Pressbooks mini-guide

Logging in

You have received an email inviting you to Pressbooks, on your Muhlenberg email account. Check your spam filter if you think you haven’t. This should take you to the site, for either

Use the link in the email to get to the “Admin” side, or click on “Admin” in the top right menu on the book’s website page.


Pressbooks should look familiar: it is based on WordPress, i.e. the platform you use for your own blog/website.

In this video, you learn about basic editing, including how to insert footnotes.

Pay attention to the following

  • Footnotes: use the Footnote feature in Pressbooks to add notes. It’s the FN button in the menu bar: type the formatted footnote, highlight it, and click on the FN button; alternatively click the FN button, and add your note’s content between the [FN] [\FN] markers. This ensures the notes are correctly numbered. Check the preview to see your shiny new footnotes!
  • Textboxes:
    • For keywords, use the text box Key Takeaways, and place at the top of the chapter
    • For “Further Reading” or “How to Expand This Chapter” or “Further Research”: use the textbox Learning Objectives
    • You can add additional fun facts or “Did you know?” type factoids with the Standard or the Shaded text box
How to insert media

Here’s another handy little video:

Choose images for which you have the copyright, or images in the public domain, or available under the “fair use” policy. Good starting points are the (old) Creative Commons Search, and the Trexler Library Open Resources page (look through the tabs at the top for texts, videos, images, audio, OER, etc.)

For images that need to be uploaded: please email or share the file with me, and I can add it to the media library.

Pay attention to the following:

  • Include a source: e.g. a hyperlink with the URL of the website where you found the image; the name of the creator
  • Include identifying information: e.g. the name of the painting and (if known) the painter.
  • Include an “Alt Text” description: the visually impaired readers get to hear that description, and makes our textbook more accessible. See an explanation of good Alt Text descriptions in this blog post.
How to give peer feedback

Like we practiced earlier this semester, the Architect’s model of feedback is our main method. Focus on flow of the argument and ideas, if the information is correct, if there are notes, and if in general the page lives up to the ideals you set out in your Heavenly Textbook (HST107, HST259). This includes suggestions for images, text boxes with additional fun or intriguing information.

Use the Examples text box, place it at the very top of the chapter, and add your initials after your suggestions.

If there are a lot of things to change, e.g. grammar/typo issues, you can copy-paste the text to a Google doc, edit there, and share with the writer. Grammar and typos are not your main worry, but we want the final product to be nice.

Here’s a video demonstrating how to use the Examples text box for feedback, and what to do if you accidentally deleted a part of a chapter.

MOU (=Memorandum of Understanding)

Because the textbook is open to the worldwide web, you have the right to decide if and under what CC license your chapter should be published. Please fill out this Memorandum of Understanding/Agreement for HST107 or HST259 (Google Doc) and share with me.

The afterlife of this project

Open Education Resources keep evolving, and the texts you created are no different. Textbooks can always do with a timeline, glossary, and some editing for to homogenize the feel and look of the final product. If you want to spend some time this summer making this the most beautiful OER book out there, please get in touch.

The next time I teach the course, the students will use the textbook, and create a new edition. And in the mean time, many others will find their way to the project, and learn about East Asian history thanks to your efforts!