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Open Educational Resources Collective Publishing Workflow

Gather User Feedback


Benefits of User Feedback

Once students and other instructors start using your open textbook, it’s likely you’ll start receiving feedback about its content. For example, students may find a particular unit or chapter hard to understand, or instructors may feel your textbook could benefit from additional case studies or exercises.

Feedback provides an opportunity for you to improve your textbook, including identifying:

Collecting User Feedback

It’s a good idea to encourage readers to offer feedback about your textbook. You can do this by:

  • adding a line to the preface or introduction that invites corrections or suggestions with a contact email address
  • adding a feedback page to the front or back matter of your textbook
  • using an external annotation tool (such as Hypothesis)
  • enabling comments on the platform where your textbook is published or stored
  • allowing readers to submit reviews after publication (for example, reviewing it in the Open Textbook Library).

However you decide to collect user feedback, ensure you include:

  • details about the kind of feedback you’re looking for
  • how readers can submit comments (e.g. by filling out a form, emailing a monitored address, etc.).

If your textbook is housed in an online platform that doesn’t use page numbers, it can be difficult to tell what section of the text the feedback applies to. In your request for feedback, encourage readers to be as specific as possible in their description (e.g. chapter two, paragraph three).

Implementing User Feedback

How you respond to feedback will depend on the type of improvement, update or correction that has been suggested or reported. For example, it may be:

It’s good practice to acknowledge feedback by thanking your colleague or student for taking the time to write to you. If you have information that could help an instructor use your textbook or ideas about supplementary materials, you can also include these in your response.

Attributions

Adapted from:

Maintain the Book’ in Self-Publishing Guide by Lauri M. Aesoph, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.

Improvements and Maintenance Summary’ and ‘Improvements and Maintenance Overview’ in The Rebus Guide to Publishing Open Textbooks (So Far) by Apurva Ashok and Zoe Wake Hyde, licensed under a CC BY 4.0 licence.