The Cookbook

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 | peaer75p | No Comments

We are pleased to release “The Cookbook,” a CC-BY licensed report about the processes, perils, and successes experienced in writing the Media Text Hack.

Download the PDF of the report here:  The Cookbook. [pdf]

UPDATE [22 May]: The Cookbook is now also available from the Otago University Repository (OUR) digital archive HERE.

A Recap of a Texthack in Gifs (because why not)

Thursday, May 15th, 2014 | peaer75p | No Comments

Or for the full and proper version, read The Cookbook

The Texthack

Getting the idea








Searching for collaborators











Planning the structure




Organizing the project










(or getting the project manager to organize it for you)








Seeking out useful materials


Hacking the text – day 1








Hacking the Text – day 2













Link checking












Getting the ISBN and biblographic records in order


(getting the liaison librarian to sort it out for you when you get stuck)
















Seeing people using the text








attribution of all images lost to the internet

version 1 – the story so far

Friday, February 21st, 2014 | peaer75p | No Comments

Version 1 (the beta-beta, as it’s been jokingly called) is out, and it’s great to see through link and pingbacks that it is already finding its audience.  If you are using any part of the text (whether linking to our wordpress, or remixing the content on your own site) please let us know!

Here are some places where you can find the text.  It’s already indexed in library catalogues at Wintec, Unitec, and U. Canterbury.  When we get issued our ISSN number, we’re sure that number will increase.

We’re also seeing links back to moodles and other internal teaching sites for both universities and high schools – if you’re using it in class, let us know how it goes!  It’s great to see media studies programs in high schools like Mount Aspiring College taking advantage of the nature of OERs to supplement existing texts.

We’re also grateful to everyone who has reblogged and reported on the release, from as far away as Poland to as nearby as Horowhenua College in Levin, to the NZ Association of Open, Flexible and Distance Learning [pdf] to the University of Auckland library blog, to  the Vancouver Island University OER Directory and the CCANZ List.

Using the text?  Add your name to this list!


Press Release: v1 released

Thursday, February 13th, 2014 | peaer75p | No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                       13 February 2014

 Announcing the Creative Commons Media Studies Textbook

The Media Text Hack Group is proud to release v1 of the hacked Media Studies Textbook, following a highly successful remote collaboration with participants from across New Zealand and Australia.

The project was spearheaded by Dr Erika Pearson, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media, Film and Communication  University of Otago. As Pearson explains, “the textbook is designed to be used by students in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific. To this end, the textbook includes nearly fifty entries on a range of topics and issues common to curricula across the region.”

“We’ve also released the text book under a Creative Commons Attribution licence. This means that educators and students can adapt and rewrite the textbook using their own examples and explanations, without having to ask our permission in advance.”

Inspired by similar projects around the world, and supported by funding from Creative Commons, the Media Text Hack Group sought to act as ‘curators’ of the vast array of information about media and communication, and drew together examples specific to the region.

The text can be read linearly, like a book, and the online format also means that readers can also dive in and out of sections as they wish, following hypertext links across the material and out to useful information across the web.

As Richard White, Copyright Officer at the University of Otago, puts it, “This is a real 21st century textbook – I hesitate to even use that word – that harnesses the power of the web to break out of the print model we’ve had for the last several hundred years.”

“It’s open access, which means a lot of different things: it’s free; anyone can read it, use it, adapt it; it’s also open to wider scrutiny, which helps improve it over time.”

This first release represents a core of work based on the common curricula of media and communication studies programs across the region.  It is hoped that future versions will develop and expand these areas, as well as take advantage of new tools of collaboration and sharing.  All are welcome to take, use, recycle and adapt the material under the Creative Commons Attribution licence.

“It’s great to see an initiative like this coming out of the Humanities, where most similar examples have been in Science disciplines,” says White.
“Erika’s team have really achieved something wonderful here.  As far as we know this is the first initiative of its kind in NZ, and in this discipline, perhaps even the world.”

This release will soon be followed by a ‘cookbook’ which will discuss the process of developing the book.

As Pearson puts it, “this cookbook will hopefully guide and inspire others to produce their own open educational resources.  Open textbooks ensure that educational resources are accessible, affordable and reusable, helping communities to realise the goal of enabling universal access to education.”

This first release can be accessed at:

Kudos Where Kudos Is Due

Sunday, November 17th, 2013 | peaer75p | No Comments

The weekend is done, and what an amazing weekend it was.  Massive progress was made and some key issues uncovered in regards to running a texthack.  We’ll be co-authoring a full report over the next few weeks, but right now, as the dust settles, I just wanted to give all due credit to Martina, Khin Wee, Sy, Colette, Hazel, Massimilliana, Jane and Richard for their time and hard work in the leadup and over the weekend.  I’d also like to give special thanks to Bernard, who kept all the notes and did all the housekeeping chores so we could keep writing.  Give them a virtual round of applause (and one day, we’ll figure out how to get chocolate and wine passed around inside a hangout!)

The Weekend Is Almost Upon Us

Thursday, November 14th, 2013 | peaer75p | No Comments

And the preparations are gearing up and excitement levels are rising!  Project Manager Bernard has been keeping his own diary of developments over here, but just to recap, we now have several teams across New Zealand and over in Australia taking part in the hack weekend, linking up in the virtual world to hack the book and perhaps even hack the hack itself!  Outlines and ideas on form have been put forward, and great ideas progressed about taking advantage of the electronic, open form of the book to make it more than just a wall of text undistinguishable from any other book except for its license.  Locally, we’re lining up a small army of volunteers to help with editing, indexing the metadata and formatting the content produced by the hack (and to make the tea, very important job!).

There is little left now to do but hack!  We’ll no doubt be updating this blog with new posts, and twitter addicts can follow along @twitter using the #texthack tag.

Next stop, Saturday and the start of the hack!

Hack a Textbook in a weekend!

Monday, September 2nd, 2013 | peaer75p | No Comments

Do you teach communications or media studies at the introductory level in a tertiary institution in Australia, New Zealand, or the Asia-Pacific?  Are you frustrated with the textbooks currently out there?  Are you interested in creative commons or OER?

We are currently seeking partners to be involved in a Creative Commons-funded project looking into the process and practice of ‘hacking’ a textbook in the humanities. The goals are to produce a rigorous, useful, and accessible textbook that contains regionally-appropriate concerns and topics, and to document the steps so as to provide a production model that others in the future can follow to produce more open textbooks.

The project will run from late September to early December, 2013.  If you are interested in being involved, please send us an email.


Any views or opinion represented in this site belong solely to the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the University of Otago. Any view or opinion represented in the comments are personal and are those of the respective commentator/contributor to this site.