Open Access, Open Data, and Open Educational Resources
Announcing: Electromagnetics, Volume 1 by Ellingson
The University Libraries at Virginia Tech is pleased to announce publication of Electromagnetics, Volume 1 by Steven W. Ellingson.
Electromagnetics, Volume 1 is a 225-page peer-reviewed, openly licensed textbook intended for use in a one-semester, first course in undergraduate engineering electromagnetics. This course is typically taken by electrical engineering students in the third year of a bachelor of science degree program. The open textbook is currently being used in Virginia Tech’s ECE 3105 Electromagnetic Fields course.
The book and its accompanying ancillary materials (problem sets, solution manual, and LaTeX source files) are open educational resources: freely available and openly licensed (CC BY SA 4.0). Freely downloadable versions are available at https://doi.org/10.21061/electromagnetics-vol-1. A softcover print version is available via Amazon.
Features of the book: The book is designed to resolve pressing instructional, technical and financial barriers faced by students and to provide instructors with flexibility in rearranging the text for preferred instructional sequences. By following best practices for open and digital textbook production, this book offers the following benefits:
- Field tested content: Students were directly involved in field testing and in contributing figures. The text was used in multiple sections by different instructors. Students and instructors provided feedback and suggestions for improvement;
- Features that enhance understanding: These include examples, highlighted concept boxes, discussion of notation (1.7) to reduce ambiguity, appendices on constitutive parameters of common materials, mathematical formulas, and physical constants, and end-of-chapter links to external reference information;
- Supplementary learning materials: The book is accompanied by problem sets and worked solutions;
- Reusable figures: All figures are openly licensed and may be redistributed with attribution. Many are available in .svg format in Wikimedia Commons;
- Quality and clarity: The book is peer-reviewed and has undergone field testing, technical review, and professional copy editing;
- User and contributor community: Readers are invited to submit feedback. Instructors reviewing, piloting, adopting, or adapting the text are invited to register their interest and sign up to receive updates, find others using the book, and share openly licensed ancillary resources they’ve developed;
- Legal and no-cost access: Anyone with internet access can freely and legally access the text. This reduces financial pressure on students. Existing commercial texts in this field can retail new for as high as $200, or $100 for a one-semester rental;
- Accessibility: Screen-reader friendly navigation structure, an index, and detailed, hyperlinked table of contents make it easier for readers to navigate within the text. All readers, and especially those with sight disabilities, benefit from alternative text “alt text” available for each figure;
- Upfront permission to customize the text and figures: Adaptation and redistribution with attribution is allowed because of the book’s open license (CC BY SA); And,
- Technical methods for customization: Users may create their own version of the text by modifying the LaTeX source. This gives flexibility to instructors who prefer to sequence course topics in a different order. Openly licensed LaTeX source files are available so that instructors and other authors may easily remix, reorder, or change the text in other ways.
Electromagnetics, Volume 1 is part of the Open Electromagnetics Project led by Steven W. Ellingson at Virginia Tech. The goal of the project is to create no-cost openly-licensed content for courses in undergraduate engineering electromagnetics. The project is motivated by two things: lowering learning material costs for students and giving instructors the freedom to adopt, modify, and improve their educational resources.
Electromagnetics Volume 2, which covers the second semester (ECE 3106) course is expected in January 2020.
Publication of this book was made possible in part by the University Libraries at Virginia Tech’s Open Education Faculty Initiative Grant program and by collaboration with VT Publishing, the scholarly publishing hub of Virginia Tech.
About the author: Steven W. Ellingson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is Associate Professor of Engineering at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia in the United States. He received PhD and MS degrees in Electrical Engineering from the Ohio State University and a BS in Electrical & Computer Engineering from Clarkson University. He was employed by the US Army, Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Raytheon, and the Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory before joining the faculty of Virginia Tech, where he teaches courses in electromagnetics, radio frequency systems, wireless communications, and signal processing. His research includes topics in wireless communications, radio science, and radio frequency instrumentation. Ellingson serves as a consultant to industry and government and is the author of Radio Systems Engineering (Cambridge University Press, 2016).
A January 2018 blog post regarding the “beta,” field tested version of this book is available here.