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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