In the debate on Open Educational Resources (OER) several questions dominate. For instance:
- Who generates the content?
- Who pays for it?
- Who cares for quality assurance?
Besides these there are certainly a lot more questions to answer. But while reading about book sprints I had the idea of producing OER in a short time with more than one participants. Publishing the final product of a book sprint in an open manner is an essential part of the whole concept, so to me the idea is not revolutionary at all. It’s more the follwing questions that need to be taken into account:
- Who comes together?
- How final is the final product?
- Under which circumstances is such a process appropriate?
A short research on “OER” and “book sprint” brought up the following results:
- The Wikimedia Association in 2014 called for participation in an “OER-Sprint”1and2.
- With the help of the open platform Booktype, the Open Knowledge Foundation and lots of participants the Open Education Handbook 2014 was written.
- The well-known L3T Book was revised in a book sprint. This process is being reflected in a publication.
- In 2014 the Technical Library Hannover took a book sprint in the context of collaborative science or Science 2.0 and made a movie about it. They used a software called handbuch.io that is based on MediaWiki. The result of the book CoScience can be found as a living document on the web.
- I found a report at O’Reilly’s about the writing process of the book OpenStack Operations Guide that describes a bit more in detail how it all started and how they iterated to integrate the community’s feedback.
Finally I learned that book sprints can be a means for a fast production of material needed for teaching (OER), for documenting software or processes of any kind. Crucial is: find the right people for a topic, find date and time to put them together in a room and find a facilitator that accompanies the book sprint. The result does not have to be finished. On the contrary, feedback and critique by experts and the community are important for assuring the quality of the book. Thus it is called a living book3.
Do you have any experience with book sprints, especially with writing books that are used in a teaching context?