Monday, January 31, 2011

Sinclair Community College (Ohio) > e-Textbooks An Option For Students

The Clarion /  January 31, 2011 / Georgia Howard

There has been a recent push in Ohio colleges, including Sinclair Community College to promote e-textbooks over traditional textbooks. On Jan. 21, there was an e-textbook workshop that covered issues such as information about e-textbooks, the State of Ohio Digital Bookshelf initiative and an e-textbook exploratory pilot project.

[snip]

A large advantage of having an e-textbook is the affordability of these books compared to regular textbooks, according to [Greg] Deye, [manager of Learning Technology Parent Support].  He said that an e-textbook can save you 40 to 60 percent off of the price of a regular textbook.

[snip]

Deye said that one advantage of having e-textbooks on one device instead of carrying around several heavy books. [snip].

According to Deye, e-textbooks would be a great fit for distance learning students who are going to be online for their classes. He adds that e-textbooks can help students learn in a better way as long as the student is comfortable learning online.  He said that some students learn easier through e-texts because it makes it easier for them to take and access their notes.

“There maybe be multimedia in the textbook such as video and audio and animations built into the textbook."

And there are some that are pretty much a copy of whatever is on the paper version, what’s online. But even with the paper version that is online , you have the ability to highlight, annotate and put notes on the page. Whenever you access that page, you can access those notes at all time,” Deye said.

A disadvantage for many people is that most e-textbooks can only be used for the quarter or semester and you can’t keep a copy of it, according to Deye. [snip].

[snip]

“The only thing I would say ultimately is that the e-textbook is certainly an option that I think everyone should look at but think about whether or not it meets your learning style. A lot of times we will put money in the forefront but if you are not able to learn from it then maybe that money saved isn’t really worth it. Keep the learning in front and follow it up with the money if at all possible,” he concludes.

Source

[http://www.sinclairclarion.com/home/news/2011/01/31/e-textbooks-an-option-for-students/]

ASU > New Initiative Puts iPads In Students’ Hands

The Herald / Arkansas State University / Updated: Monday, January 31, 2011 17:01 / Joshua Scott

President Barack Obama emphasized America's need to become innovative in the application of technology during his State of the Union address last Tuesday. ASU is one of a few universities testing those waters by implementing a new pilot program that provides iPads for students in two classes this semester.

Obama said, "It's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor."

Students enrolled in American political thought and intergovernmental relations will get a chance to translate his words into actions. They will be introduced to what political science professor Jason Adams calls "paper-free learning." As part of the initiative, 45 of the tablet devices have been provided by the school for the students to keep in and out of class during the remainder of the semester.

[snip]

While future developments depend on the success of the program in actually improving the educational experience, and on ASU budgeting, Henry Torres at ITTC talked about assisting more professors in the future with incorporating new technology and ideas in their curriculum.

[snip]

Other schools, such as Duke University, have been experimenting with their own pilot programs that obtain iPads for educational purposes.

[snip]

"I see myself using the iPad for e-textbooks as opposed to standard textbooks since the capability is there to annotate notes to myself on the pages without doing any damage to the file," said Kirk Lonidier, a political science major participating in the program. "It is very convenient to have a device that can replace several textbooks. This is my first time using an iPad, but there is little difference in the function of it as opposed to an iPhone or iPod Touch. The only difference is size."

[snip]

Other students have already begun to put their iPads to use.

"The first day I received the iPad I downloaded, from Google Books and Kindle, four books for Dr. Tusalem's revolutions and foreign policy class and a book for Dr. Adams' class," said Steven Rockwell, another student in the pilot program. "Within the read highlighter tool, a dictionary, set bookmarks, post notes, write in the margins and search the entire book. I can also access my books from my desktop computer, the iPad or my iPhone, so I always have them with me, however, the iPad provides the best reading experience."

[snip]

"I am both proud and appreciative of ASU for its progressive approach toward higher education," he said.

While there are still many things to figure out during the course of ASU's iPad experiment, Adams sees other ways the iPad will benefit students besides its e-book role.

"One thing I have them using on the iPad is an application called AudioNote, which can record lectures while you take notes, and I'm also going to have them use Keynote for presentations," he said. "We'll plug in the iPads into to the projector and then with an extended VGA cable, the student can have their presentation device with all their notes and everything right in front of them, while the relevant videos and images appear on the screen for the entire class."

[snip]

Source

MLive.com > ... eTextbook Sales Boom At The University Of Michigan-Flint

MLive.com /  Flint Journal /  Updated January 30, 2011, 6:10 AM / Beata Mostafavi
FLINT, Michigan — Amir Baz didn’t lug a heavy textbook around for his college history class. He just read the chapters on his iPhone.

Fewer textbooks are being spotted on the University of Michigan-Flint campus as more students such as Baz “carry” books on laptops, iPads, Nooks, Kindles and even smart phones this semester. The demand for eTextbooks seems to be booming, with the UM-Flint bookstore seeing a tenfold increase in sales in the last year.

“As we become more high-tech, I think more students are going to get into the habit of getting textbooks online,” said Baz, 18, of Fenton. “I think eTextbooks will eventually take over regular textbooks.”

[snip]

Baz said new editions seem to come out almost every year for textbooks that can be hundreds of pages long and cost a couple of hundred dollars each. Many times, the changes in the new edition seem small.

He said some students see eTextbooks that provide the full text of books in a digital format as a greener and sometimes — although not always — cheaper choice.

Publishers are homing in on the market, issuing newer and more sophisticated products to enhance the e-book experience.

iPads and e-readers such as the Nook or Kindle allow students to highlight text and take notes. Programs such as Nook study — recently launched at UM-Flint through the campus’s bookstore owner Barnes and Noble — also allow students to access study guides and other digital aids to enhance digital learning.

[snip]

UM-Flint international business major Todd Ackerman tried his first eTextbook last semester for an accounting class.

He said most students already take laptops to class for note-taking. Now their computers can also allow access to their books.

[snip]

But there were cons, too.

It was more tempting to get distracted by other online activities such as Facebook or YouTube while reading and studying online, he said.



The trend hasn’t hit every college, with campuses such as Baker College reporting that the majority of students still prefer hardbound copies. Some professors at local colleges also require textbooks that aren’t offered in a digital format yet.

[snip]

But the numbers of students using eTextbooks continues to grow, with 1 in 10 students reporting the purchase of one, according to digital course materials supplier CourseSmart.

“Print books aren’t going anywhere anytime soon and publishers understand eTextbooks aren’t the right solution for everyone. Everyone has a choice,” said CourseSmart Spokeswoman Karen Marotta. “But eTextbooks are appealing to professors and students mainly because of accessibility and cost and this is definitely something analysts and companies are seeing as the future.”

 Source

[http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2011/01/laptops_ipads_and_i-phones_hel.html]

Sunday, January 30, 2011

'Crowdsourcing' A Textbook: 120 Student Authors Writing On A Wiki > ELI 2011 Annual Meeting > February 15 2011

ELI 2011 Annual Meeting "Educating in the Open: Philosophies, Innovations, and Stories" / February 14–16 2011 / Washington, D.C. or Online

'Crowdsourcing' a Textbook: 120 Student Authors Writing on a Wiki / Tuesday / February 15 2011 / 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m. / Georgetown

Speaker(s)

Edward F. Gehringer, Associate Professor, Computer Science, North Carolina State University

Abstract

Many instructors have experimented with student-authored wiki textbooks. Advantages include reading and evaluating primary literature and facilitating constructivist learning. We manage the peer-review process using the Expertiza system, which allows reviewers and authors to communicate in double-blind fashion and sets deadlines for each step so that prerequisite chapters are written before chapters that depend on them. Students have given positive feedback on nearly every aspect of the process, especially on the care they put into their work and the insight they gained. Our efforts have scaled to a textbook with 40-plus sections written by a class of 120.

Learning Objectives

* Understand the benefits of student-written textbooks.
* Explore the reactions of students to writing textbook sections.
* Learn the importance of software support for the process of writing a textbook.
* Consider how various forms of peer review can provide formative feedback to authors.

Source

[http://net.educause.edu/ELI11/Program/1025899?PRODUCT_CODE=ELI11/SESS12]

EBN > Tablets vs. Textbooks: E-Text Use On The Rise

Source

[http://www.ebnonline.com/author.asp?section_id=1071&doc_id=203452]

Saturday, January 29, 2011

FutureBook: A Digital Blog From Europe In Association With The Bookseller

FutureBook, A Manifesto In Five

Welcome to FutureBook (in association with The Bookseller), a website dedicated to discussing how the digital revolution will re-shape publishing in the 21st Century.

[http://www.futurebook.net/]

First, you should notice the text in parenthesis. We created FutureBook to run side by side next to our main site, as a bespoke area dedicated to digital. Though The Bookseller will continue to cover digital (and in all sorts of interesting new ways), we also want to be part of that conversation. We hope FutureBook will give us that space.

Second, we want the conversation to be as vibrant and broad as possible, and have therefore invited a number of collaborators and friends to share their thoughts online regularly. We have asked for unfiltered blogs: if you cannot contribute beyond the company line that is fine, but we feel the digital
conversation is too important to be left in the hands of corp comms. We don't necessarily need to know, for example, when Apple signs with Random House, but we do need to have the discussion on why the 'agency model' may not always be best.

Third, with so much digital thinking coming from the US, we want to create a counterpoint: a place where the UK and wider European book trade can meet to talk through their own needs and ideas. We are not anti-US (far from it), but the conversation that is already happening in the US also needs to find a home on this side of the Atlantic.

Fourth, we want to meet. The Bookseller already hosts an annual digital conference (it even provides the name for this blog), but we will also be arranging regular meet-ups for those who want to take the conversation offline.

Last, it should be enjoyable. The book is not dead, but the printed world is changing. There is a huge amount going on under the wire, from book videos to social networking sites just about books. There is nothing to suggest that the vibrancy and talent that has transformed publishing in the last
thirty years will not continue to underpin it for the next decades: and we want to reflect that.

So here we are, part community forum, part sounding board. It is a place where anyone from industry insiders to digital enthusiasts can report, learn, debate and investigate the future of the book.

Welcome to the conversation.

Source

[http://www.futurebook.net/Manifesto]

Open Access Textbooks Project

About the Open Access Textbooks Project - A FIPSE Grant Project


Many projects and websites provide access to open textbooks and other open content -- but the open content community is still forming. Numerous issues that impact open textbook implementation (such as creating sustainable review processes and institutional reward structures) have yet to be resolved. The ability to financially sustain a large scale open textbook effort is also in question.

The Open Access Textbooks Grant Project is working with others involved in open content to create a sustainable model for Florida and other states to discover, produce, and disseminate open textbooks.

This two-year initiative is funded by a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE).  The project will build on efforts in Florida and across the U. S. to create a sustainable open textbook model and a collaborative community to further implementation of open textbooks.

The model will suggest solutions to:
  • Difficulties involved in locating open textbooks
  • Uncertainties about the quality of open textbooks
  • Lack of a sustainable financial model for open textbooks
  • Issues related to tenure and promotion
  • Barriers to open textbook adoption
Source

[http://www.openaccesstextbooks.org/projectInfo.html]

Categories

News / Upcoming Events / Who Are We? / Open Textbooks

Links

Resources / Webinars / About Us / Contact

Facebook

[http://www.openaccesstextbooks.org/projectInfo.html]

Twitter

[http://twitter.com/#!/theorangegrove]

LJ > New Ebook Platforms Target The Scholarly Monograph

  Library Journal / January 28 2011 / Michael Kelley
A number of projects are nearing fruition whose goal is to ensure that scholarly books and university presses are not left behind by the ebook market, and academic librarians are watching the efforts with eagerness and interest.
The University Press E-Book Consortium (UPeC), Oxford's University Press Scholarship Online (UPSO), Books at JSTOR, and Project Muse Editions have all been separately exploring ways to create a new collaborative business model and ebook platform that would better fit the financial and research needs of academic libraries as well as keep struggling scholarly publishers in business, … .
"These efforts to establish a common platform for university presses are of great interest to academic libraries, since our users, students, and faculty, are increasingly expecting ebooks supplied from libraries," Carol Moore, the chief librarian at the University of Toronto and chair of the Reshaping Scholarly Communication Steering Committee of the Association of Research Libraries, told LJAN.
[snip]
A More Friendly Model For Academic Libraries
The nonprofit University Press eBook Consortium (UPeC) started with a $125,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in 2009, and it drew inspiration from a 2007 ITHAKA report that delineated the challenges facing all these endeavors.
"We felt the current system is broken, and that if we could build a better system, then libraries would want to purchase our content," Steve Maikowski told LJAN. [snip].
Maikowski reports to Carol A. Mandel, the dean of the division of libraries at New York University and president of ARL's Board of Directors. She said that most models being devised for the market, with their emphasis on proprietary ereaders and heavy digital rights management [DRM], "do not fit the mission or realities of libraries."
[snip]
Maikowski said that the project's goal was to present an extensive suite of peer-reviewed scholarship (possibly 3000 frontlist titles and 30,000 backlist titles) in a one-stop, multipress platform that would spread the cost for publishers and offer a fair price to libraries.
[snip]
Moore said that university presses were extremely important to collection development and the dissemination of faculty research, but she said they had to keep pace with the changes in reading devices and in formats, such as ePub.
"For libraries to meet the demands/expectations of our clientele, we need ebook suppliers that offer products in formats that can be integrated with other electronic content and read on computers and mobile devices that our clients are using. Many users also want the ability to print or download reasonable portions of the book," she said.
[snip].
Some Lessons For Public Libraries?
James G. Neal, VP for Information Services and University Librarian at Columbia University, said he was eagerly watching the development of this and other projects since they can further the commitment to "a rich and robust scholarly communication system" and expand and enrich access to front and backlist scholarly monographs. He also noted potentially wider implications.
[snip]
At the American Library Association's Midwinter Meeting in San Diego (January 7-11), JSTOR (a division of ITHAKA) announced the nonprofit Books at JSTOR, a project expected to be available in 2012 and which has essentially the same goal as UPeC of "overcoming limitations on use and offering flexible purchase models for libraries, while developing a sustainable model for publishers...," according to a company press release.
University presses from Chicago, Minnesota, North Carolina, Princeton, and Yale already have signed on to the project. The books will be integrated with the 1600 current and archival journals on JSTOR, and the platform also promises to embrace technology that would allow scholars to incorporate a variety of media (e.g., video, GIS technologies) into their work.
[snip].
Casper Grathwohl, VP, digital publisher, at Oxford, sees a similar potential. "UPSO is really about unlocking the power of the academic monograph.... I believe it will make a significant contribution to the development of the monograph in its next phase of life," he said in a press release.
UPSO is launching a pilot program in March with Fordham University Press and, like UPeC, is targeting a full launch in the fall.
Digital preservation is a key consideration for libraries.
"Research libraries, such as University of Toronto, also require the ability to preserve the ebook content over time," Moore said. She urged suppliers to "to produce content using open standards that can be migrated to new technical formats in the future."
[snip]
Source

The State of Ohio's Digital Bookshelf Project > ELI 2011 Annual Meeting > February 14 2011

ELI 2011 Annual Meeting "Educating in the Open: Philosophies, Innovations, and Stories" / February 14–16 2011 / Washington, D.C. or Online

The State of Ohio's Digital Bookshelf Project / Monday / February 14 2011 / 2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. / Jefferson

Speaker(s)
  • Stephen R. Acker, Emeritus Professor and Research Director, eTextOhio Project-OhioLINK, The Ohio State University
  • Brigitte Budion, Student, University of Cincinnati
  • Libby Cates, Student, University of Cincinnati
  • Charles W. Ginn, Associate Professor, University of Cincinnati
  • David J. Wright, Director of Curriculum Innovation and E-Learning, University of Dayton
Abstract
 
For the 2010 academic year, 50,000 of Ohio's 70,000 Introductory Psychology students have had a low-cost digital option available for the textbook of their instructor's choice. Developed within a University System of Ohio Project framework in collaboration with five leading publishers of psychology textbooks, the Ohio Digital Bookshelf Project emerged from three years of research and within a social network established among faculty, librarians, technologists, and the accessibility community.
 
We'll present strategies for improving learning outcomes, textbook affordability, and more rapid diffusion of digital resources into the teaching and learning environment. Student members of our team will discuss learning outcomes.
 
Learning Objectives

* Know how to overcome obstacles to class, institutional, and system-level adoption of digital learning materials.
* Discuss effective teaching and assessment strategies to capture the learning value of digital materials.
* Explore techniques for building disciplinary communities committed to learning innovations.
* Understand how the "tragedy of the commons" (pursuing individual benefits at the cost of system-level returns) guarantees the escalating cost of textbooks and the requisite reformations (changed behaviors of publishers, bookstores, institutions, faculty, students) needed to escape the paradox and increase the affordability of learning materials.
* Learn about conversion and "born digital" approaches to assuring timely access to digital learning materials for students with print disabilities (addressing one of the key challenges in digital learning environments).


Source

[http://net.educause.edu/ELI11/Program/1025899?PRODUCT_CODE=ELI11/SESS03]

See Also

Ohio Digital Bookshelf Project

[http://digital-textbooks.blogspot.com/2011/01/ohio-digital-bookshelf-project.html]

Ohio Digital Bookshelf Project

The Ohio Digital Bookshelf Project is a pilot project of Ohio Textbook HQ that aims to provide quality textbook options for faculty and better learning outcomes, while also saving students money.

Participating Institutions
  • University of Akron
  • Belmont Technical College
  • Central Ohio Technical College
  • University of Cincinnati
  • Cincinnati State Technical & Community College
  • Clark State Community College
  • Columbus State Community College
  • Cuyahoga Community College
  • University of Dayton
  • Edison Community College
  • Kent State University
  • Lakeland Community College
  • Miami University
  • Northwest State Community College
  • Ohio University
  • Ohio University - Eastern
  • The Ohio State University
  • The Ohio State University - Mansfield
  • Rhodes State College
  • Shawnee State University
  • Stark State College of Technology
  • Wright State University
  • Zane State College

Links To > Forum / Members / Multimedia / Videos / [(Free) Registration Required] 

Access To 'Psychology' DT Publishers [?]

Source

[http://ohiodigitalbookshelf.ning.com/]

See Also

The State of Ohio's Digital Bookshelf Project > ELI 2011 Annual Meeting > February 14 2011

[http://digital-textbooks.blogspot.com/2011/01/state-of-ohios-digital-bookshelf.html]

E-Books In Higher Education: What's On The Horizon? > ELI 2011 Annual Meeting > February 16 2011

ELI 2011 Annual Meeting "Educating in the Open: Philosophies, Innovations, and Stories" / February 14–16 2011 / Washington, D.C. or Online

E-Books in Higher Education: What's on the Horizon? / Wednesday / February 16 2011 / 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. / Lincoln East

Speaker(s)

Rob Kadel, Academic Trainer & Consultant, Pearson

Abstract

Electronic textbooks and readers such as the iPad and Kindle have (once again) sparked the imagination of instructors, students, authors, and publishers as to the possibilities of interactive, go-anywhere, work-anytime content. Yet many challenges must still be overcome before e-books are widely adopted in higher education. This presentation will draw on current research and trends in e-book technology, as well as audience members' experiences and opinions, to address both the promises and the challenges that await users as they consider e-book adoption. Active audience participation is encouraged!

Learning Objectives

* Understand how e-books will have to present content differently and how the technology behind them presents a wide range of possibilities for content delivery.
* Discern the needs of end users (faculty, students) that must be addressed before the widespread adoption of e-books.
* Understand the current business models of distribution of e-books and e-reader devices and how these models both encourage and hinder the adoption of e-books (for example, proprietary file formats).

Source

[http://net.educause.edu/ELI11/Program/1025899?PRODUCT_CODE=ELI11/SESS35]

The Open Textbook Puzzle > ELI 2011 Annual Meeting > February 16 2011

ELI 2011 Annual Meeting "Educating in the Open: Philosophies, Innovations, and Stories" / February 14–16 2011 / Washington, D.C. or Online

The Open Textbook Puzzle / Wednesday / February 16 2011 / 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. / IBR Center

Speaker(s)

Susan Henderson, Director, Florida Distance Learning Consortium
Jade Roth, Vice President, Books & Digital Strategy, Barnes & Noble

Abstract

Can open textbooks provide a viable solution to high-cost textbooks? Are they quality books? What will encourage faculty to develop or adopt them? What is a book? How do students prefer to use textbooks? What is the sustainability model for a free, open textbook? How can the development of open textbooks become recognized and rewarded in tenure and promotion decisions?

Answers to these questions and more will be offered from the findings of the FIPSE Open Access Textbook grant project. We will explore Florida faculty and student survey results, interviews with OER leaders, open textbook authors and faculty adopters, and lessons learned from Orange Grove Texts Plus, Florida's open textbook initiative. Discover how your institution or state can participate in open textbooks and benefit from the generous support of FIPSE. Please bring your ideas to help solve the puzzle!

Source

[http://net.educause.edu/content.asp?page_id=1025899&PRODUCT_CODE=ELI11%2FFS08]

Conference Site

[http://net.educause.edu/content.asp?SECTION_ID=523]

Thursday, January 27, 2011

ISU > E-textbook Sales Are Off To A Good Start

Inside Iowa State / Jan. 27 2011 / Anne Krapfl

In University Book Store's (UBS) first semester of offering textbooks in electronic form, 1 percent of the texts sold were e-textbooks. As of Monday (two weeks into spring semester), bookstore officials said students had purchased 458 e-textbooks from the 245 titles the store offered in electronic format. They're pleased with those results.

[snip]

UBS decided to sell e-texts because students have been asking for the option, he said

Variables In Expanded Use Of e-Textbooks

Making them more interactive
Making them viewable on more kinds of portable devices, including e-readers and smartphones

They're less expensive -- as little as half the cost of a new hard copy of the same title and typically less than a used copy as well -- and less cumbersome to haul around, Wierson noted. E-textbooks include features such as highlighting, note-taking on specific pages and a read-aloud audio feature. And, Wierson said, nationally, 25 percent of college students prefer reading online to reading a printed page.

[snip]

How e-Textbooks Work

A student who purchases an e-textbook is equipped with several purchase codes to log into the digital textbook website of the bookstore's wholesaler, MBS Textbook Exchange, Columbia, Mo. From there, MBS directs the student to one of three electronic publishers, CourseSmart, VitalSource or Xplana, for the e-text. When more than one offers a title, MBS selects the one with the lowest price.

All publishers offer a "view online" option; an internet browser and Adobe Flash software are the basic requirements. VitalSource and CourseSmart offer an alternative: download the e-textbook to a personal computer or laptop. CourseSmart's download option also lets clients read the book on an iPad, iPhone or iPod with the right application. But Wierson noted the publishers are working on improvements and options constantly.

[snip]

Looking Ahead

Wierson said the bookstore expects to stay in the e-textbook business. Where there's a match between a faculty member's textbook request and the wholesaler's e-textbook catalog, in most cases UBS will sell it.

He noted that two evolving variables may influence student interest in purchasing e-textbooks:

E-textbooks that are increasingly interactive
E-textbooks that are viewable on more models of portable devices, including e-readers and smartphones

Cost Comparison: New, Used, Rental And Electronic

Introduction to Engineering Analysis (Aerospace engineering 160)
New
$ 53.00

Used
$ 39.70

E-text
$ 23.70

Chemistry The Central Science (Chemistry 178)
New
$218.60

Used
$163.90

Rent
$ 75.00

E-text
$149.30

Nutritional Sciences (Food science and human nutrition 265)
New
$154.00

Used
$115.50

E-text
$ 79.40

igenetics (Agronomy 320)
New
$175.00

Used
$131.20

Rent
$ 76.00

E-text
$ 77.80

Real Analysis (Math 516)
New
$132.00

Used
$ 99.00

E-text
$ 55.90

Hard Evidence (Anthropology 524)
New
$ 57.40

Used
$ 43.00

E-text
$ 24.30

Source

[http://www.iastate.edu/Inside/2011/0127/text.php]  

Monday, January 24, 2011

iPad vs. iPhone Mobile Learning Research Reveals Differences In Student Behavior

‘GetYa Learn On’ and Abilene Christian University Release Preliminary Findings from Fall 2010 Study Examining Form Factor Differences for iOS Devices and Statistics E-Textbook App.

Austin, TX (PRWEB) January 24, 2011

GetYa Learn On (GYLO), an Austin-based educational software company, today announced results from research investigating how college students use the iPhone/iPod Touch compared to the iPad while studying for an Introductory Statistics class at Abilene Christian University (ACU). The app used in the research, “Statistics 1”, is an e-textbook that has been tested for three semesters at ACU and students have consistently reported that it helps them learn statistics and save time.

During the Fall 2010 semester, students in the class used the app on both iPhones/iPod Touches and iPads. Preliminary findings showed that 60 percent of students reported that for studying and test preparation, they preferred the iPad version because of the larger screen size; however, students reported that having the iPhone/iPod Touch version was equally important because the device is always with them.

[snip]

In a questionnaire given to the class at the end of the semester, 86 percent of students involved in the study reported that using the “Statistics 1” e-textbook app helped them study statistics. [snip].

[snip]

ACU and GYLO have collaborated since 2009 to explore factors that affect learning with the iPhone and iPad in the context of higher education. Nihalani and GYLO’s CEO, Dr. Michael Mayrath, will be presenting on the future of e-textbooks and mobile classroom applications at ACU's Connected Summit in late February.

The “Statistics 1” e-textbook app will be on sale for a limited time starting Tuesday, January 25 on the iTunes Store. The app will soon be available for Android devices.

[more]

Source

[http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011-stats-app/01-mobile-learning/prweb4994434.htm]

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The 2011 Guide To Free Or Nearly-Free e-Books

Chris Armstrong / UK eInformation Group (UKeiG)  / 2011 / ISBN: 978-1-870254-14-4 / 177 pp. / £29.50

One of the problems which face all librarians adding e-books to their collections is that of bibliographic control: there is no legal deposit for e-books and consequently there is no single place from which new titles can be found. If this is true of commercially published e-books, it is most certainly also true of free e-books… and there are many thousands of free e-books available over the Internet, many of which are of a quality such that librarians might wish to have them in their collections.

The 2011 Guide to Free or Nearly-Free e-Books is offered as a tool for librarians and others involved in book selection (e.g. teachers in schools) in all sectors – school, further and higher education, public and special libraries – to facilitate easy access to free e-books and e-book collections which can enhance their digital library.

Source

[http://www.ukeig.org.uk/content/publications]

LibTech 2011 > Learning With The iPad In Higher Education And Other Learning

Library Technology Conference 2011 > Macalester College > St.Paul MN > March 17 > Thursday > Hands-On Workshop / Technology Dialogue Sessions / Group F > 2:30 PM - 4 :00 PM

Learning With The iPad In Higher Education And Other Learning

Mike McGraw, Higher Education Account Executive, Apple Computer
Gary Gruba, Certified System Administrator/Senior Systems Engineer, Apple Computer

This session will discuss Apple's mobile strategy with the iPad and how it is beginning to change higher education and other learning environments. With numerous education applications, as well as strategies for e-books, textbooks, research and integration, the iPad is becoming a tremendous tool for 21st Century Learning.

We will spend time learning about the Apps that are native to the iPad, and investigate some of the resources that are available on iTunes U. We will also look at some of the Apps that are available from third party developers that enhance teaching and learning.

Source

[http://bit.ly/flvG5h]

Conference Site

[http://bit.ly/hKAXda]

Student E-rent Pilot Project (STEPP)

The Alternative Media Access Center (AMAC), in partnership with CourseSmart and the AccessText Network (ATN), has launched an innovative, e-textbook rental program entitled STEPP: STudent E-rent Pilot Project. While STEPP is designed to meet the textbook rental needs of any postsecondary student, the program is unique in that its textbook offerings are specially modified for accessibility, and comply with Section 504 requirements under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

STEPP leverages the expertise of AMAC, one of the nation’s leaders in producing accessible educational text; with the established distribution network of CourseSmart, the nation’s number one electronic textbook rental service; and the reach of ATN, the nation’s only “one-stop shop” for disability service providers with a need for alternative format text files. For the first time, students with disabilities will enjoy the benefits of significant cost savings inherent in a textbook rental program, as STEPP provides universally accessible e-textbook files for top titles.

Goals
  1. To save students an average of 50% off the retail cost for purchasing textbooks;
  2. To provide students with disabilities an equal opportunity to participate in textbook rental programs and experience cost savings;
  3. To develop and demonstrate a viable business model for rendering e-textbooks for rent, which are universally accessible to all;
  4. To create awareness of the availability of universally accessible e-textbooks for rent; (5) To increase knowledge and awareness of the need for and the profitability of providing universally accessible E-textbooks, amongst all players in the marketplace.
STEPP Publisher Project Manager

STEPP Advisory Committee

STEPP Contacts

Source

[http://stepp.gatech.edu/]

Saturday, January 22, 2011

SageMilk Signs Licensing Agreement with Free Digital Textbook Provider CK-12 Foundation

Mobile app developer announces collaboration to generate educational apps with leading non-profit provider of digital textbooks

AUSTIN, Texas and PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- SageMilk and CK-12 Foundation today announced the launch of the first phase of CK-12 FlexBook study-aid apps as part of a collaboration to create educational mobile apps from CK-12's portfolio of free, online, customizable digital textbooks.  These apps are available on all iPhone and Android smart phones, as well as the iPad, iPod touch and Android tablets.

The interactive study-aid apps created by SageMilk complement the CK-12 standards-aligned math and science digital textbook portfolio designed for adaptation to all levels of a student's learning needs. SageMilk apps feature chapter-by-chapter key term definitions, multiple-choice quizzes, flashcards, book glossary, social learning tools for sending questions to friends, and a report card of correct and incorrect answers.

With SageMilk apps, students can now study select CK-12 subject areas whenever and wherever they are with their mobile device.

[snip]

Online SageMilk tools allow publishers, business trainers and educators to quickly create apps by leveraging their portfolio content and existing teaching materials. [snip].

The initial release of SageMilk's low-cost learning apps related to this partnership are for the following CK-12 FlexBooks:
  • CK-12 Biology I - presents an understanding of the history, disciplines, tools and modern techniques of science to the study of cell biology, genetics, evolution, ecology and human physiology.
  • CK-12 Life Science - provides a full course of study in the life sciences for the high school student.
  • CK-12 Chemistry - delivers a full course of study in the physical sciences for the advanced high school student.
About CK-12 Foundation

CK-12 Foundation is a non-profit organization with a mission to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. Using an open-content, web-based collaborative model termed the "FlexBook," CK-12 is pioneering the generation and distribution of high quality educational content ... . 

[http://www.ck12.org]

About SageMilk

[http://www.sagemilk.com]

SageMilk is transforming education and learning by providing students and life-long learners new tools for studying, collaborating and testing with mobile devices. [snip].

Source

[http://bit.ly/e7QBps]

JISC > e-books for FE: A Digital Library For FE Colleges

The e-books for FE Project will provide Further Education colleges in the UK with access to a Core Collection of e-books on a platform which provides functionality suitable for the needs of the community.


Why?

There is a demand for e-books from students and their teachers in Further Education which is not being met. The LSC, JISC and JISC Collections are working together on a national level to acquire a critical mass of relevant e-books, to achieve efficiencies and harness the opportunities technology provides.

Project Aims
  • To license a Core Collection of e-books relevant to the FE curriculum across the UK to include titles of relevance to Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
  • Provide colleges with tools and information on how to integrate the e-books into library catalogues, VLE’s and other aids to help embed ICT in teaching and learning.
  • Monitor the usage of the e-books, looking at trends across colleges, discipline areas, and e-book titles.
  • Work with colleges to achieve high participation and make best use of the e-book titles.
  • Provide a Framework Agreement, to allow colleges to acquire affordable and relevant e-books on the same terms and conditions as the centrally funded Core Collection.
Overview

[http://fe.jiscebooks.org/overview/]

E-Select Top 100

[http://fe.jiscebooks.org/e-select-top-100/]

New Titles

[http://fe.jiscebooks.org/new-titles/]

Using E-Books

[http://fe.jiscebooks.org/using-e-books/]

Information for FE Colleges

[http://fe.jiscebooks.org/information-for-fe-colleges/]

News & Events

[http://fe.jiscebooks.org/news-events/]

inkling > Interactive Textbooks For iPad

Inkling brings the world’s best content to iPad with interactivity, social collaboration and simple ease-of-use. No more heavy, expensive textbooks to carry around campus. Inkling textbooks are more interactive, more flexible and cheaper.

[http://www.inkling.com/]

Product

[snip]

Guess what! The iPad isn’t a book.

Publishing in this new era will cast aside the constraints of the printed book and embrace the opportunity of multitouch devices and their impressive computing power. It will generate content that responds to the user, and it will engage people in new ways that television, newspapers, magazines and websites never could.
Inkling is the realization of that potential. It’s a flexible, interactive publishing platform where the human is at the center of the creative process, not the book. Where the iPad is the canvas, not paper. And as people start to grasp the power of the platform, you’re going to see ever more exciting content inside. What we’ve done so far is just the beginning, but it’s already exciting.

[http://www.inkling.com/product/]

Titles

[http://www.inkling.com/titles/]

Free App Download

[http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/inkling/id379351586?mt=8]

Blog

[http://www.inkling.com/blog/]

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Tablets To Eclipse e-Book Readers

Tablets will outsell e-book readers this year, and will continue to put even more distance between the two gadgets over the next two years.

By 2012, tablets will outsell readers four to one.

So says market watcher IDC, which is expecting sales this year of 17m iPads, Galaxy Tabs and co., and 10.8m Kindles and its like.

[snip]

Source

[http://www.reghardware.com/2011/01/18/e_book_readers_vs_tablets/]

Handheld E-Book Readers And Scholarship: Report And Reader Survey

ACLS Humanities E-Book / White Paper No. 3 / August 18 2010 / Nina Gielen

CONTENTS

Executive Summary

Introduction: Online Versus Handheld

Converting Books for Handheld Devices
  Title and Format Selection
  Conversion Process

In-House Evaluation and Survey
  Initial Assessment of Sample Title Formatting and Performance
  Surveying Readers
  Survey Results

Cost and Other Practical Considerations
  Cost Analysis
  Do We Even Need a Vendor?

Conclusion: Reading Scholarly Monographs on Handheld Devices
  Print Versus Digital, Online Versus Handheld
  What Will Future Handheld Readers Be Able to Do?

Appendix: Survey Results

Notes

Executive Summary

This report describes a conversion experiment and subsequent reader survey conducted by ACLS Humanities E-Book (HEB) in late 2009 and early 2010 to assess the viability of using scholarly monographs with handheld e-readers. Scholarly content generally involves extensive networking and cross-referencing between individual works through various channels, including bibliographical citation and subsequent analysis and discussion. Through past experience with its online collection, HEB had already determined that a web-based platform lends itself well to presenting this type of material, but was interested in exploring which key elements would need to be replicated in the handheld edition in order to maintain the same level of functionality, as well as what specific factors from either print or digital publishing would have to be taken into account. As sample content, HEB selected six titles from its own online collection, three in a page-image format with existing OCR-derived text and three encoded as XML files, and had these converted by an outside vendor with minimal editorial intervention into both MOBI (prc) and ePub files.

During its in-house assessment phase, HEB experienced some navigational difficulty with both formats and found that annotation and other interaction with the text was difficult using a number of popular e-readers. (Specifically, the sample titles were tested by HEB on the Sony Reader PRS-700, Amazon's Kindle 2 and the Stanza application on the Apple iPhone.) HEB also found the XML titles to be of limited functionality in the MOBI format and therefore opted not to further poll readers on this subset.

About 88% of our 142 survey participants expressed overall satisfaction with the appearance and functionality of the three remaining handheld samples, although roughly half reported some level of frustration with the search function using either format, and only 26% felt they would have an easy time citing and referencing these editions. Satisfaction with other interactive features, such as adding notes, bookmarking and highlighting, was noticeably higher; however, the “n/a” option was also selected frequently for these categories, and it appears that a large number of participants were unable to perform the tasks in question due to confusing or insufficient instructions from the device manufacturer. As formats evolve, future satisfaction with these features may increase. Irrespective of specific limitations, 75% of participants were interested in potentially downloading additional similar titles for free or if priced below $10.

HEB's production costs, starting from preexisting OCR-derived text and XML files, amounted to about $204 per title for creating both editions, ePub and MOBI. As an example for other publishers, were we to process 300 additional titles from our online collection, this would rise to about $232 (for a bulk conversion of page-image titles only, which are somewhat more expensive to convert than XML).

Therefore, if titles were sold at $10, production costs would be offset at twenty-four downloads. This data is included to provide publishers with a basic idea of conversion costs from one digital format to another; however, it does not take into account other ordinary overhead charges or management fees and discounts for third-party retailers and distributors, which would need to be factored in separately.

HEB's initial findings in this study indicate that titles formatted for existing handheld devices are not yet adequate for scholarly use in terms of replicating either the benefits of online collections—cross-searchability, archiving, multifarious interactive components—nor certain aspects of print editions that users reported missing, such as being able to mark up and rapidly skim text. A turnaround is underway once a common and more robust format optimized for handheld readers is determined and devices themselves evolve, adding improved display options and better and more intuitive web-access, searching and other interactive use of content.

Source And Full Text Available From

[http://www.humanitiesebook.org/heb-whitepaper-3.html]

[http://www.humanitiesebook.org/HEBWhitePaper3.pdf] PDF

Whither the Textbook > FridayLive! IrReguLArs > January 28 2011 > 2 PM EDT

FridayLive! IrReguLArs > Whither the Textbook

January 28, 2011 at 2pm EDT - Free To All. 

The web and smart phone wireless technology now offer unprecedented means of distributing information and knowledge for teaching and learning raising many important questions.

What is the role of the traditional textbook as academic publishing evolves? How do faculty make use of open source materials to replace or supplement texts? What about intellectual property and peer review?

Join us for a session with Ilene Frank and David McCurry exploring several important questions and experiences related to the use of open source documents as text materials for higher education.

Registration

Open to the public - FREE

If you're new to a TLT Group event, please become an Online Institute Registrant member for free to participate (and consider becoming an individual member!).

Source

[http://bit.ly/faRjqr]

CT > Textbook Publishing In A Flat World

Campus Technology / 08-06-08 / Dian Schaffhauser

According to the National Association of College Stores in a 2007 survey, the average cost of a new college textbook was $53. The founders of Flat World Knowledge, which launches with its first run of college textbooks this fall, consider that too high--so high, in fact, that they'll be offering textbooks for free, at least in versions that can be read online.

[snip]

In this interview, Co-founder and CMO Eric Frank explains how he and Co-founder and CEO Jeff Shelstad expect to make money following an open source model of publishing ... .

Dian Schaffhauser: What do the economics of the Flat World textbook look like?

Eric Frank: There are two major factors that play in our economics. We build our model on the average student spending $35. That means some will spend zero; some will spend $50 or $60. Most of that revenue is renewable. [snip].

[snip]

... Our model is saying, we're going to make less the first time, but we're going to get more students in that class to buy things, and they are going to buy them more consistently over that same timeframe. Our revenue flows over a two-year adoption are very similar to a traditional publisher.

That is secret sauce No. 1. Secret sauce No. 2 is we're also able to significantly reduce our cost of doing business. There is lots of process innovation that doesn't happen in big publishing companies.... I just fundamentally do not believe that we need 350 sales reps to sell, given that our model is so dramatically different. [snip].

Schaffhauser: What's open source about Flat World's scheme?

Frank: There are two major drivers of what makes us open source. No. 1, there's a legal foundation. Our books are still copyrighted, although one difference is that our authors retain their copyright. We do not. They simply license it to us to be able to market and sell under our model. Nonetheless, when we make it available to a customer, we do so under a variation of a Creative Commons license, [which says] some of our rights are reserved and many rights are not reserved. [snip].

There's also a technological foundation. You've got to give people a platform in which it is easy for them to make the kinds of changes they want to make. [snip].

[snip]

We fundamentally believe that most customers who come to Flat World, they're going to be most interested in the original version of the book that is being authored and maintained by experts in the field that are highly recognized. But when somebody makes a copy of that and modifies it, they are really doing it because they believe there's value for their teaching and for their student's learning in their class. We give them the option of either keeping that as a private version or adding it back into our catalog as a derivative of the original and explaining to their peers what it is that they have done. [snip].

Schaffhauser: How does the author get compensated?

Frank: Students have made it very clear to us that at the right price point, they would pay for convenience. [snip].

The other thing we do is create sales study aides around our books--things like podcast study guides for each chapter, Web-based practice quizzes for every chapter, animated solutions of complex problems with video instruction, mobile flashcards, all the key concepts for chapters that you can use digital flashcards for. [snip].

Schaffhauser: Is the fundamental product, the textbook itself, going to be same as what we're accustomed to right now?

Frank: I think the answer to that is more yes than no. We actually think that, over time, there are interesting ways to enhance the product like embedded tutorials and more and more things that really enrich the learning experience. But initially, by and large ... we're actually trying to create a product experience that feels familiar but with a radically different usage and distribution pricing model. [snip].

[snip]

Schaffhauser: Will Flat World be launching with first edition content?

Frank: Yes, they will all be published initially as first edition. And then we will, like publishers do, publish new editions. Our office will publish and maintain new editions over the life of that book. [snip].

Schaffhauser: When you make the statement that market pressures would not drive the decision to put out a new edition, is that the standard practice?

Frank: Yes, I think that the practice of publishing new editions has largely become an exercise in flushing used books and international gray market books and pirated editions out of the marketplace and refreshing revenue for the publisher. [snip].

Schaffhauser: Are there curriculum categories or subjects where this model seems to resonate more closely with the potential authors, the faculty, and the students?

Frank: Initially, we're focusing on business and economics. Internally, we just have a lot of expertise in that area, a lot of author relationships that we can bring to the table. It is also a great curriculum globally, so a lot of times, a course taught in this country looks a lot like the business course taught in Singapore. [snip].

Once we establish a beachhead of success, we'll likely begin to identify and publish in other fruitful areas. I think engineering is another one--very expensive books, very global curricula....

There are some markets like science that might be challenging on the cost side for us. The expense of rendering really sophisticated anatomy and physiology images, it might be prohibitive for me in the early years of the business, whereas the cost of typesetting mathematical equations in engineering isn't.

Schaffhauser: What haven't I asked you?

Frank: I do not think about this as a traditional print book versus an e-book. I actually think of [us] not as a digital publisher, although, of course, at the heart of this thing is a digital workflow, but at the end of the day, we're a publisher. We publish books, and when we do, instead of publishing them in one format, which is print, we publish them in multiple formats, which is black and white print, color print, audio, digital. I think that is really the key difference .[snip].

I think the fundamental problem that Flat World is fixing ... is that there has always been this imbalance in this marketplace. A faculty member chooses the book, but he or she doesn't pay for it; so they do not think a lot about the price. As a result, as prices continue to go up, the students are going to be paying. What we're fundamentally saying is, "Listen, professor, you can do your job, take a great book, get a great author, get a great book, but when you make a decision to use a Flat World book, what you are doing is taking great learning material, but now giving your students the choice about how they want to consume it and if and how much they want to pay. Once you have done that, you're fixing this imbalance that exists."

Source 

[http://campustechnology.com/articles/2008/08/textbook-publishing-in-a-flat-world.aspx]

Why The iPad Is A Learning Tool

Learning Solutions Magazine / October 27, 2010 / Sesh Kuma

In 1968, Alan Kay wrote about his idea to create “A Personal Computer for Children of All Ages.” The device was the Dynabook, and it had all the features of what we now call a laptop or tablet PC. Kay intended it as a way to introduce children to digital media.

The Dynabook embodied the earliest idea of mobile learning. The origins of a personal computing device began with an educational vision. Today, with the Apple iPad, that vision has the potential to become a reality.

Across the U.S., universities and schools see the iPad as the device that will truly take classroom education into the digital era. Greg Smith, CIO at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, says,

“The iPad appears to be the perfect device for information at your fingertips, which places it in the role to ignite change.”

iPad champions hope it will initiate the change that will soon displace one-to-many teaching pedagogies in favor of one-to-one, always-on learning that will engage students. In particular, educators feel that tablets will change education because they dovetail with the goals and purposes of education in the digital age.

Let’s look at the features that make the iPad such a great learning device.

Touch Screen Usability

[snip]

Single Screen User Interface

[snip]

A Better eReader

[snip]

Convergence and Productivity

[snip]

Summary

While the debate continues, there’s no doubt that the iPad has taken personal computing to the next level. Considering computing devices began with a vision of revolutionizing education, it’s not surprising that many of the iPad's features appeal to educational users.

Inset

What do students and teachers like about the iPad?

Students
  • Can be preloaded with textbooks and used for tutorials
  • Enhanced ability to manage information
    – like classes, schedules, and assignments
  • Lightweight and portable, ideal for students on-the-go
Teachers
  • Design and publish learning material, video-based training
  • Deliver presentations and projects to the class
  • Manage assignments, maintain rosters of students
Source

[http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/545/why-the-ipad-is-a-learning-tool]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

eTexts @ Indiana University

New Models for Electronic Texts and Course Materials

[ http://etexts.iu.edu/ ]

Students and many stakeholders in higher education are concerned with the costs of textbooks.  Empowering People, IU's Strategic Plan for IT, asserts that "IU should be at the forefront of enabling its faculty to creatively experiment with and adopt new models for providing educational resources to students."  All indications point to rapid change in digital reader devices (e.g., iPad, Droids, Kindles, PC/Macs, laptops, etc.), digital textbooks, and print-on-demand.

Thus, in 2009, IU began studying and testing new models that could lower the cost of course materials and take advantage of new opportunities to enhance student engagement and learning.  IU will continue to engage in a range of pilot trials for any new models that show promise towards IU objectives.

Objectives of IU's eTexts Efforts:
  1. Substantially drive down the cost of digital educational resources for students
  2. Enable access to high quality materials -- in both digital and hardcopy formats -- that are valued by faculty and students
  3. Enable new tools for teaching and learning (e.g., social annotation, ease of access)
  4. Shape the terms of eTexts models to favor the interests of IU students and author
FAQ

[http://etexts.iu.edu/faq/index.php]

Resources

> Reports on Indiana University Pilot
> Open Educational Materials
> Commercial Options for eTexts/Digital Educational Resources
> Articles/Publications

[http://etexts.iu.edu/resources/index.php]

Videos

Evolution of the Textbook Model - Using an iPad or other mobile device?

[http://etexts.iu.edu/video/engine/swf/player.swf?url=../../brad_2010.f4v ]

Remarks to the Bloomington Faculty Council / November 2nd, 2010

[http://etexts.iu.edu/video/engine/swf/player.swf?url=../../Evolving_eTexts.f4v].

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Open Revolution: An Environmental Scan Of The Open Textbook Landscape

The Open Revolution: An Environmental Scan of the Open Textbook Landscape / North Carolina State University Library / Digital Scholarship & Publishing Center / Jordan Frith / August 10 2009

Table of Contents

Executive Summary
Introduction
Scope
Open Textbooks Environmental Scan
Wikibooks
Wikibooks and the Constructivist Classroom
Wikibooks Copyright
Connexions
Advantages/Disadvantages
Connexions Copyright
Flat World Knowledge
Advantages/Disadvantages.
Copyright
The Global Text Project
Global Text Project Copyright
Textbook Media
Copyright
Overview
Conclusion
References
Open Textbook Resources and Links

Executive Summary

The cost of textbooks has long been an area of concern for students, professors, and administrators. Students in higher education spend over $900 a year on textbooks, amounting to roughly 20% of the cost of attending a four year public institution (Zomer, 2007). Many students cannot afford the cost of textbooks, and are forced to decide between paying tuition and purchasing the necessary textbooks for a course. As Internet use skyrocketed, textbook publishers began developing electronic textbooks, which ideally would have decreased the cost of textbooks. Electronic books have not decreased costs significantly, however, and in some cases may increase costs for students. Over the last decade, the prices of textbooks have increased at roughly four times the rate of inflation and will likely continue to increase in the foreseeable future (Zomer, 2007).

Concerned individuals have recognized the problem of rising textbook costs and have actively developed new open textbooks. Open textbooks are textbooks in electronic form that are freely available and accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. The open textbook landscape is not monolithic and fixed. There are many open textbooks published across an array of platforms and content continues to be developed. This white paper serves as a synchronic environmental scan of the current open textbook landscape, examining five open textbook platforms: (1) Wikibooks, (2) Connexions, (3) Flat World Knowledge, (4) The Global Text Project, and (5) Textbook Media. These five platforms share some features but are useful for different purposes
.
While this white paper analyzes these five platforms in depth, a few findings are worth pointing to in this summary:

Connexions and Flat World Knowledge both provide professors with high quality open textbook options. These two platforms follow very different models. Connexions uses a modular format where content is chunked into nonlinear modules and professors can combine modules to form collections that function as full textbooks.  Flat World Knowledge features full textbooks that are in final form, ready to be adopted for classroom use. These different models will appeal to different users. Professors interested in additional flexibility can draw from the wealth of Connexions modules and create flexible textbooks to match their courses; however, compiling collections will result in more up front work for professors. Flat World Knowledge provides full textbooks for professors interested in adopting a more traditional textbook format. These textbooks do not require the work necessary to compile a Connexions textbook, but they provide professors with less flexibility.

Wikibooks can be used as a valuable open textbook tool in a constructivist classroom. Professors can encourage students to actively construct their own knowledge by having them use the Wikibooks platform to create their own textbooks. Projects that have used this approach have found encouraging results.

Conclusion

The open textbook movement has grown quickly in the last decade and shows no sign of slowing down. The prices of textbooks have continued to increase even with the move to electronic textbooks, and as long as textbook cost remains too high for a significant number of students, interest in open textbooks will continue to grow. This paper has examined the current state of the open textbook movement, focusing on five open textbook platforms. The examination has not been comprehensive though, and there are numerous open textbook options that have not been addressed in this paper. Going forward, some of these platforms might become more prominent and some might fail. Also, new platforms will arise that provide new options for publishing open textbooks. The future is uncertain, but there is little doubt that the number of open textbooks will continue to increase.

While this paper has examined a few sources that provide open textbooks, it is important to stress that the movement is not yet where it needs to be. Some professors will be able to use the resources outlined above, and some will not. Certain disciplines, particularly business, have more open textbook resources available than others. Professors teaching more obscure courses will likely have to rely on textbooks published by traditional publishers. In the future, more high quality materials will be available for professors teaching in various disciplines. FWK’s catalog hopefully represents an overall increase in open textbook materials. FWK currently only has six textbooks available, but by February, 2010, there will be over 25 textbooks available on the site. Connexions also continues to grow quickly and currently has over 9,000 available modules.

These growing resources are important to highlight to remind reader that this paper is not an environmental scan of a static environment. During the research for this article countless Wikibooks were begun, over 500 new modules were deposited in Connexions, and three new books were published on FWK. As material continues to be developed, a few exemplar textbooks will hopefully show the viability of the movement and spur adoption and use. We can hope that the future of the textbook industry will be one of traditional textbooks competing with open options. Both professors and students will benefit from that competition.

Source And Full Text Available At

[http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/dspc/opentextbookswhitepaper.pdf]