Steel Wagstaff presenting at a Pressbooks Users Group

OER & Open Textbook Development

LSS consults with faculty, staff, and students on the design, creation, and adoption of open educational resources and interactive open textbooks generally. We also offer training and support for the use of Pressbooks, an easy to use authoring and publishing platform that is freely available to all members of our campus community. We also coordinate a monthly Pressbooks Users Group meeting, organized along a community of practice model which gives Pressbooks users a forum to discuss successes, challenges, issues, and feature requests related to their ongoing projects.


Anyone in the College of Letters & Science (faculty, staff, and students) can request a Pressbooks authoring account.


Pressbooks is now a campus-supported tool. See this KB document to learn more about available support from DoIT Academic Technology. Consulting services from LSS for Pressbooks and OER development are only available for people with L&S affiliations. Users from outside of the college (and the university itself) can be invited to use Pressbooks, but must have a UW-based collaborator sponsoring the project.


To request a Pressbooks authoring account or if you are planning to use Pressbooks for a UW-Madison course and would like to meet to discuss ways to use the platform, contact Naomi Salmon, our OER Graduate Assistant for the 2018 calendar year or Steel Wagstaff.

We’ve also curated some online resources which may be helpful as you begin to work with Pressbooks:

  1. We maintain a general guide to using features of UW-Madison’s Pressbooks instance.
  2. Pressbooks maintains its own guides, one for educational users and one for general usage, as well as a collection of training and demonstration videos and a general help page.
  3. We are developing an OER Sourcebook that provides some models and walkthroughs you can use as you develop your own instructional materials. The British Columbia Open Textbook project has also produced a very good overview of some general open textbook authoring approaches. Finally, we’ve contributed to a guide to making open textbooks with students, as well as a website which displays a growing number of examples of “open pedagogy” from around the world.

Steel Wagstaff has written a series of articles about OER and Open Textbook work at LSS over the past few years. See

  1. Core Principles for an Open Authoring Tool
  2. Open Educational Resources at UW-Madison: An Update on 2016 Activity
  3. Getting Started with Pressbooks: A Guide for Higher Education Users
  4. Adding Interactivity to Web Annotation
  5. Connecting Pressbooks to Canvas: A Practical Guide
  6. Publishing Open Textbooks at UW-Madison

For more examples of open education at UW-Madison, see


Free for all users.

LSS Staff Contacts:

Steel Wagstaff

Instructional Technology Consultant


275 Van Hise Hall

Naomi Salmon

Open Educational Resource Development Teaching Assistant


299 Van Hise Hall