In the most recent installment of Digital Campus we discussed the rise of the e-textbook on college campuses and wondered how much longer it would take before e-texts replaced paper and glue texts as the primary vehicle for the delivery of information to students. The very next day my friend Sherry Linkon, co-director of Youngstown State University’s most excellent Center for Working Class Studies sent me an email about a job at YSU’s Maag Library for a founding director of an Electronic Textbook Center [download job description].
As the posting says, “The Center will support instructional faculty in the development of digital learning resources, electronic texts and the use of new and developing pedagogies all designed to promote the evolution and adoption of what are currently referred to as digital textbooks.” What I particularly like about the way YSU has framed this job is that the materials developed will be mostly for and within the open source/creative commons environment.
You might ask yourself, Youngstown? Isn’t that city dying/dead? I wondered the same thing myself until I visited YSU about a year and a half ago. What I found was a vibrant, exciting place where things are happening both at the university and around its campus. Unlike so many rust belt cities, Youngstown did not crash during the last decade or so — the big crash there was a long time ago. And the city has figured out ways to emerge on the other side of industrial collapse. The old mills have turned into art spaces, business incubators, and even condos, and the big homes of the steel barons (and their minions) go for a song compared to real estate prices in other cities around the country. Can you tell I liked it there?
If you are at all interested in the future of e-texts in higher education, I think this job is worth a look.