Dr McComas Taylor, talked to the ACS e-Learning Special Interest Group last night at the Australian National University on role and nature of the "textbook" in the technology age. McComas described how he created a free open access multimedia electronic textbook: "The Joy of Sanskrit: A first-year syllabus for tertiary students".
The book is the first e-textbook available free for download from the
ANU Press. The Joy of Sanskrit is available for iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, open The Joy of Sanskrit by McComas Taylor and Grazia Scotellaro was published in 2014 and is available in a version for Apple computers, iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, plus a separate version for Microsoft Windows computers.
Dr Taylor expressed frustration at the need for separate versions of the ebook for Apple and Microsoft computers and hoped that this could be overcome in the future. One of the audience members suggested use of HTML 5 could overcome these problems and make for a more interactive electronic book, with products such as Educanon. The EPUB 3 standard also offer more interactivity.
Dr. Taylor also talked of the frustrations with the process of producing ePub format e-books, where the rendering of the format took a long time even after small corrections to the content. He commented there were good tools for Apple format e-books but not for multiple platform development.