The Global Text Project (http://globaltext.org/) was initiated in early 2006 to develop a series of free, open content, electronic textbooks. A description of the Global Text Project is available on the project’s website.
The first book in the series is on information systems, because the founders of the Global Text Project are both Information Systems professors who knew many other IS academics who wanted to help start the book. IS professors have a long history of cooperating with each other on a global scale. Creation of an open content textbook on information systems required the cooperation of the worldwide community of faculty and their students, as well as practitioners.
The IS community, of all academic communities, should be the one that is an early adopter of technology that holds the promise of being able to create a state-of-the-art open electronic textbook. The Information Systems textbook created by the community aims to evolve over time to be best-in-class, up-to-date, and, perhaps most importantly, make available at no cost to students anywhere in the world, but particularly to students in the developing world.
The impetus for developing the business fundamentals text as the second of the proof of concept texts was based on the realization that it is a mistake to teach information systems in a vacuum, i.e. without giving students an appreciation of the organizational settings in which they operate. Accordingly, a table of contents was prepared and volunteers were recruited to serve as chapter editors and reviewers for a book on business fundamentals. Most chapter editors are academics who wrote their own chapters while, in other cases, teams of graduate students wrote segments of a chapter as a part of a course assignment. All contributions are gratefully acknowledged and the contributors names are noted at the beginning of each chapter.
We learned some things from developing the two proof of concept texts:
- Faculty members are busy people and, in most instances, a contributed book chapter is not as highly regarded for promotion and tenure as a peer-reviewed article in a highly-rated academic journal. As a result, delivery times of chapters varied widely. For example, one faculty member wrote his chapter over spring break in 2008, and two other chapters were finally written by new authors after it became clear that the original authors were not going to deliver.
- In the meantime, publicity received by Global Text attracted the attention of authors who either had manuscripts ready to be published or had texts that were out of print (most often as a result of consolidations in the publishing industry) that could be scanned, and published quickly by Global Text. Consequently, we are continuously searching for high quality titles in every higher education discipline. The plan is to create communities to get updated and to extend contributed texts.
- The idea of having students write a book as a part of a course assignment proved to be bear fruit as a books on IT Management and Change Management were created by graduate classes at the University of Denver and the University of Washington, respectively, during the spring of 2009. As discussed on the GTP website, the XML book that was created by students at the University of Georgia in 2004, and updated by successive classes since then, was a major inspiration behind the idea of the Global Text Project.
And now a bit about the focus of this text:
The Business Fundamentals text is designed to introduce students, particularly those in developing economies, to the essential concepts of business and other organizations. It does this by focusing on small, entrepreneurial start-ups, and expanding the discussion in each chapter to include issues that are faced in larger organizations when it is appropriate to do so. Traditional business models are discussed as well as eBusiness models, with appropriate links to the IS Global Text and other relevant websites. All major functional areas of modern organizations are covered.
A common thread in most, if not all, chapters will be applicable principles of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, although these topics are covered in depth in Business ethics in a nutshell. In keeping with the community-based content development principles of the Global Text Project, active participation of members of the global community of academics, students, and practitioners in its creation and continuing maintenance is strongly encouraged.
The business eco-system: Your path to finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow! and The mind of the entrepreneur: Your entrepreneurial journey begins by embarking on your own hero’s journey! feature a unique interactive option for readers.
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