In July 2014, The Ohio State University Office of Distance Education and eLearning (ODEE) created Book Launch, a program that allows students, faculty, and staff at Ohio State to write and publish interactive digital textbooks. Currently, the Book Launch Digital Bookstore houses over 40 books that are either free or offered at very low cost.
Authors build their books during a five month long cohort cycle (books created beginning in January are released at the start of the following fall semester, and books created in July are released for the spring semester). As participants of Book Launch, authors receive digital and financial support from the ODEE, training and consultation, copyright protections, and use of a MacBook Air for the duration of the cohort cycle. Authors can work not only with the ODEE but with each other to collaborate on these groundbreaking digital books.
The digital books are created primarily using the Apple iBooks Author app on Apple devices, though the ODEE works with authors to make their materials accessible to students who do not have such devices by creating EPUBS or other eBook versions of the authors’ works. Not only can Book Launch textbooks be more affordable to learners than traditional books but they are portable and much more convenient to access because they can be used on a variety of devices.
Book Launch program goals include
- Using a cohort model, to foster and support a large number of high quality digital book projects, to reach students at Ohio State and beyond
- To establish Ohio State as the national model for digital book production and distribution in higher ed
- To increase student engagement
- To reduce the cost of textbooks and other course materials to students
- To enable anyplace/anytime learning through purposeful technology use
The goals of Book Launch align with the Unizin Consortium’s main mission of improving affordability, access, and learner success within the Academy. At Unizin, we are glad to have an innovative and truly excellent university like Ohio State as one of our members.
“We have [these] educational resources [and] it makes the world richer to share those, and that’s something we’re really committed to doing through this project,” says Liv Gjestvang, Associate Vice President for Learning Technology at Ohio State.