Laurentian launches first free online textbook

Susan Manitowabi’s book on Indigenous history and contributions to the Greater Sudbury area now available for Open Education Resource Week

(N'SWAKAMOK/SUDBURY, March 4, 2020) Laurentian University is proud to announce the launch of a unique electronic textbook, the first of its kind distributed by the institution. It is entitled “Historical and Contemporary Realities: Movement Towards Reconciliation -- The Traditional and Cultural Significance of the Lands Encompassing the District of Greater Sudbury and Area.” 

The book is written by Jidmoonh-kwe, Professor Susan Manitowabi, an Ansihinaabekwe from Wigwaskinaga and a member of the mkwa dodem (bear clan). Developed with the support of the School of Indigenous Relations, it details the Indigenous historical significance of the lands surrounding Greater Sudbury, as well as the contributions of Indigenous peoples and organizations within the territory. It provides a basis for understanding cultural teachings, healing practices, and ways of knowing and being as a means of opening up the conversation around reconciliation.

Crucially, this e-Textbook provides guidelines on how others can produce a similar resource for their specific area, meaning the approach will hopefully be adapted elsewhere.

Though the content of this e-textbook was designed for use in two Laurentian classes, the material is provided as an open e-Textbook with direct access for educators and students. The easy-to-use web-based resource is downloadable in PDF, ePub, and other standard file formats. Users can mix and match the content from each module according to their own curriculum. The content for this e-Textbook is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution license and is available through the eCampusOntario Open Textbook.

Professor Manitowabi had a strong circle of cooperative colleagues around her in authoring this book. She worked closely with members of the Teaching and Innovation unit in the Centre for Academic Excellence, students, and fellow faculty members. eCampus Ontario also contributed funding.

Producing an open education resource was an exciting project to be working on. It was difficult to fathom what the final product would look like. It was like working on a jigsaw puzzle. Everyone had a piece that they were working on. I just had to trust that all the pieces would fit together. There was no pattern from which to follow, it was like a work of art, we wouldn't know what the final product would look like until the end. Even though we saw glimpses of the final product, it was not until it was put together that we could sit back and admire the work that we produced. Many thanks to all the contributors who helped to make this a reality. We had a very short time frame in which to put this book together. I am thankful for all the help that I had in producing this book. Without this team, there would be no book. -- Dr. Susan Manitowabi, Assistant Professor at the School of Indigenous Relations of Laurentian University