that our current educational paradigm has changed little from the 11th century when educational institutions were founded by the church. I forget the details but somehow this kicked off a discussion on twitter about the impact of the reformation on the church and the role of the church in the formation of educational institutions.

KavuBob JohnRobertson
AK: “the cathedral of rationality”, sage on stage pointed to 1088ad illustration of origins; scarcity of knowledge

dkernohan David Kernohan
of course, churches *founded* universities to meet their needs as employers. (sound familiar?)

KavuBob JohnRobertson
@dkernohan yes, but (in Scotland post-reformation) there was an intent to educate whole populous->v. high literacy rates from 15thC

dkernohan David Kernohan
– comparing HE reform to the Reformation. Not sure the Reformation worked that well for the church, all told?

sheilmcn Sheila MacNeill
@dkernohan was thinking much the same thing

KavuBob JohnRobertson
Reformation just got hijacked to become the right to sit at home and watch football on Sundays #innerchurchhistoriancringe

philbarker Phil Barker
@dkernohan well, reformation certainly lead to *more* churches

KavuBob JohnRobertson
@dkernohan @sheilmcn i’d argue that- led to fresh thinking & renewed spirituality on both sides of the Ref split & more critical engagement

KavuBob JohnRobertson
@dkernohan @sheilmcn though perhaps no one has a neutral stance on that question :)

dkernohan David Kernohan
@KavuBob @sheilmcn aye, but also to several bloody wars, insurrections, torture…

sheilmcn Sheila MacNeill
@dkernohan @KavuBob I’m off to watch tv