While calling for common disciplines to be covered, FCC doesn't unilaterally decide what curricula to produce and then solicit educators to create it. Instead, those interested in starting a new project or participating in an existing one volunteer with FCC and use FCC's resources, mailing lists, web server space, and the like, to help them add value to the project.
Producing well written textbooks is a large task for a volunteer-based endeavor, and teamwork is key. As such, FCC works on a committee system. For each academic subject, such as economics, physics, literature, and so forth, there is a committee tasked first with devising a table of contents for a textbook on the subject, then with filling in each chapter of material. This means that the chapter is our usual unit of productivity.
An alternative approach that a committee can take is to take a classic work in the subject that has entered the public domain, and format and annotate it chapter by chapter. These are called Twenty-First Century Revisions of these works.
Participants are either Chairs or Contributors on the committee. A Chair is the person who has founded and/or is coordinating a project. This person is responsible for adding material to the official version of the document, for moderating discussion about the project, and related leadership. A Chair must have academic credentials appropriate for the level of the project.
Anyone helping a project who is not in charge of it is a Contributor to it. While academic credentials are valued, anyone with expertise can be a Contributor regardless of his or her academic history.
Those willing to contribute significant material or to chair a committee should email us to ask about Fellowships.
Once a Chair volunteers to oversee a new textbook, the process happens as follows:
- The Chair decides on the scope of the textbook to be written. With this in mind he or she seeks out existing material that may be available to be modified and made part of the new work. FCC maintains a list of suggested sources for public domain and otherwise free material that may be suitable.
- Once the source material, if any, is found, the Chair decides whether the textbook will be released into the public domain, and if not then under which waiver or license the textbook will be released.
- The Chair drafts a Table of Contents, if necessary. The textbook is divided into chapters, with the division made such that the work can be divided among many contibutors. A separate "instructor guide" may be necessary.
- The Chair and Contributors commence writing. They coordinate amongst one another to ensure that the work flows as a whole and to draw on one another's expertise in the subject. The Chair moderates any disagreements, seeking consensus but arbitrating if necessary.
- Once the first draft of a chapter is complete, the Chair gives it an editorial review and approves it for release.
- On conclusion, the first edition of the curriculum is published on the FCC web site.
- Later work for expansion or clarification applies to subsequent editions.
While chapters are organized into a suggested order through a table of contents, and are released as a complete textbook, each chapter is also meant to exist as an individual learning object, which can be combined with other chapters in whatever way is best suited to a particular occasion.
When the amount of output has grown large enough, the Chair, in consultation with the rest of the committee, may divide the chapters and committee. For example, once there is enough material produced by the committee working on economics, the project may divide into three separate projects on Microeconomics, Finance, and Austrian economics.