The CITE, a blog published by the National Association of College Stores, takes a look at the intersection of education and technology, highlighting issues that range from course materials to learning delivery to the student experience. Comments, discussion, feedback, and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Open access textbooks

Nicole Allen, textbooks program director for the student PIRGs submitted an update and gave me permission to repost some of the update here. A big push of the student PIRGs this year will be open access textbooks -- essentially free, self-published textbook equivalents. Some sources of information on open textbook content from Nicole:

  • I think many of you might be interested in a new publishing company - the world's first open textbook publisher Flat World Knowledge. They provide commercial-grade textbooks open for faculty to modify and free for students to read.
  • The California community colleges has created CCCOER - a consortium devoted to developing open textbooks and other resources for use in community colleges to reduce costs and improve learning outcomes.
  • Another place to visit for resources is MERLOT - another huge repository of online material. One innovative feature MERLOT offers is a mechanism for ratings and peer reviews.

A related source to check out is Connexions. I think Connexions is a very interesting approach to self-publishing and open access textbooks.

I am not sure if open access textbooks will make a big dent in the traditional textbook market, but certainly it is an interesting movement worth watching. There is some interesting innovation happeninig in this space motivated, of course, by a desire to reduce the cost of textbooks.

1 comment:

Daddy7 said...

You might also be interested in an organization called CK12, which was founded by Vinod Khosla and his wife Neeru. It is creating open source textbooks for the K-12 market, and can be found at www.ck12.org

Gordon Rogers