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H2O: an online platform for textbook development and distribution

Dustin Lewis, Project Manager, Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society
Tuesday April 16, 2:00 pm
SML International Room

The modern college textbook, often written with a specific course in mind, is expensive, inflexible, and hard to customize or update. Professors who wish to teach courses without adhering to a syllabus completely aligned with a particular text have only a couple of options: force students to buy an expensive book that they will only use a percentage of, or spend large amounts of time compiling other source materials into a custom coursepack.

The Harvard Berkman Center for Internet & Society has developed a Web-based platform — H2O — for creating, editing, organizing, consuming, and sharing course materials. With this capacity to develop countless customized electronic textbooks, they envision building a corpus of open-source materials available for dynamic use by faculty and students at Harvard and beyond.

Instead of locking down materials in formalized casebooks, H2O can make course books "free" (as in "free speech") for everyone to access and build upon. H2O charts an important path towards the development of twenty-first-century textbooks — a path that builds upon the ethos of open, shared, and available online materials. Please join us for an introduction to H2O by Dustin Lewis, Project manager for H2O at Harvard.

All are welcome to this talk, which is sponsored by Yale University Library's Standing Committee on Professional Awareness (SCOPA).