Announcing the Creative Commons Media Studies Textbook

MEDIA RELEASE 13 February 2014

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: http://mediatexthack.wordpress.com

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