U of Minnesota Releases “Cultivating Change in the Academy”, Highlights Future of the Book

This collection of 50+ chapters showcases a sampling of academic technology projects underway across the University of Minnesota, projects that we hope inspire other faculty and staff to consider, utilize, or perhaps even develop new solutions that have the potential to make their efforts more responsive, nimble, efficient, effective, and far-reaching. Our hope is to stimulate discussion about what’s possible as well as generate new vision and academic technology direction. The work underway is most certainly innovative, imaginative, creative, collaborative, and dynamic. This collection of innovative stories is a reminder that we are a collection of living people whose Land Grant values and ideas shape who we serve, what we do, and how we do it. Many of these projects engage others in discourse with the academy: obtaining opinion or feedback, taking the community pulse, allowing for an extended discourse, and engaging citizens in important issues. What better time to share 50+ stories about cultivating change than in 2012 – the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Land Grant Mission!

via University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy: Cultivating Change in the Academy: 50+ Stories from the Digital Frontlines at the University of Minnesota in 2012.

Produced in just 10 weeks, this book is a snapshot of academic technology projects and research underway at the University of Minnesota. Of more interest to me than the speed with which it was produced or the subject matter are the formats in which the book was released. First, it is a blog and a website. Each chapter is a post with the text of the chapter embedded as a PDF file. The blog has commenting enabled, RSS feeds and its own Twitter hashtag, #CC50, so that readers may engage the authors in ongoing discussion.  Second, the work is available in EPUB, .mobi, and PDF formats so you can read it on the platform of your choice. The work carries a Creative Commons Attribution- NonCommercial- ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License making it possible to redistribute and reuse easily.

As I’ve stated in a prior post I think the future of books, especially textbooks and other educational materials lies on the web, not locked into some closed or crippled format. This book serves as an excellent example of the future of the book.


About Elmer Masters

Elmer R. Masters is the Director of Technology at the Center for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction (www.cali.org) where he works on interesting projects involving technology and legal education like eLangdell, Classcaster, Lawbooks, QuizWright, and the CALI website. He has over 30 years of experience building tech tools for legal education and systems for accessing law and legal materials on the Internet. He is the admin of the Teknoids mailing list (www.teknoids.net) and has been blogging about legal education, law, and technology for over 20 years (www.symphora.com). He has a JD from Syracuse University College of Law and was employed by Syracuse, Cornell Law School, and Emory University School of Law before joining CALI in 2003. Elmer has presented at the CALI Conference for Law School Computing (where he organizes the program), the AALL and AALS Annual Meetings, Law Via The Internet, and other conferences, symposia, and workshops on topics ranging from IT management in law schools to building open access court reporting systems to information architecture design and implementation in law.
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