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Pressbooks: Publishing Open Books and Online Modules from Your Desktop

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by Jennifer Peters, Seneca Libraries and the Teaching & Learning Centre

in the December 2019 issue


Pressbooks is now available at Seneca! Currently used internationally for publishing open textbooks, it’s now available to all employees and students at Seneca.

Pressbooks is an online publishing platform that was created to encourage and enable easy sharing of open licensed textbooks. Pressbooks has custom features that enable clean and easy graphic design, linkable footnotes, glossaries, and online self-assessment activities. Pressbooks can be used to publish a traditional textbook-like resource, an online learning module or tutorial, a guide or manual, and more.

Seneca Example
To see an example of a book published on Pressbooks, visit this text adapted by Tom Bartsiokas and Robin Potter for EAC594: Communication at Work. Tom and Robin used the “clone” feature where you locate an openly licensed textbook that has been published using Pressbooks software somewhere online, copy the URL, and then use the clone tool in Seneca’s Pressbooks installation. The clone tool copies the book exactly to a new URL, complete with all copyright attributions, and then you adapt and edit the text as needed.

H5P: Interactive Self-Assessment
Pressbooks also has the H5P tool integrated, which means you can create a variety of interactive self-assessments right in your book. Activity options include interactive presentations, interactive videos, interactive documents, drag and drop, image hotspots, flash cards, and a lot more. You can see examples of H5P content at h5p.org/content-types-and-applications. Please note: we do not have a license for H5P outside of Pressbooks, but we can export H5P content out of Pressbooks to use on other platforms (for example, in My.Seneca).

Getting Started
To access Pressbooks, visit pressbooks.senecacollege.ca. Sign in with your Seneca username and password and that’s it, you’ve activated your account! Try creating a test book:

  1. Click on “Create a Book.”
  2. Enter a website address for your book (this must be unique and cannot be changed).
  3. Enter a title (does not have to be unique and can be changed).
  4. Set your book to private or public.
  5. Once in your book’s admin dashboard, you’ll see a menu with a variety of items.

See the image below for a quick orientation to the admin menu, or you can watch the Pressbooks: A Brief Introduction video (5:58).

Pressbooks menu

Learn More
Pressbooks workshops will be offered through the Teaching & Learning Centre; watch MyPD for workshop dates and times. As always you can contact the Teaching & Learning Centre with any questions: teaching@senecacollege.ca.



View the December 2019 issue of the Academic Newsletter.

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