Content Authoring Pilot - Creating an Interactive Pressbook

Pressbooks is available for instructors to author traditional eText materials, but it can also create more interactive modules. This document outlines the steps necessary to create an interactive module with Pressbooks and configure it to both send grades to Canvas and capture more detailed analytics on student behavior for participants of the content authoring pilot.

    If you are a pilot participant and have questions about the instructions in this document please e-mail We can not provide support to non-pilot participants at this time.

    Step 1: Login to Pressbooks

    To create an interactive Pressbook you need access to the Unizin UW-Madison Pressbooks server: As a pilot participant you will have already been given an account. We are not creating non-pilot participant accounts at this time.

    Step 2: Configure Pressbooks and Learning Record Store

    If you want your interactive Pressbook module to send a grade to the Canvas gradebook or detailed analytics on how students interact with it you will need to contact pilot staff at to configure your Pressbook for this functionality. Step 2 instructions are for pilot staff. Once they have configured your Pressbook they will let you know you can proceed to step 3.

    Content authoring pilot staff: In order to send xAPI statements to Learning Locker, the H5P xAPI plugin needs to be configured for each book we’re using. To do that, we need to grab the endpoint, username and password from the LRS and configure it in the H5P xAPI plugin.

    1. Login to Learning Locker LRS.
    2. Copy the xAPI Endpoint, Key, and Secret values from the Learning Locker client you or the instructor want to send xAPI statements to.
    3. Open another browser or tab and go back to Pressbooks and the book you are working on.
    4. Click Settings → H5P xAPI.
    5. Paste the the xAPI Endpoint URL from xAPI Endpoint in LL, xAPI username from Key in LL, and xAPI password from Secret in LL.

    Step 3: Create your Pressbooks content

    Creating content in Pressbooks is very similar to using Microsoft Word. You’ll add text and images, but you can also add interactive content and an annotation pane.

    1. Create your content. If you would like to get started with some online resources these guides may be helpful:
      1. Amanda Larson (now the open education librarian at Penn State) and Steel Wagstaff have published an ad-hoc guide to using some authoring features in use in our self-hosted Pressbooks instance:
      2. A guide on creating activities similar to CSCR is here:
      3. Pressbooks’ continually evolving user guide: and their collection of training & demonstration videos:
      4. The British Columbia Open Textbook project has produced an overview of some general open textbook authoring approaches:

    2. To add interactive activities you use a plugin called H5P. 
      1. To create a new interactive module: 
        1. If this is your first time adding H5P content click the H5P Content menu option on the left.
        2. Click the Add new button at the top of the page.
        3. Give your H5P module a name where it says “Enter title here.”
        4. Click the H5P “Select content type” dropdown menu to select the content type you would like to use. The first time you use a new content type the menu option will say Get. You will first need to click Get and then Install. Once it is installed you can click Use.
        5. Fill in the details on the H5P module. For example if you are creating a multiple choice question it will ask you to add the question, answer options and click the checkbox to indicate which answer is correct along with tips and feedback.
        6. Check or uncheck the Display Options on the right depending on how you want the H5P module to function. Configurable options include:
          1. Display toolbar below content
          2. Display Download button
          3. Display Embed button
          4. Display Copyright button
        7. When you’re done configuring your H5P module click the Create button on the right. Pressbooks will display a preview of your H5P module that you can test.
        8. Once you have created H5P content return to the part of your Pressbook that you want to add it to. 
          1. Click Text on the left menu.
          2. Click the part of the book you want to add the H5P activity to. For example - click on Chapter 1.
          3. Click into the place on the page where you want to place your H5P activity. Click the Add H5P button in the Pressbooks editor to add H5P content to your Pressbook page:
            Screenshot of Pressbooks showing Pressbooks content open with the "Add H5P" button at the top next to "Add Media".
            An Insert interactive content window will open. Click the Insert button next to the H5P module you want to add to your page:
            Pressbooks screenshot showing the "Insert interactive content" window open with a list of H5P activities to insert into a Pressbook
    3. Hypothesis allows you to add an annotation layer and pane to your Pressbooks module. Instructions for getting started with Hypothesis are here:

      If you don’t want to use Hypothesis move on to Step 4 below.

    Step 4: Export your Pressbook as a Thin Common Cartridge

    You can export a non-interactive version of your Pressbook in PDF format but since you’re using plug-ins like H5P you’ll want to embed it in your Canvas course. In order to do that you'll need to export it as a Common Cartridge (CC). The export can also create 'discussion' and 'assignment' activities from chapters in your book. To do this, the title of the chapter should be prefaced with 'Discussion:' or 'Assignment:', respectively. To do this:

    1. Click Text → Organize. Check the box under Export for all of the content you wish to bring into your Canvas course.
    2. Select Export → Export Common Cartridge.
    3. Click the Download Cartridge button and save the file locally.
      1. By default, the plugin will produce a Thin CC with LTI links, and will include all chapters in the book (including front and back matter) which have been selected for export.
      2. The export can also create 'discussion' and 'assignment' activities from chapters in your book. To do this, the title of the chapter should be prefaced with 'Discussion:' or 'Assignment:', respectively.

    A more detailed guide which covers steps 4 - 6 is here:

    Step 5: Import the Thin Common Cartridge file into your Canvas course

    Now that you’ve downloaded your interactive Pressbook as a .zip file, you need to upload it to your Canvas course:

    1. Login to Canvas.
    2. Click on the Canvas course you’d like to add your Pressbooks content to.
    3. Click on Settings from the course navigation.
    4. Click on Import Course Content.
    5. From the content type drop-down menu select Common Cartridge 1.x package.
    6. Next to Source click the Choose File button. Select the .zip file you downloaded from Pressbooks in step 3.
    7. Select the All content radio button.
    8. Click the Import button. Canvas will import your Pressbook.

    Step 6: Configure Pressbooks assignments within Canvas

    1. Go to Assignments. Find the assignment which was created when you imported your Common Cartridge.
    2. Click the gear next to it and select Edit.
    3. Click the More Options button.
    4. Copy the URL from the assignment description. Paste it into the field under Enter or find an External Tool URL.
    5. Click the Save button at the bottom of the assignment.
    6. Change grade points value to whatever you want the points to be. Pressbooks will send a percentage score that will be scaled to the total point value when grades are pushed to gradebook.

    Step 7: Send grades for the Pressbooks module to Canvas

    Grades for Pressbooks activities have to be pushed manually to Canvas. You will need to have had your Pressbook properly configured in step 2 above for this to work.

    1. Login to Pressbooks.
    2. Go to the part of your book that you want to send a grade from. 
    3. Set a beginning date and ending date from which you want to pull grade values from. 
    4. Select a grading scheme. You can choose from Best Attempt, First Attempt, or Last Attempt.
    5. Enter the H5P id values you want to include in the grade report back to Canvas. H5P id values can be found in the H5P content list for a given book and must be manually entered. 
    6. Click the Send Grades to LMS button.

    See Also:

    Keywords:content, authoring, pilot, pressbooks, h5p,, annotate, annotation, write, book,   Doc ID:78092
    Owner:Dan L.Group:Academic Technology Pilots
    Created:2017-11-08 09:41 CDTUpdated:2018-04-20 13:52 CDT
    Sites:Academic Technology Pilots, Learn@UW Madison
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