Hi everyone, I hope you all found some value in this week’s session on creating content. I know there are lots of different pieces to consider, but remember that the creation process is iterative — once you start, you can always layer on, expand, and improve your work!
There was a variety of resources shared in the chat transcript:
Content creation is one of the most important stages in the process, as this is where subject-matter experts put together the bulk of the resource. Regardless of whether you are a solo author or working in a team, the work you do in this phase can make the next phases of editing, review, and formatting much easier. Organization will be easier if you’re a solo author, but you will want to explicitly solicit feedback or review comments to bring other perspectives to the mix. Conversely, small and large teams will have a varied mix but may require more management to keep everyone on schedule. Documentation, templates, agreements and clear workflows will help keep things consistent across different sections of the book. The author guide in particular will be the cheat-sheet for contributors. It’s worth noting that with a large team of authors, you may not need the voice to be identical throughout. Ultimately, what you have is a collaboratively authored resource, full of interesting, original, diverse perspectives, and that can be very important to highlight!
Providing your authors with a clear structure or pattern for their sections can help ensure some uniformity throughout the book. Keep in mind that the body of the book is where the bulk of the content will be added; frontmatter and backmatter sections can be added in later phases to round out the resource. Get started by running through your Table of Contents with the authoring team and identify areas of overlap. This process can determine when concepts will be introduced, making it easier to construct each section. Before writing, decide exactly how elements will be laid out in the section, using the pattern of openers, body of the section (with multiple integrated pedagogical devices), and closers (take a look at the Open Education Network’s list of each). Compare this layout with traditional textbooks, work with instructional designers, and test it out visually in a model chapter on your publishing platform. If you’re including interactive or multimedia content in your text, be sure to provide an overview of any special tools used to your authors. Identify areas relating to accessibility and formatting that could begin at the same time as writing, and include them in your author guide. This will help you more easily work through the remaining phases in the publishing process, as you’re setting up for future tasks.
With all this set, you are ready to begin writing! Keep in mind some considerations as you go, and remember that you will continue to refine drafts during editing and review. Writing can take place over a long period, so do what you can to continuously engage and motivate all the authors on your team.