Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Baraniuk Bullish on Future of Free Content

You might think there wouldn't be much room for traditional publishing in the world of open and free educational content. However, Richard Baraniuk, director of the Connexions and OpenStax initiatives at Rice University, would disagree.

Baraniuk is already using open educational resources (OER) to create free learning materials through his nonprofit organization, OpenStax College. If traditional publishers can build on the material, he's all for it.

"We're trying to provide better access to all high-quality learning experiences," he told University Business. "If what we offer saves traditional publishers money, they're able to lower their costs and that will help advance education."

Textbooks will be modular, allowing instructors to choose multiple sources for each class. They will then be able to modify the difference sources of content to suit each student, who will also be able to collaborate on developing the text, according to Baraniuk.

"There's nothing stopping students from becoming authors," he said. "The students in my engineering class conduct a research project every year and then archive their results in Connexions, so they're published authors. These projects get used by people around the world and they get referenced and built on by others." 

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