Robin Hill

Ellbogen Center for Teaching & Learning

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Writing Your Own E-Textbook: A Brief Overview

A textbook is assumed to be an original and comprehensive of instructional materials, prepared in advance of a class.  Given that almost any textbook produced now will be built on electronic files, a teacher-author who plans the composition carefully from the start will find the end product easier to handle.  We will discuss (1) authoring tools and platforms; (2) document structures and formats; and (3) distribution mechanisms. 

"Several different projects will be described.  Robin Hill's own goals are concise content, internal cross-references, an exercise bank, circumscription of extracts for discussion, and free distribution to students via posting online and free reader applications on various choices of systems. She writes in a plain-text markup language (XHTML) as the source format, with ePUB as the central document format.  She will also describe a textbook written by Bob Sprague in Microsoft Word for the ePub, mobi, and iBook platforms.  His goals are ease of authoring with a familiar interface, and well-developed publishing platforms.

Specific topics useful to many paradigms will include manuscript elements such as tables of contents and footnotes, file conversion, embedding of links in the text for references, accessibility, device variations, printing, and options for charging a fee."