Part I - Pilot Project

1 – Introduction

This open e-textbook (i.e., MEM) is a personal reflection on developing and deploying a collaborative open source e-publishing system for open e-textbooks in a mobile learning environment.  In addition, this is an alternative method to documenting the pilot project initiative and exploring “practicing what you preach” through creation of this website. The continuous online updating content (as evidenced by the revisions page), is a paradigm shift in the form and function of a digital book that is no longer a passive static product.

Books traditionally defined as a static literary composition (Apple Inc., 2005), are being disrupted or improved by technological advances. The computer has afforded an electronic conversion of analog content, perhaps most familiar as hard copy – printed books (“Book,” 2016). The electronic medium provides a dynamic synchronous and asynchronous transmittance of information over space and time. While the advantages for digital information production and consumption are seemingly limitless, the entire computing system exists by electrons manipulated into the binary number system (“Binary number,” 2016) and programmatically transposed into a pixel representation that is displayed on a two dimensional surface (“Pixel,” 2016). Hence, there is an inherent fragility and boundless potential for electronic media.

To exploit the potential of electronic media, necessitates at least three general considerations (Swettenham, 2006):

  1. Accessibility
  2. Transparency
  3. Stability

Accessibility in the human – technology interface will either promote or reduce utilization. If the book had been a technology that could only be used by a few people under extreme conditions, would it have been perceived differently than it is now? In example clay tablets that were fragile, heavy, and required much effort to produce.

Transparency of the electronic medium is important in sustaining the transmittance of the information from one age to the next. Regardless of platform or format, if the 0’s and 1’s cannot be easily deciphered by the next wave of technologies, the information may become irretrievable, much like paper that has been damaged by fire, water, or time.

Stability of the digital environment is critical to continued access and sustained transparency of the system.  HTML and open source standards are examples of strategies to promote controlled development of digital environs.

The choices in technologies in producing the open source e-textbook – Creative Clinical Teaching In The Health Professions – employed the aforementioned three considerations. In personal experiences with computing technologies, there is no one perfect choice, only possibilities that are optimal in the context of the situation.

References

Apple Inc. (2005). Dictionary (Version 2.2.1 (171.1)) [Apple OS 10.10.5].

Binary number. (2016, March 28). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Binary_number&oldid=712365266

Book. (2016, March 15). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Book&oldid=710197167

Pixel. (2016, March 28). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Pixel&oldid=712295292

Swettenham, S. (2006). SOS – In Search of Techno-Sanity … Retrieved from http://on-linelearning.ca/agora/deal/sos/

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