Top 10 Reasons to Host your Book on Runestone Academy

After four years of collaboration, Runestone and PreTeXt are ready to encourage hosting PreTeXt books on Runestone Academy servers as a routine matter. We’ve got several months before fall classes, so now is a good time.

The process is quite simple: put your PreTeXt source on GitHub if it is not there already, and provide a publisher file that specifies that you want a build specifically for Runestone servers. If you are using the command line tools / Codespaces with a project file then you are nearly ready. Let Runestone know by creating an issue in the Runestone repository. Your book will be made available to thousands of instructors and will be re-built automatically every Saturday.

Here’s our Top 10 list for why you would want to consider this, numbered for mathematicians and for computer scientists.

  1. Free. In every sense of the word. Open-source software and texts, hosting free to instructors and students.

  2. Hosting is low-friction for instructors, no local IT required. Fantastic up-time.

  3. Weekly updating with no hassle. Or more frequently with the author interface.

  4. Runestone Academy had over 115 million page views last year and has good search-engine optimization to increase the exposure of your book.

  5. Instructors get a detailed dashboard of students’ work and progress.

  6. Runestone Academy is used by over 10,000 instructors–who already use OER and are happy to spread the word.

  7. Authors get gross analytics across all institutions. Which of your exercises work, and which don’t?

  8. Authors get accurate data on adoptions and readership. Impress your Dean.

  9. You maintain complete ownership and control of your materials.

  10. Instructors get autograding and autorecording. Get a spreadsheet at any time or link it to your LMS through LTI.

  11. PreTeXt and Runestone are actively promoting books at both Mathematics and Computer Science conferences.

To get started, read the chapter on Runestone in the Publisher’s part of the Guide, especially the second section. It has pointers to other relevant parts of the documentation.

Chapter 32: Conversion to Runestone

We would encourage you to look at the annotated sample book, especially the Runestone chapter to see the interactive elements that you can begin using in your books, written natively in PreTeXt but using Javascript developed by Runestone over the last 12 years.

There is a fast-developing converter from Runestone restructuredText syntax to PreTeXt, which will ease the transition for computer science textbooks to PreTeXt.

We would be remiss to not acknowledge the trailblazers who have helped test this out as it has been developed.

Native PreTeXt:

  • Oscar Levin; Discrete Mathematics, An Open Introduction

  • Sean Fitzpatrick; APEX Calculus

  • Mike May; Business Calculus with Excel

  • Alex Jordan; Open Resources for Community College Algebra

  • Kathy Yoshiwara; Intermediate Algebra: Functions and Graphs

  • Tom Judson; Abstract Algebra, Theory and Applications

  • Tom Judson; The Ordinary Differential Equations Project

  • Alex Jordan; WeBWorK integration (!)

  • Matt Boelkins, Mitch Keller, Chrissy Safranski; Active Calculus

  • Steven Clontz, Drew Lewis; Linear Algebra for Team-Based Inquiry Learning

  • Rob Beezer; A First Course in Linear Algebra

Conversions from Native Runestone:

  • Brad Miller; How to Think Like a Computer Scientist

  • Brad Miller; Problem Solving with Algorithms and Data Structures using Python

  • Brad Miller, Barb Ericson, J. David Eisenberg; Python for Everybody

  • Beryl Hoffman; Java, Java, Java (from LaTeX!)

  • Jan Pearce; Problem Solving with Data Structures and Algorithms using C++

  • Jan Pearce; C++ for Python Programmers

  • Jan Pearce; On Complexity