Wednesday, May 6, 2015

IE UnTextbook Summer Diary: Wednesday, May 6

WOW, what a great day!!! It started with great news from Stacy Zemke, OER goddess in the Univ. of Oklahoma Libraries: I've got a grant to help me in developing the Indian Epics UnTextbook!!! I have PLENTY of public domain materials to make the UnTextbook work... but thanks to this grant, it is going to allow me to try all kinds of new experiments, building paths for students to follow in all kinds of directions.

* Amar Chitra Katha comic books. This is what actually got me thinking about how nice it would be to have some funding! I bought a set of ACK comic books for myself, and then got to thinking how cool it would be if there were a set of ACK comic books on reserve in the Library. So, even before the grant got approved, Stacy helped me get that moving through the Library, and I already started writing up Reading Guides for the comic books. So fabulous!


* Movies and television. One of the things I want to do with the grant money is to buy some films to have on reserve. There is already the genius public domain film by Nina Paley, Sita Sings the Blues, so that means there is already one movie for people to watch, but with the grant money I hope to purchase the full version (5 hours!) of Peter Brook's Mahabharata. I can writing Reading Guides to go with the films, helping students link up the movie versions to other versions of the epics.

* Audiobooks. I'm also really keen on making audiobooks available... ideally for remote listening, but I'm not sure about that; students might have to come in and listen to audio on reserve. In any case, I'd really like to share Devdutt Pattanaik's Mahabharata, and there are some other audiobooks that would be nice!

* Books. There are LOTS of public domain books, but of course there are also lots of books not in the public domain that could be really useful. I'd love to "synch" my own personal book library with the Library's resources, writing Reading Guides to help students navigate those books, seeing how all these different books connect. Best of all would be if the Library can buy Kindle books which students could rent and read on their own devices, using the Kindle Twitter feature to share highlighted passages! Now THAT would be awesome, but I don't know yet if our Library can do that.

So, this is all incredibly exciting to me. The Indian Epics UnTextbook was going to work great just with public domain content, but having a chance to interweave the public domain content with Library materials is going to be so cool!

So, that was the big news today, and then I also made lots of progress on the Public Domain Edition Ramayana: I am halfway done! Yep, I finished all the way up through page 40, which is the end of the first week of reading. Sita has been abducted by Ravana, and Rama is on his way to find her! They meet up with the rakshasa Kabandha and get valuable information from him; I was really glad to include the Kabandha episode because he is not part of either of the books I had been using for class — even though he is a super-cool character in the epic!


  1. Big Congrats on the grant!!! This is such a cool project.

    1. I am having so much fun with this! I did the Myth-Folklore UnTextbook last semester, and that one was easy to do as 100% public domain, but this class is different enough that I think having these materials in addition to the public domain content is going to be such a big help! I know I am having fun with the comic books, and I suspect the students will find them even more congenial than I do! :-)


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