Every CSU campus has a set of tools and an academic technology staff that can help faculty author online course materials for their students. Below are some of the tools. Remember to follow guidelines for authoring accessible content so the online content you create is usable by everyone, including those with disabilities. You can find information about authoring accessible content at the CSU Professional Development for Accessible Technology Teaching Commons.
Create Customized eTextbooks that are Low-Cost
AcademicPub – gives educators the ability to easily create their own custom books for use in the classroom -- in e-book and/or print format. Technology skills are not required – point and click, and your book is ready. Faculty have complete control over what is added and may add content from the AcademicPub Library, web articles and blog postings as well as self-authored content in PDF or Word format. AcademicPub provides real-time copyright clearance, the ability to see a running total price as you build your book, and a cost savings for students. Additionally, peer recommendations from colleagues in your discipline provide new possibilities to enrich your courses. Academic Pub has customized its services for your campus. Check it out!
- Faculty have complete control over custom content in their book
- E-book or print option provides flexibility for faculty and students
- AcademicPub provides a copyright clearance process that’s quick and easy to use.
- Helps keep textbook costs lower for students – the price of the custom book is determined by the cost of the individual materials chosen, and can be tailored to the student budget
- The AcademicPub Content Library provides access to a wide range of publishers’ materials – complete books, book chapters, journal articles, open education resources, etc – enabling faculty to choose only what is needed for the course.
AcademicPub is dedicated to making our content as barrier-free as possible for all students. Click for more information on AcademicPub’s accessibility strategy.
Flatworld Knowledge textbooks are professionally published textbooks that are brought to market under an open license (Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-NC), providing faculty with the legal right to modify and adapt the textbook to better fit their teaching/learning goals. The business model provides that there is an online version of the Flat World Knowledge original textbook or the professor’s derivative that is free for students to access, read, and use at any time. You do need to adopt the book you choose in order for your course to be established and for your students to access your specific content. When you adopt the book, you automatically register your book in the Find My Class tool. Students use ‘Find My Class’ to access your book and its many affordable formats (html; pdf; epub, etc), to audio, to print and study aids.
- Information about accessibility: Flat World Knowledge textbooks are readily available through a typical web browser online in HTML format, as well as ePub, mobi, PDF, and (in most cases) MP3 Audio file formats. Flatworld Knowledge’s ePub files can be sent to Bookshare (a non-profit organization that converts content to accessible format), who then produces digital Braille and DAISY reader versions, all available for free to any student.
Free Tools for Developing Online Course Content
Pachyderm is an easy-to-use multimedia authoring tool that creates web-accessible presentations. Designed for people who have little or no multimedia authoring experience, Pachyderm uses web-based forms and templates to help you organize and present your content: images, video, audio and text. CSU Pachyderm is freely available to CSU Faculty, Staff, and Students to support instruction, research, creative activity, and community service. Pachyderm can produce accessible online learning materials when authors follow accessibility guidelines. The CSU Pachyderm Gallery is a collection of examples of faculty, student, and staff work produced with Pachyderm.
Pachyderm is an open-source project developed by a consortium of higher education institutions and museums. The CSU's Center for Distributed Learning has provided a variety of development support to the project.
MERLOT Content Builder - a set of free, web-based tools that are designed for people just beginning to author online content. The MERLOT Content Builder can be used by any registered MERLOT member to create websites using templates for adding text, images, video, documents, links, and more. You can easily send a download your website as an IMS Common Cartridge, send a copy to a friend, add a Creative Commons license, and catalog your website in MERLOT so others can easily find it. The Content Builder can produce accessible online learning materials when authors follow accessibility guidelines.
FLOE, or 'Flexible Learning in Open Education,' Floe provides the resources needed to enable inclusive access to personally relevant, engaging learning opportunities for the full diversity of learners and content producers. Through the Open Education Resources community, Floe makes tools that help transform, augment, and personalize the learning experience. To learn more, review FLOE’s PPT.
Connexions Authoring: Connexions is an open source platform and open access repository for open education resources, enabling the creation, sharing, modification, and vetting of open educational material accessible to anyone, anywhere, anytime via the World Wide Web. From its inception, Connexions was designed to allow the collaborative development and free availability of material. Instructors and authors can modify this material for any educational purpose. Connexions offers Free/Open Source software tools to help students, instructors, and authors manage these information assets for sharing and advancing knowledge to benefit the global educational community. All of this is accomplished through the use of the Creative Commons Attribution license. Before you begin using the Connexions system, you should verify that you have all of the necessary software. Visit the Connexions Quick Start Guide for a listing of the software that you will need and the links to help you download it. The Connexions authoring environment can produce accessible online learning materials when authors follow accessibility guidelines.
Commerical Tools for Developing Online Course Content You Can Share
SoftChalk – a commercially available authoring tool for easy content creation that can be used by any level of developer to create online learning materials. SoftChalk can easily produce accessible materials that comply with section 508 requirements. Developers can produce a learning material in SoftChalk via an integrated SoftChalk/MERLOT interface, and can directly catalog it in the MERLOT repository. SoftChalk provides special pricing programs for the CSU because of its leadership of MERLOT. Learn more about SoftChalk discounts and services for MERLOT partners.
SoftChalk is dedicated to making our tool as barrier-free as possible for all students. Click for more information on SoftChalk’s accessibility strategy.
The Soomo Learning Environment is the easiest way to create an interactive course and track student progress. Our platform makes it simple to combine resources (ebooks, websites, OER, articles) into a single, easy-to-navigate course. Standalone or integrated with your LMS, your course will be highly accessible and will look fantastic. Students subscribe for $25 and there is no cost to instructors or schools.
Analytics track student participation in questions, polls, discussion boards, and other means of response. One click gives you the details on any student's work including time-on-task, score, and number of attempts. See who’s learning what and which resources are educating best. Best of all, our support team will help you build your course: copyediting, licensing, adding illustrations and photos, keeping tabs on your links to make sure they're still working, student tech support, and more. Real humans handling the tech so you can focus on teaching.
Soomo Publishing is dedicated to making our content as barrier-free as possible for all students. For more information on this title’s accessibility, see the CIA VPAT(pdf).