About the Project

Inspired by the CC blog about Finnish mathematicians writing a high school textbook in a weekend, we intend to hack our own open introductory media studies text for first-year university students, specifically those working within a cultural-studies framework.  In this discipline, texts at this level tend to be US-centric, especially their examples and case studies, and tend to neglect the mass-communication and cultural studies approaches, ideas, issues and theories that form the core of many programs in the Australiasian region.  Moreover, they are often prohibitively expensive for students.

The plan for this project, supported by a grant from Creative Commons, is to bring together a small number of institutions with a strong communications/media studies undergraduate program to hack together the core of an introductory textbook that will be made available under a CC license in a digital repository.  The goal is to produce not only the core of a rigourous and useful text, but also to document and evaluate the process, and create a framework that it can be replicated and developed in later texthack projects.

The project, funded for three months, will follow three phases.  The first phase will involve setting up the framework of collaboration, negotiating the common core of the communications programs that will provide the foundation structure of the text, and the development of assigned first draft pieces by individual teams.

The second phase will cover the hack weekend itself.  In this phase, the collaborating institutional teams will come together online to ‘hack together the text’ from the pre-prepared pieces as outlined in the framework, and document their experiences.  The University of Otago has committed IT resources to help facilitate communication and collate and store the outputs in an accessible format.

The third phase, after the hack weekend, will collate and document the process (into a ‘cookbook’ that others may follow for future texthack projects) as well as edit and refine the hacked draft ready for electronic publication.  It is expected that phase three will be completed by mid-December, 2013.

Central coordination and administration of the project will be based at the University of Otago.  This team will include an academic unit participating in the texthack, and a support team comprised of IT support staff, an educational technologist and a small team from the library, who together will manage connectivity between teams, facilitate construction of the text, and provide information resources and copyright advice.  This team will also take responsibility for making the final text available through its digital repository.

Each collaborating team will need to pull together their academic team (staff and postgraduates) to produce their sections of the text, and liase with their local IT and research support to help them participate in the online planning and progress sessions, as well as the hackathon weekend itself.   The text will be the equal responsibility of the collaborating teams, with equal ownership of the final text, under a CC license.  Each collaborating team will also document their progress and experience (i.e.: with a camera roving the session, filming and interviewing participants, as appropriate) as part of the documentation project.

SInce the project involves the production of not only a textbook but also a process guide, there is significant scope for teams and individuals to publish and produce recognized outputs around both the textbook and the documentation and discussion of the format and process of its development.


Interested in joining us? Drop an email!

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