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OER Textbook Project Planning Tips

What does an open textbook project look like?

A typical creation (or complex adaptation) project normally involves content authoring and content publishing elements and can be further broken down into five phases:

  • Priming: environmental scan to determine nature of the project/consultations
  • Pre-production: project planning and documentation, collaboration opportunities, sprint planning (if using)
  • Design: development of outline, selection of a style guide, learning objectives, etc.
  • Development: writing and editing, finalizing draft, copyediting, technical fixes, accessibility, etc.
  • Publishing: making content available, incorporating into curriculum, sharing with colleagues, and maybe printing your own hard copies

What resources are usually needed to create a book?

  • Technology: access to authoring tools and publishing platform
  • Collaborators: co-authors / co-editors depending on the project, experts who could provide advice in areas of editing and proofreading, copyright, instructional design, technology options etc.
  • Time commitment: writing a brand new textbook, reworking an existing manuscript or adapting another open textbook will require varying time commitment. On average it can take anywhere from 9 months to 18 months to produce an open textbook, depending on the complexity of the project.
  • A budget: depending on access to resources, an author might require access to funding to produce a quality publication.


This section was adapted from Starting in the Open Textbook Toolkit by University of Toronto Online Learning, licensed for reuse under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License