[Smt-talk] open access theory materials (forked from THEORY TEXTBOOKS)

Kris Shaffer kshaffer at csuniv.edu
Thu Apr 26 08:13:46 PDT 2012

As I was writing my reply to the very interesting thread on theory textbooks, my mind kept wandering off into issues of open access. Perhaps some of you have seen the recent book Hacking the Academy (http://tuclst.blogspot.com/2011/09/hacking-academy-ebook-volume.html). It both advocates for (in some articles) and exemplifies a publishing model based on crowdsourcing and free, open access. Many of us have generated concise, helpful materials for our students on different topics. I wonder if more of us made those materials available on the open web with a CC-BY license or something like it, and others set about the work of collecting and grouping compatible materials, how course materials might change for the better.

As an example, a small group of theorists who are like-minded about core topics and have complementary materials might pool their resources to make a single combined website/ebook/printed volume that collects their course materials in a more-or-less complete course package and offers that package freely on the web to others who might use it.

Or an individual or group could create an archival website (using Omeka, for instance) to which many of us could submit modular resources, and instructors could link to the specific resources they find most useful on their course syllabus. If that archive also collected submissions of syllabuses, other instructors could use one or more existing syllabuses as starting points for their own.

I'm wondering what others think about this as a possibility. I just get excited about open source, open access, and communal sharing of materials in general. However, I think that the size and cost of current textbooks, their lag behind developments in theory and analysis, and their gradual smoothing out of differences between different schools of thought make a strong case for more open sharing of short, free, quality, locally developed materials.

Kris Shaffer, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Music Theory
Charleston Southern University
twitter: @krisshaffer
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