WikiTextbooks

stemwiki_graphic

I also dig that their graphic includes Anthropology, albeit in kind of a strange place. Graphic from http://chemwiki.ucdavis.edu/, licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA.

I just discovered ChemWiki (a part of the STEMWiki Hyperlibrary) at the recent OpenEd conference, and I love it. The visuals, the layout, the searchability — all of these are great things and wonderful for students. (Being not-a-chemist, I can’t really comment on the content, but the folks behind it have considerable expertise.) I also love that it has branched out into other disciplines — Physics, Math, Stats, etc.

What’s even better is that their newsletter reports that this is being adopted in place of textbooks in several different schools, and its adoption in seven classes has saved students in those classes approximately $500,000.

We should totally have something like this for linguistics, and I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I would love to use a resource like this in the Introduction to Linguistics class that I teach. There’s a partially-done Wikibooks linguistics textbook with some excellent sections — however, other sections are clearly just imported from Wikipedia and not very textbook-like.

I would love to see a group edit of this in the style of the LSA’s upcoming Wikipedia edit-a-thon. In fact, since I have heard from some colleagues that a mass edit of Wikipedia may prove problematic due to Wikipedia’s editing policies, maybe including the Wikibook in this edit-a-thon would be a fruitful endeavor (and save linguistics students a lot of money in their Intro classes). A lot of the content is already there, but with an army of linguists it could be made into something comprehensive and wonderful.