A Continual improvement Paradigm for Modern Online Textbooks

Published 2015


Frank Vahid
University of California, Riverside

Daniel de Haas
University of Arizona

Sarah Strawn
University of Arizona

Susan Lysecky
University of California, Riverside

Roman Lysecky
University of Arizona

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Traditional college textbook publishing, for printed books as well as e-books, follows an “editions” paradigm, wherein a new edition of a textbook is developed and released every few years. The web has enabled a new paradigm wherein online learning material is continually improved, multiple times a year, and even live during a semester. We describe the technology and processes used at zyBooks to support a continual improvement textbook publishing paradigm, and summarize experiences over the past year with tens of thousands of students and hundreds of instructors using our materials. In short, via numerous user-feedback mechanisms, errors that survived the standard publishing quality control process are detected and corrected nearly immediately, such that rarely does more than one person ever see a particular error. Furthermore, such feedback often leads to live improvements to the material involving adding or rewriting some content to clarify material to be readily understood by as many students as possible, and also helps set priorities for larger revisions to the material done perhaps yearly. 

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