Monday, April 30, 2012

Free May 1 2012 CCCOER Webinar: Finding and Selecting High Quality Open Educational Resources


Please join us May 1st, 1:00 pm EST for the CCCOER Webinar “Finding and Selecting  High Quality Open Educational Resources”.   Hear from a community college librarian, the director of a statewide open textbook project, and an open textbook publisher on best approaches for finding and selecting high-quality, accessible open textbooks and open educational resources to enhance teaching and learning in your classroom and expand access to education.  Our featured speakers are:

  • Kate Hess, Librarian, Kirkwood Community College, IA
  • Dr. Robin Donaldson, Director Open Access Textbook Project, Florida Distance Learning Consortium
  • David Harris, Editor-in-Chief, OpenStax College, Rice University, TX
Source  and Link to Sign-In Available At 

[http://bit.ly/IecyON]


A/V Available At 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Digital Transformation of Education: A 21st Century Imperative


Posted: 04/27/2012 1:14 pm

Over the past several years, the education debate in America has increasingly become a conversation about technology. As we've seen the benefit of having tablets and smartphones in our lives, we've started to pin to it our hopes for our nation's education system, as well. Recently this talk has reached something close to a fever pitch. [snip]

However, as with any movement, critics have emerged. Some question technology's real ability to improve student learning outcomes -- things like pass rates, graduation rates and overall academic performance -- suggesting that what we're really doing by bringing technology into the classroom is entertaining students who are otherwise prone to boredom and apathy. Others worry about the cost of all this technology, especially during times of constrained budgets.

As we push forward with the digital transformation of education, it's worth taking a look at just how greatly technology can impact teaching and learning in this country -- and what's at stake, not just for our students but our society as a whole.

Creating a More Engaged Classroom

For many of us, technology plays a crucial role in how we obtain and process information and apply our knowledge on a daily basis. [snip].

So why would we want to ask them to curb these impulses once they enter the classroom? One thing I've learned throughout my career in education is that students thirst for connections between what they're learning in the classroom (and how) and what they see happening in the real world. Bringing technology into the classroom helps them draw these parallels and keeps them interested in what they're learning. It also provides options for students with different learning styles.

Increasing engagement is about much more than simply entertaining our students with new devices and whiz-bang multimedia; it's about accomplishing the very real task of connecting them more closely to their coursework, to their teachers and to each other. Technology enables biology students to touch, spin and explore the structure of a molecule as they're reading about it in a text, watch a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King as they read about the civil rights era and ask questions of their classmates and complete their homework assignments all in a digital environment. By fostering these connections, technology can enhance and increase students' learning interactions, leading to better performance.

[snip]

Making Personalized Learning a Reality

To teach our students effectively, we first have to learn about them. One of the best ways to do this is to use technology to collect data that tells us where they're strong and where they're weak, how they learn best, and use this data to create personalized pathways to help students build their knowledge and skills.

The single hottest trend in education technology is the popularity of adaptive learning systems. These systems use student assessments to gather performance data and point students to course content that's specifically targeted to help them build their knowledge and skills. [snip].

Teachers and professors are critical to providing personalized learning. What technology like adaptive learning and formative assessments are designed to do is to allow them to deliver it as efficiently as possible.

Technology is helping to improve student performance -- and long-term success

The simplest reason why we should continue our push to bring technology to our classrooms is also the best one: it works. According to the U.S. Department of Education and recent studies by the National Training and Simulation Association, technology-based instruction can reduce the time students take to reach a learning objective by 30 to 80 percent. In the world of higher education, where technology is adopted at a much faster rate than in K-12 schools, adaptive learning systems such as LearnSmart have already been shown to have a significant impact on student pass rates, retention rates and overall academic performance.

[snip]

A Roadmap to Our Digital Future

[snip]

Building the digital future of our education system requires a major commitment from school administrators, teachers, parents, policymakers and education companies. As technology evolves and the data proving its effectiveness becomes clearer and more abundant, it's my hope that all of these groups will work together and treat technology not as a luxury but as the 21st century imperative that it's truly become. The tools to transform education are finally in front of us; now it's time to put them to work.

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://huff.to/IhB6Gr]

Benefits of eTextbooks



With the current popularity of iPad, Kindle, and other e-book readers, e-books have logically become more common. Many bookworms rave about how e-books are more practical compared to printed books. Buying e-books is more convenient because there is no need to drop by a bookstore just to buy. Purchases can be made online and copies of the book can be downloaded instantly.

For students, the popularity of eTextbooks is also increasing. The benefits of eTextbooks are the most pressing factor why many college students today prefer those than printed copies. [snip].

The benefits of eTextbooks are always exceeding and overshadowing any setback. Here are some of those advantages, which further endear such forms of references to many modern college students.

Easier customization

Many textbook publishers offer and facilitate ‘build-a-book’ option to bolster the attractiveness of their eTextbooks. The option allows instructors to strategically mix and match chapters and content of books as well as case studies to make customized versions of eTextbooks specifically for their classes. [snip]

Publishers, surprisingly, love customization of eTextbooks. That is because customized eTextbooks or printed books logically disable students to sell the textbooks as used copies after use. [snip].

Availability of etextbook rentals

The benefits of eTextbooks also include the availability of etextbook rentals, which should not be a surprise today. Customized eTextbooks can also be offered for rent. [snip].

eTextbook rentals are advantageous because there is no need to scout numerous used textbook stores and university book stores to find and rent books. Rentals are made more convenient and affordable. [snip].

Lastly, the benefits of eTextbooks will not be complete without citing the ease of use. Readers can always adjust the fonts of the books to make those more readable. Searching for keywords are also possible in an instant through word-searching tools and functions.

Source and Fulltext Available at 

[http://rent-the-textbook.com/benefits-of-etextbooks/]

Textbooks Will Go the Way of the Yellow Pages


When I was a kid, the Yellow Pages were prime real estate for local companies. Companies would choose names like Aaaaardvark Automotive in order to place themselves at the top of the alphabetical search. [snip]

Then came Google.

Suddenly the information was no longer isolated and then broadcasted, but multifaceted and social. For decades, the Yellow Pages vetted names and numbers through a process of reliability. Google was cheaper, faster and more relevant - if not more reliable.  Suddenly an algorithm replaced the sacred yellow book, wrecking havoc on the order (in this case alphabetical order) and placing importance on validity.

Over time, social media emerged. Now businesses were available on Twitter and Facebook, through apps like Four Square and on viral videos. [snip]

It has me thinking about the textbook. Corporations are spending big money trying to redefine textbooks. The name change toward "curriculum" speaks volumes to this reality. Now it's a video or a blog or a set of supplemental materials. Or it's a push toward glossy iBooks.

I wonder, though, if the textbook is simply an educational Yellow Book, trying to reinvent itself as something relevant when the reality is that information has become more widespread, more user-created and more social than the days of the textbook.

I'm wondering if information has become more social, more user-generated, more widespread and more chaotic than the days of the standardized textbook. I'm wondering if the push to redefine the textbook is simply a final, desperate attempt to suggest that the textbook is more than a modernist relic in factory whose product is becoming increasingly irrelevant in an age of social media.

And here's the crazy part: the most relevant alternative is what was buried underneath the standardized factory. It's the idea that we should evaluate information from multiple sources and learn to think critically through both introspection and social interaction. [snip].

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://bit.ly/JBmOKR]

Friday, April 27, 2012

When Cell Phones Are the Book: Some Observations on e-Readers



April 26, 2012, 11:00 AM / Natalie Houston

Over the past few years, increasing numbers of students in my classes have been using e-readers of different sorts. But this semester marks something of a turning point in that trend, as I’d estimate at least half of my students in each of my two literature courses this semester have been using e-readers. As I’m wrapping up the semester, I thought I’d share a few observations about this trend and its impact in my classroom.

The Classroom Context

First, I should make clear that I’m simply describing my own experience in two upper-level literature courses this semester. I teach nineteenth-century British literature, so all of the texts I teach are in the public domain and hence available for e-readers. These are specialized courses that do not use a survey textbook . [snip]

I strive to create an intellectually rigorous and socially relaxed space in my classroom and my main policy regarding electronic devices is that students not disrupt others in the class. [snip]. To accomodate different learning styles, I allow students to use electronic devices such as laptops or tablets to take notes in my class and I’ve welcomed students using e-readers as well. What was very noticeable this semester was the increase in the number of students using smartphones as e-readers. [snip].

Student Use of E-Readers is Variable

Too often, the discussions I’ve read about the use of e-readers tends to assume that the switch from paper to pixel is an all-or-nothing decision. What I’ve observed suggests otherwise:

  • Some students used electronic texts for every book in the course
  • Some students used electronic texts for some books and paper copies for others
  • Some students used multiple devices for reading course materials, switching (sometimes even during a class session) among a laptop, Kindle, or smartphone
  • Some students used both an e-reader and a paper copy of the text, sometimes simultaneously
  • Some students use the e-reader just for reading
  • Some students used the e-reader for both reading and taking notes

The Classroom Looks Different Now

Because these technological shifts are still ongoing, it still feels a bit disconcerting to see students pulling out their phones as class begins, rather than putting them away. Seeing students typing (whether on a laptop, e-reader, or phone) while I’m talking is still a bit more distracting to me than when they scribble in a paper notebook. [snip].

Some of my strongest students this semester were those who were using one or multiple e-devices. At times, they used their bookmark and search functions to bring key passages into the discussion that would have been difficult to locate otherwise. At times, it’s also probable that they sent some text messages while they were in my class. But I’m sticking with my open policy regarding electronic devices because it’s my job as a teacher to reach as many students as I can — and to recognize that their modes of engagement with the course materials may look different from my own.

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://bit.ly/IQWU87]



Thursday, April 26, 2012

University [of Minnesota] Looks to Remove Barriers to Open Textbooks


University of Minnesota officials have adopted popular parts of open textbook initiatives from across the country


Low-cost, open-content textbooks are universally popular on college campuses, but two burning questions have stunted the open textbook movement: Where can faculty and students find these resources, and how can they be sure the books are of the highest quality?

The University of Minnesota (UMN) set out to answer both questions with its April 23 introduction of the campus’s Open Academics textbook catalog, an online repository of textbooks with an open license that lets students read the books for free online, or order a printed version for a fraction of the usual textbook cost.

UMN’s open textbook library, with 90 books in stock, will first provide textbooks for the school’s largest introductory classes, with plans to expand to smaller courses in coming years.

[snip]

UMN officials who assembled the Open Academics textbook catalog followed the example of the University of Massachusetts Amherst by offering $500 to any faculty member who would review or adopt an open book.

UMN will ask professors from all campus departments to contribute to the review and adoption efforts and might partner with foundations to bring more experts into the textbook review process, said Dave Ernst, a university faculty member who headed the creation of the open-content catalog.

[snip]

UMass Amherst’s Open Education Initiative last year awarded ten $1,000 grants to eight faculty members who developed low-cost technological alternatives to commercial textbooks that can cost upwards of $300 apiece. The school’s $10,000 grant program saved students more than $70,000 in 2011, according to a UMass Amherst announcement.

[snip]

Low-cost, open-content textbooks are universally popular on college campuses, but two burning questions have stunted the open textbook movement: Where can faculty and students find these resources, and how can they be sure the books...

Source and FullText Available At 

[http://bit.ly/IbT3X8]

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Digital Backpack


[snip]

Amongst the chatter of the book fair, I read a piece by a journalist who said that whilst publishers have embraced simple text-based eBooks, few are ready to back anything more complex as it requires significant investment. In my opinion, that view isn't entirely correct. We're in a perfect storm of innovation, and I believe the publishing industry has responded magnificently. Just look at the partnership between Cengage Learning, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Wiley who set up CourseSmart; the world's largest provider of eTextbooks and digital course materials. On Monday, at the book fair, these publishers were on hand when CourseSmart's expansion into the UK and Europe was announced with its online eCommerce platform. Not really a sign of publishers not wanting to back anything more complex, is it?

eTexbooks and the rise of the digital backpack

[snip] Today, the higher education landscape and student experience is dramatically different as eTextbooks gain momentum and students acquire themselves a digital backpack. Thanks to significant innovation in technology, digital course materials, and the proliferation of mobile devices, today's digital natives are in a position to benefit from an enhanced, streamlined and superior approach to learning.

 Students are not only embracing digital devices - including eReaders, smartphones and laptop computers - they are completely dependent on them and eTextbooks open up a whole new world for those students. [snip]. The proliferation of smartphones has led students to expect instant access to everything and anything, including their course materials.

Due to their flexibility and anytime, anywhere access, eTextbooks have become an attractive option for many students that frequently have to fit studying in between their other responsibilities such as work and internships. Three-quarters (73%) of students indicated they bring their textbooks with them "on the go" and nearly half (48%) of all students who own a tech device frequently read eTextbooks. With university fees set to rise, and the hassle of reselling your second hand books for next to nothing, the cost of eTextbooks is another factor attracting students, allowing them to save up to 40% on textbook costs by renting them online.

[snip]

Source and Fulltext Available At

[http://huff.to/ICmWvQ]

States Move Slowly Toward Digital Textbooks

Digital textbooks have gotten a lot of ink in recent months. In January, Apple attracted attention when it announced its foray into the field with the iBook, a multimedia-rich textbook for the iPad produced by the biggest educational publishers and costing less than $15. The next month Julius Genachowski, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, unveiled the Obama administration's Digital Learning Playbook, and called for all students to use digital textbooks by 2017.


[snip]

For all the noise nationally, movement to digital has been slow at the state and district level. Digital textbooks still account for only a small fraction of overall textbook sales. Still, several states have enacted changes in recent years to make it easier for districts to go digital and use free material in the classroom that's available digitally.

This year, Alabama's legislature is considering a bill that would provide digital textbooks and tablet devices to all high school students, to be paid for with $100 million in bonds. The measure was approved in the House Education Policy committee at the end of February, but hasn't made it to the House floor. If it does ultimately pass, Alabama would be only the second state to require the purchase of digital content. Florida became the first last year, when it moved to require that all schools spend at least 50 percent of their annual instructional materials budget on digital content by the 2015-16 school year.

[snip]

Defining Terms


For a number of states, the first question is defining what constitutes a textbook. In the past few years, several states have redefined the terms "textbook" and "instructional materials" to include a wider array of options, including digital texts and material and, in some cases, actual hardware.

That's the case in Indiana, where the state's board of education issued a blanket waiver to all districts in 2009 allowing them to spend all or part of the money they previously spent on textbooks to purchase digital content or devices. That waiver became part of state law in 2011.

[snip]

Finding the Money

Keller believes that the move to digital content will improve student learning, but that, particularly in the short term, it might not be a money-saver. The seemingly lower prices of digital content are deceptive, he says. Take the iBook. That $15 "book" is for one student's use and can't be passed on to anyone else. Print textbooks typically cost several multiples of that $15 fee, but they can be reused by students in successive years, bringing the per-use cost down. And that's before taking into account the acquisition cost of the iPad required to view iBooks.

But some digital advocates say the shift toward more technology doesn't have to mean significantly higher costs. Maine gives laptops to every middle school student in the state, at a cost of less than one percent of the state education budget, according to Jeff Mao, learning technology policy director for the state.  It's expanding to high school students as well, with the goal of providing laptops for every student in grades seven through twelve by 2013.

Mao says that schools can find cost-savings in digital textbooks if they take advantage of content that's available for free. He is one of a small but growing number of educational leaders pushing their states to use free content available online, known as open educational resources, or develop their own. [snip].

[snip]

Reuven Carlyle doesn't agree. The Washington State legislator was instrumental in creating a statewide open resource project that is building course content for the 81 most popular community colleges in the state. But he turned his attention to K-12 textbooks after he noticed his 9th grade daughter Adi reading a school textbook on world history that was more than 20 years old. "The state of Washington spends $128 million each biennium on textbooks," he says. "It is the legislature's job to be an intelligent consumer."

Putting teachers in charge


[snip]"

A strength of that material is that it can be customized by schools and teachers, because it is not proprietary, as commercial texts are. Carlyle points to the "FlexBooks" created by the CK-12 Foundation as an example. The foundation's philosophy is to give digital texts to teachers and let them make changes as they see fit. [snip].

CK-12 FlexBooks serve as the basis for the statewide open math and science texts that the state of Utah announced it will be creating in January. For Utah, the appeal of CK-12 and other open content is that it can be customized to the state's version of the national Common Core Standards.

[snip]

The statewide open resource program builds off a pilot initiated in 2010 by David Wiley, an education professor at Utah's Brigham Young University.

Though the material is obtained and edited digitally, Wiley says most schools so far have actually chosen to print it out for students, creating texts that look and feel like workbooks and cost about $5 to produce. So far, students in the pilot have shown test scores comparable to those of students using traditional textbooks. Wiley expects to see gains as the program continues.

[snip]

Source and Fulltext Available At


[http://bit.ly/Idwt0a]

LexisNexis Partners with OverDrive To Debut Digital Library



LexisNexis announced an agreement with OverDrive to create the LexisNexis Digital Library on April 23. Available now on a limited basis for “select pilot customers,” LexisNexis spokesperson Marc Osborn told LJ, it will be available broadly early in the third quarter of 2012.

OverDrive will create and customize a website for each law firm or organization, and a librarian or designated administrator will manage it and acquire titles for the collection. Among the decisions the librarian can make, Osborn told LJ, are the length of the checkout period (from 7-180 days), whether books can be renewed, and whether there is a maximum checkout quantity at one time. Academic and government law libraries are expected to take advantage of the service as well as law firms and corporations
.
In addition to LexisNexis’ more than 1,100 electronic legal titles, users will have access to OverDrive’s 700,000-title Content Reserve collection development portal. Many titles offer simultaneous access. “Individual LexisNexis eBooks range in price from $14 to $1,000+ and select titles are available by subscription,” Osborn told LJ. “LexisNexis Digital Library pricing varies and ranges from a single user, single copy approach to an unlimited use pricing model.”

Legal professionals can check out and return titles via the website, a mobile version of the site or a downloadable app. Books may be checked back into the digital library early if the user is finished with the title, according to Osborn. Otherwise, when the checkout period expires, the book is automatically returned.
LexisNexis eBooks are compatible with Windows and Mac computers, iOS, Android, Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader, and BlackBerry.

Source

[http://bit.ly/Idga3F]

Monday, April 23, 2012

UNBOUND: Speculations on the Future of the Book > May 3-4 2012 > MIT > Cambridge MA



This symposium explores the future potential of the book by engaging practitioners and performers of this versatile technology to ask some key questions: is the book an artifact on its deathbed or a mutable medium transitioning into future forms? What shape will books of the future take? Grounded in this technology’s history, we will reflect critically on possible futures, promises, and challenges of the book, showcasing practices by writers and artists, putting them in conversation with scholars and thinkers from across the disciplines who are framing discourse and questions about book-related technotexts. This symposium hopes to foster a lively discussion where audience members participate and invoke their multiple perspectives on the book.

Keynote speakers include:
Christian Bök (University of Calgary)
N. Katherine Hayles (from Duke University)
Bonnie Mak (University of Illinois)
Rita Raley (University of Santa Barbara)
James Reid-Cunningham (Boston Athenaeum)
and Bob Stein (Institute for the Future of the Book)

Source and Links to Program / Free Registration / Exhibitions / Etc. Available At

University of Minnesota Creates Open Academics Textbook Catalog


MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL (04/23/2012) —In an effort to reduce higher education costs for students, one college at the University of Minnesota announced today that it has created a tool to help faculty find more affordable textbook options. The Open Academics textbook catalog [http://open.umn.edu], created in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), is a searchable online catalog of “open textbooks” that will be reviewed by U of M faculty.

Open textbooks are published under a license that enables students to get free or low-cost versions of their textbooks online, electronically, or in print. The Open Academics catalog is the first of its kind hosted at a major research institution. It is available to faculty worldwide.

[snip]

College students will spend an average of $1,168 on course materials for 2011-2012. Concerns over textbook costs have fueled a growing movement toward open textbooks and other open educational resources. The Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) found that using open textbooks saves students 80 percent on average over traditional textbooks. The Open Academics textbook catalog empowers faculty to bring those savings to U of M students.

[snip]

The catalog currently lists 84 open textbooks that are in use in classrooms across the country. Over the next year, CEHD will work with U of M faculty to review the texts in this collection, making it easier for users to judge textbook quality. CEHD will support faculty who choose to review and adopt open textbooks with $500-$1,000 stipends.

[snip]

The catalog is the latest of several noteworthy educational technology programs at the University of Minnesota. All incoming freshmen in CEHD receive iPads, which will enable students to use the less expensive and free digital formats of open textbooks. The U of M is also participating in a multi-university e-textbook pilot program, which, in selected courses, offers e-books at a significantly lower cost.

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://bit.ly/JP4WwA]

See Also

Inside Higher Ed > May 10 2012 > Textbook Alternative

[http://bit.ly/Llz3yn]

U of Minnesota Opens Up to Open Source Textbooks


St. Paul, Minn. — The University of Minnesota bookstore has one of the largest textbook departments in the country, with rows of shelves piled high with titles — everything from Algebra One to Nuclear Physics.

Students can buy Shakespeare's books for less than $10, but that's only because the literary rights have long ago expired. The average price of the store's books is about $50 and some titles fetch as much as $225 — another sign of the rising price of college education.

Paying for textbooks is becoming such a burden for college students, that today the University of Minnesota is launching an online project to hunt down free textbooks to replace the pricey ink-and-paper versions. It's part of a national movement to cut the cost of textbooks.

The university has an extensive used and rental program to help make textbooks more affordable. But students like Hengyi Huang try to avoid the campus bookstore altogether.

[snip]

Obnoxious or not, commercially printed textbooks dominate the market. There's a growing effort to change that, as dozens of so-called open-source textbooks are available online for free.

But such books have been slow to catch on, said David Ernst, director of academic and information technology for the College of Education and Human Development.

"The open textbooks are out there," Ernst said. "And they're scattered."

[snip]

"The second reason is that they don't know what is quality when they do find them," Ernst said.

Written by experts in their fields, open-source textbooks generally allow users to edit the texts or make "mash-ups" from several books.

Ernst is leading a new project at the University of Minnesota that will review open-source textbooks and collect the ones that pass muster in an online catalog. He said the project will concentrate first on the most widely taught courses, like introductory biology and math.

[snip]

"There are some sites that list reviews of open textbooks but I think this one is significant because it's actually developed by a Big Ten, well-respected university," said Allen, director of the research group's Make Textbooks Affordable Project.

The catalog is part of a national effort to create cheaper alternatives to commercially published textbooks. Some educational foundations have paid scholars to write free textbooks. Other publishers offer electronic versions for free, but charge for printed copies.

[snip]

Source, Fulltext and Link To Audio Available At 

[http://bit.ly/IuJj6c]

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Van Schaik Intros e-Textbooks

Van Schaik Bookstore, a supplier of academic, trade and reference textbooks, is adding e-textbooks to its offering, as an increasing number of students and educators transition to digital learning resources.

The bookseller has signed a deal with VitalSource to use its online e-textbook platform, and aims to debut its offering in July.

“Having served the academic market in Africa for nearly a century, we have a clear understanding of the needs of our unique customer base,” said Stephan Erasmus, MD of Van Schaik Bookstore.
He added that Van Schaik considered e-textbooks a growing and important part of the future of education, and that partnering with VitalSource provided the resources to support learning throughout Africa.

Using digital tools means it can deliver e-textbooks to a wide customer base without costly infrastructure investments, the bookseller added.

 According to William Chesser, VP of sales at VitalSource Technologies, the platform is an online/offline e-book solution with iOS and Android apps supporting Mac, Windows and browser-based access. “The multiplicity of access options is crucial in an emerging environment like South African higher education,” said Chesser. 























[snip]

The e-textbook offering will enable Van Schaik to help client campuses tackle content aggregation and access challenges, as well as the integration, finance, support and training considerations that come with the migration to a digital education world, said Chesser.

[snip]

Source and Fulltext Available At

[http://bit.ly/JF1rZD]

College Faculty Continue their Love Affair with Print Textbooks, Says New BISG Study



Research finds overwhelming percentage of faculty feel students need texts to succeed… and they prefer them in print.

New York, New York (PRWEB) April 17, 2012

A first ever survey of college faculty perceptions toward classroom materials found that professors continue to equate their own and their students’ successes in the classroom to the use of materials such as textbooks and most prefer print formats. Faculty Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education, led by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) and powered by Bowker® Market Research, reveals that 93 percent of faculty feel students who use required course materials receive higher grades in class. An even higher percentage feel the use of these materials by students enables professors to be more effective teachers.

“The emergence of e-books has led to a lot of confusion in the marketplace about what faculty want from publishers,” said Angela Bole, BISG's Deputy Executive Director. “While students may be the ultimate consumers of course materials, professors are not only influencers, they are the decision-makers. Understanding where they fit on the e- versus print continuum is essential for any organization serving this market.”

Faculty Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education is a companion to BISG’s Student Attitudes Toward Content in Higher Education, which provides a unique counterpoint to the new study. Results from these studies show that print continues to be the dominant format made available by faculty, as well as the format most often selected by students. While 32 percent of faculty said they make e-book options available, only 2 percent of students select them as the primary way to access content.

[snip]

Indeed, comparing results from the two studies shows that faculty are lagging slightly behind students in fondness for e-texts: 12 percent of faculty prefer this emerging format to print, while 16 percent of students prefer “e” to “p.” Of faculty members who have already adopted an e-textbook (20 percent), 90 percent are pleased with the results and say they will likely adopt an e-text in the future. Faculty who have not yet adopted an e-textbook provide several reasons for preferring print: ease of bookmarking, higher levels of engagement, preference for the look and feel of print, and students’ lack of devices for viewing e-textbooks.

[snip]

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://bit.ly/IgMXlJ]

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Digital Curriculum Part 1… Textbook To Flexbook… Free, Open Source, Engaging



[snip]

With so many schools beginning the journey towards a 1 to 1 initiative, it really is time to investigate how a digital device in every child’s hand can transform learning… even down to what a student carries in a book bag! In fact, could it be that the book bag may just have to find a new name? After all, why carry around an encyclopedia of books when that same print can be stored in a digital manner? Additionally, why limit it to print? One group providing a free and open source alternative is the CK-12 Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to reduce the cost of textbook materials for the K-12 market both in the U.S. and worldwide. C-K12 is building an open-content, web-based collaborative model termed the “FlexBook”, In fact, CK-12 intends to pioneer the generation and distribution of high quality educational content that can serve as both a core text and at the same time provide an adaptive environment for learning.  The people at CK12 state that, “content generated by CK-12 and the CK-12 community will serve both as source material for a student’s learning and provide an adaptive environment that scaffolds the learner’s journey as he or she masters a standards-based body of knowledge, while allowing for passion-based learning.”

So… what is a FlexBook? They may be best described as customizable, standards-aligned, free digital textbooks for K-12 education. FlexBooks are customizable textbooks that teachers can use online,via flash drives, CD’s, or as printed books. Teachers can even share FlexBooks with other educators and they can also customize them to fit their students, locality, standards, and current events. They contain high-quality online materials that are aligned with national and state textbook standards. Since FlexBooks are online they are kept up to date much more easily than printed textbooks. Teachers can use the books as they are provided by C-K12, use only parts of them, or add their own materials along with other content from the web. By now I am sure you understand the word “flex” in Flexbook. This unique flexibility made possible by digital technology allows for adding or deleting of material (including graphics and videos), adjusting the difficulty of the language, and making any other changes students may need. Imagine teachers providing the valuable handouts, readings, videos, pictures, and sound bites they have always used and including these pieces in the textbook, or should I say Flexbook!. Best of all FlexBooks are free, so teachers can modify the FlexBook each time they find something that works better in their classrooms.

Currently, the Flexbook Library contains 50 books with many more soon to be added. Flexbooks at this time are almost exclusively focused on math and science for middle-school and high-school students. In fact, be sure to check out these Flexbooks in the area of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. You can be certain this library will grow, as it is the goal of CK-12 to ultimately encompass all subjects for K-12, as teachers and authors create books and donate them to the FlexBooks Library.

[snip

Please explore my twelve points to consider when investigating the implementation of Flexbooks.

1. Provide sustainable in-service for teachers. [snip].

2. Allow time for teachers to collaborate, create, and plan their digital curriculum; you might be an adoption cycle away from full implementation.

3. Gather resources to facilitate the entire curriculum. [snip].

4. Provide proper technology and include necessary maintenance. [snip].

5. Consider the wide diversity of students’ needs in their home environment and have plans to facilitate for this wide spectrum.

6. Spend more time discovering resources and less time writing standards… [snip].

7. Consider the local community when seeking material for a Flexbook as this will allow relevance and meaning for students. [snip].

8. Remember that transformation from hard copy to digital must be done in small measurable steps.[snip].

9. Keep in mind that the flexibility in a Flexbook means that content should go beyond text and allow for a wide array of learning styles. [snip].

10. While there may be cost savings, keep in mind that these savings could be spent in ways to further support students and teachers. [snip]

11. Realize that there is no such thing as a free lunch. [snip]

12. A great amount of quality digital curriculum resources are currently available by publishing companies for a fee. [snip]

In conclusion, I firmly believe that a digital curriculum will provide access to a virtual and flexible textbook that will facilitate necessary understanding of content by all students. It will be available in a variety of formats to be read on tablet, iPod, Droid, laptop, desktop, or possibly a piece of real paper! As the virtual and flexible textbook matures it will become interactive, filled with engaging media, and will provide a nonlinear experience. [snip]

Join me in this continuing series devoted to ” Going Digital”. In fact Part 2 promises to bring you seven more digital resources. [snip].

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://bit.ly/I1EqT0]

Friday, April 20, 2012

Understanding Acceptance of Dedicated E-textbook Applications for Learning: Involving Taiwanese University Students



Jung-Yu Lai, Khire Rushikesh Ulhas, (2012) "Understanding acceptance of dedicated e-textbook applications for learning: involving Taiwanese university students", The Electronic Library, Vol. 30 Iss: 3

Abstract

Purpose - The prevalence of information technology (IT) has been introducing new trends into learning modalities spurring dedicated e-textbook applications for learning. However, there is only a limited understanding of what factors drive university students’ attitudes/willingness to use the new devices for learning. Hence, this study attempts to investigate what factors drive university students to use dedicated e-textbook applications for learning.

Design/methodology/approach - By integrating previous theories such as Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT), and convenience in the form of integrated model, this study presents a causal model that explores influence of technological, intrinsic, and extrinsic factors, i.e., convenience, compatibility, enjoyment, usefulness, upon university students’ attitudes towards using dedicated e-textbook applications for learning.

Findings - The results of this study suggest that perceived usefulness, convenience, compatibility, and perceived enjoyment all significantly contribute to dedicated e-textbook application acceptance.

Research limitations/implications - Present research clearly portrays drivers for acceptance of dedicated e-textbook applications for learning among university students which would be an important topic for current and future research.

Practical implications - Our findings outline and describe how the dominant factors affect university students’ attitudes towards adoption of dedicated e-textbook applications for learning. By considering extrinsic, technological, and intrinsic factors, such as usefulness, convenience, compatibility, enjoyment, in the stage of product development, practitioners can provide well-accepted dedicated e-textbook applications for potential users.

Originality/value - These findings would facilitate development of a more robust understanding of university students’ attitudes toward using dedicated e-textbook applications for learning. It also might assist practitioners developing innovative e-textbook applications as well as provide directions for researchers interested in developing and testing theories pertinent to e-textbook applications.

Source

[http://bit.ly/Jsi7DD]

Briefing Paper > ETextbooks Update > Macquarie University Library Committee

ETextbooks Update > Prepared by Maxine Brodie, Macquarie University.

Briefing paper for Macquarie University Library Committee / 23 February 2012



Source And Full Document Available At

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Electronic Textbooks: Why The Rush ?


The race to replace traditional textbooks with electronic versions is on. Although electronic textbooks have been most carefully tested in university students, the Obama Administration is advocating their use in elementary and secondary schools. In February, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan recommended that states allow school districts to spend money once reserved for textbooks on Kindles, Nooks, and iPads. As educational tools, electronic textbooks offer the promise of easy updates, cost savings compared with print, flexibility, and integrated features such as video, hyperlinks, and software that allows students to collaborate. However, electronic textbook sales  have not followed the upward trend of e-books, and scientific studies of students reading and learning from e-readers suggest caution.

[snip]

Recent research shows that college students learn equally well from e-readers or printed text , but electronic textbooks carry a cost in efficiency. Reading electronic textbooks takes longer, on average, than reading print, and many students report higher levels of fatigue upon completion . The source of this cost is unclear, but the effect is strong enough that the majority of college students prefer traditional print books when offered a choice. [snip].

Meanwhile, experiments with children in early grades more often show e-books equivalent to or even superior to traditional print. Younger children are offered simpler, narrative texts and are not asked to study and remember the content. The features that e-book readers make possible seem like an obvious boon for e-textbooks. Surely students will learn more if they can, for example, click a hyperlink that defines an unfamiliar word, or if they can use a mouse to rotate a complex molecule in three dimensions. But years of research on computer learning shows that these opportunities can backfire. [snip].

Electronic textbooks do offer substantial advantages over traditional printed text, such as the opportunity to make timely updates, adapt to learner preferences, and embed multimedia and learning activities—it's one thing to read about the fall of the Berlin Wall, but it's quite another to see a video of it. However, research shows that students likely do not interact with electronic textbooks as they do with traditional print, and the broader research base on multimedia learning indicates that considerable care must go into the design of special features to ensure that they augment learning rather than detract from it. There is no indication that publishers are investing the time and hard work required to leverage this information into a new generation of electronic textbooks. Rather, it seems that most are taking the pedagogical devices from print books and putting them in digital format, with little evidence that they positively affect learning.

[snip]

David B. Daniel1 (1), Daniel T. Willingham (2)
(1) Department of Psychology, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA 22801, USA.
(2) Department of Psychology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904, USA.

Science / 30 March 2012 /  Vol. 335 no. 6076 pp. 1569-1571  /
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6076.1569 

E-textbooks Win Fans, But Some Students Still Prefer Paper

College students have more options for affordable textbooks than ever. Gone are the days when the only plan was to pack university bookstores at the beginning of the semester, paying whatever ransom — ur, price — that was listed for required reading.


One affordable emerging trend is the use of e-books, or digital versions of textbooks that look exactly like the print version but can be downloaded to desktops, laptops and tablets.

Available from most major textbook publishers, but not many smaller university presses, the e-book can cost as little as half as much as the print version, with older editions providing deeper discounts. Students pay for a subscription, which is available for 180 days for single-semester classes or for 360 days for two-semester classes, according to Renee Wilson, book division manager at the Auraria Campus Bookstore in Denver.

The cost-effectiveness of e-textbooks varies significantly — and some data shows that the technology allows individual college students to save, but school districts that invest in e-books for their own students likely won't experience similar benefits.

A recent survey by the online textbook retailer eCampus.com reveals that students also enjoy the instant access and portability of downloadable books in addition to the lower price.

[snip]

Montgomery also cites such e-book advantages as the added tech-driven functions that are not available with physical textbooks, including the ability to search, cut and paste sections of text, and the addition of interactive quizzes and tests.

[snip]

Some students who have tried e-books find a variety of reasons to stick with the traditional physical copies.

[snip]

Matthew Montgomery of eCampus .com acknowledges that the subscription model is one of the biggest complaints he hears from customers. He also lists the lack of financial return that students can get from traditional textbook buyback at the end of each semester.

[snip]

But as technology use in the classroom continues to grow, Montgomery expects e-books to play a more significant role in future college textbook sales. "We do see (them) taking over the college textbook market once kindergartners are learning via e-text and those students have made it to college," he said.

[snip]

Source and Fulltext Available At

[http://bit.ly/HNOZfm]

A/V Available > eText Strategies: Creating a Path to Digital > May 9 2012 > 11:00 AM (PST)


Developing an eText strategy that will serve the needs of institutions, faculty, and students requires thoughtful planning, especially when there are a number of strategic, business, and policy issues that campuses must consider.

On Wednesday, May 9th at 11:00 a.m. (PST) we invite you to listen in as Indiana University discusses their successful launch of the "IU eText Initiative"—a thoughtful look back at the project after five semesters of pilot studies and research.

Register today for this webinar to learn about how institutional eText agreements offer:
  • Significant discounts on eTexts 
  • eTexts that can be accessed from virtually anywhere, anytime, through any device 
  • eText platforms that enable 21st-century learning 
  • "Opt-in" models that provide academic freedom 
Presenter
Bradley C. Wheeler, VP for Information Technology & CIO, Dean, and Professor, Indiana University

Moderator
Linda Briggs, contributing editor, Campus Technology

Source and A/V Available At 

[http://bit.ly/IZNGEG]

Note: Free registration required for new users

CET: The Center for Educational Technology


What We Do

In its 40 years of activity, CET has invested significant resources in carrying out its social mission, and has established its expertise and reputation in the education system in Israel. Our main areas of activities are: development of state-of-the-art textbooks and digital content, establishment of rich websites using top-of-the-line technologies, paving new ways in professional development for educational staff and creating online environments and tools for assessment & evaluation.

Source

[http://cet.org.il/]

Digital Textbook Initiatives in Korea

17.04.2012
By Hye-Kyung Yang, KERIS, Korea

[snip]

The Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technolog established in 2007 the “Digital Textbooks Generalization Plan” which launched a pilot project aimed at developing digital textbook prototypes for six subjects in thirteen elementary pilot schools.


In the context of the Korean education system, digital textbooks can be defined as, “Textbooks that integrate the contents of the existing textbooks, supplementary books, work books and glossaries with multimedia and materialize them with various interactive functions for students to study according to their characteristics and academic levels” (MEST 2010 Adapting Education to the Information Age: 24).

The Digital Textbook initiatives in Korea pursue the ongoing policy goal of individualized learning based on the interests and aptitudes of learners. It aims to break away from limited knowledge in paper textbooks and to provide students with extended environments where they can have access to diversified and creative knowledge.

In 2011 the Korean government set the goal of building a powerful country with talented people and decided to pursue SMART education policies for the 21st century. SMART (Self-directed, Motivated, Adaptive, Resource free and Technology embedded) education is an, “Intelligent and customized teaching and learning system” (MEST 2011 Presidential Report). As the initials of SMART indicate, students are expected to learn with fun, motivated, and self-directed ways based on their level and aptitude in a resource-enriched environment.

The major five pillars of SMART education policy consists of incorporating digital textbooks into the school system by 2015; promoting online classes and assessment; improving the legal framework and copyright laws; developing the capacity of teachers; and constructing a cloud computing-based infrastructure. Thanks to a cloud-based computing environment, digital textbook content can be readily downloaded so that students can access up-to-date information anytime and anywhere.

[snip]

Korea’s first SMART school opened on March 2 (2012) in Sejong Special Autonomous City, a special administrative district in Chungcheongnam-do (South Chungcheong Province).

Each student in the SMART school will be equipped with his or her own “smart pad” and can participate in classroom activities through the e-blackboard and smart pad. A total of 150 schools including 66 kindergartens, 41 primary schools, 21 lower secondary schools, 20 upper secondary schools, and two special schools will be open by 2030 in Sejong Special Autonomous City.

Source

[http://bit.ly/HQPIg4]

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

University of Illinois eTextbook UnConference > June 28-29 2012



The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is pleased to host a gathering of interested parties to identify and discuss solutions to the challenge facing us with etextbooks and their adoption in higher education.

It is clear that etextbooks are going to be a huge part of the landscape in higher education over the short to medium term.  The potential benefits that they offer are many, and include the potential for lowering costs for students, increasing interactivity and improving learning. But etextbooks also pose a number of challenges to higher education faculty and administrators including how to promote adoption, how best to contain costs, which platform to choose and how to ensure accessibility. There are also any number of competing platforms and approaches and it is hard for many in higher education to make informed decisions about what approach to take and what their etextbook strategy should look like. To add to this confusion, all too often the various solutions or components of a strategy are presented in isolated fashion as a complete and exclusive approach rather than as a part of a broader strategy.

To begin the work of understanding and sorting through the many and varied approaches to etextbooks we are convening an Unconference on the topic this summer ... .  The goal of the meeting will be to draw together a broad spectrum of participants exploring provision of etextbooks from a variety of perspectives, whether that be though open access textbooks, vendor-driven solutions or self-publishing. We also hope to attract participants who have not yet ventured into the etextbook realm but are interested in learning more.

As is typical of Unconferences there will not be a formal Call for Papers but instead we will structure a series of talks and discussions based on interest expressed at the opening session of the meeting. Among the topics we expect will be of interest and will be discussed are the following:

  • Accessibility of extextbooks for students with disabilities and best practices in addressing these
  • Models of university self-publishing of etextbooks
  • Evaluating the adoption and impact of etextbooks at your institution
  • Vendor-driven models of etextbook delivery
  • Understanding the costs of etextbooks
  • Open access etextbook solutions
  • Technical considerations in offering or supporting etextbooks
  • Policy considerations around etextbook solutions in higher education

 The eTextbook Camp will be of interest to many different groups of people including

  • Those working in information technology (IT) in higher education including CIO’s, Academic Technologists and Instructional Designers
  • Library personnel working on providing  etexts and ebooks and  supporting their use.
  • Faculty development personnel
  • Accessibility specialists
  • University Counsel and policy development officers
  • University and College Registrars and their staff
  • Vendors of etextbooks and etextbook platforms
  • Technology personnel supporting or developing etext or etextbook platforms

The format of eTextbook Camp will be a 2 day meeting taking pace over 2 days in late June, starting mid-day on June 28th and continuing through 4pm on June 29th..

There will be no cost for the meeting apart from transportation to the meeting and accommodations.

Meals will be provided. Space is limited and registration will be limited at 75.

[more]

Source and Link To Registration Link Available At 

[http://bit.ly/HF45Py]



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Professor Starts eText Company to Electrify Textbook Field


M. Ryan Haley, a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh economics professor, has started a company he hopes will undercut the academic textbook publishing industry and help college students save a lot of money.

CoreTxt Plus Inc. is distributing a free digital statistics textbook to UW-Oshkosh students.

"We bypassed the middleman, which is the people making all the money off our students," Haley said. "They're putting new editions out every few years now, and it's absurd. Statistics hasn't changed in 150 years."

Haley estimates the e-text has saved UW-Oshkosh students taking the economics and business statistics class $100,000 to $150,000 during the four semesters it has been used.

[snip]

Professors who use the book can customize about 15% of it to their teaching style and needs, Haley said. Students who are more comfortable with a paper textbook can go to the university's copy center and have one made for about $15, he said.

[snip]

CoreTxt is looking to sell the book at other schools at a very low cost and to create digital textbooks for other large-enrollment, introductory-level classes, Haley said.

[snip]

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://bit.ly/HOnpyF]

Monday, April 16, 2012

MIT OpenCourseWare Teams Up with Flat World Knowledge ...


MIT OpenCourseWare teams up with Flat World Knowledge to combine free texts and free course materials

Collaboration among open education innovators creates rich learning opportunities for independent learners.

IT OpenCourseWare and textbook publisher Flat World Knowledge have teamed up to provide free, high-quality textbooks to learners accessing OCW’s innovative OCW Scholar courses. This is among the first collaborations between an OpenCourseWare publisher and an open textbook publisher and highlights the growing opportunity for open education efforts to reinforce one another in creating rich learning experiences.

“Open education is moving from a collection of projects to a robust ecosystem,” said Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly. "Pairing Creative Commons licensed open textbooks from Flat World Knowledge with Creative Commons licensed MIT OpenCourseWare offers students access to a rich set of open educational resources (OER) that can be combined and customized for a more effective educational experience. This shows how commercial publishers can supplement and improve OER with quality assurance and platform support. Here, building on ‘free’ and ‘open’ means lower textbook costs for students.”

[more]

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://bit.ly/ygdyya]

Non-U.S. Digital Textbook Initiatives

I am greatly interested in learning about non-U.S. Digital Textbook initiatives. 



To date I've identified only several  projects outside of the United States, that include:


Digital School Program with Open Textbooks Approved by Polish Government!

http://digital-textbooks.blogspot.com/2012/04/digital-school-program-with-open.html


In South Korean Classrooms, Digital Textbook Revolution Meets Some Resistance

http://digital-textbooks.blogspot.com/2012/03/in-south-koreanclassrooms-digital.html


E-books Venture to Target UK Students

http://digital-textbooks.blogspot.com/2012/04/e-books-venture-to-target-uk-students.html 


I am interested in any / all non-U.S. Digital Textbook projects at the institutional, local, state, regional, and/or national level(s).


BTW-1: I will be giving two (2) lectures and a workshop for the DILL (Digital Library Learning) program in Parma, Italy (http://dill.hioa.no/) during the week of September 17 2012. 


BTW-2: I am more than willing to give presentations / workshops in other European venues after September 19 but no later than September 28 2012, if there is adequate interest and support.


Regards,


/Gerry


gerrymck@iastate.edu 

E-books Venture to Target UK Students


Laura Chesters / Monday, 16 April 2012


US digital textbook rental service CourseSmart is launching in the UK today to coincide with The London Book Fair.


The company, founded by a group of publishers including Pearson, McGrawHill and Macmillan, launched in the US in 2007 and is now targeting UK university students.


Former Random House digital director Fionnuala Duggan is leading the UK business, which claims the service can cut student book bills by 40 per cent.


Students can rent books for six months or more and can make notes on their copy which are saved online. CourseSmart has more than 20,000 etextbooks and has 2.5 million users worldwide – around 90 per cent of the US high education market.


In the UK, it is aiming to have 7,000 titles by the start of the university term in September. It is also targeting partnerships with UK university faculties to ensure it has the books needed for each course.


Duggan said: "It's like a locker based system. You rent the book and can keep it in one of our online 'lockers' so students don't have to have the responsibility of storing it themselves.

[snip]


The company works with 30 publishers in the US, and is planning to work with a similar amount in the UK.4/16/12 E-books venture to target UK students.

[snip]


Source and Fulltext Available 

[http://ind.pn/IuFFX6]

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Schools are Switching Textbooks for iPads: Good for Education or Unnecessary Expense?




April 09 2012 / Jennifer Williamson 


Approximately 600 school districts have transitioned from traditional textbooks to the iPad—and the change may soon be coming to college campuses. Proponents of the iPad in schools claim a range of benefits—from lowered costs to less strain on students’ backs. But is the iPad really a good replacement for a textbook? Here’s a look at the pros and cons.


The iPad Advantage


They’re more portable

[snip]


You don’t have to charge an iPad during the day

[snip]


Access to a wide range of learning resources


Where the iPad really excels is in its role as a device for information consumption. Instead of simply reading a textbook, students can take in the e-textbook, online libraries and resources, news sites, and more—all with an easy click. [snip].


More room in schools


With iPads for every student, schools won’t have to maintain distinct computer labs—freeing up space in many crowded schools. However, it should be pointed out that iPads work much better as personal devices than as shared ... .


It makes students more computer-literate


[snip]


Drawbacks of iPads in a Classroom Setting


Cost


[snip] 


There’s a learning curve

[snip]


It’s difficult to type on an iPad

[snip]


The availability of textbooks is still small

[snip]


While a few primary and secondary school districts have made a transition to the iPad, the device is still not ubiquitous on college campuses. However, that may change—especially if administrators can find ways to cut costs by using the iPad. The technology has the potential to make some things easier in the classroom—but educators should also be aware of its limits.


The textbook. Reinvented for iPad.- YouTube.com


Source and Fulltext Available At 

Examining the Reuse of Open Textbooks

John Hilton III and David A. Wiley  / Brigham Young University, USA ;  Neil Lutz  / Rutgers University, USA / April 2012



Abstract

An important element of open educational resources (OER) is the permission to use the materials in new ways, including revising and remixing them. Prior research has shown that the revision and remix rates for OER are relatively low. In this study we examined the extent to which the openly licensed Flat World Knowledge textbooks were being revised and remixed. We found that the levels of revision and remix were similar to those of other OER collections. We discuss the possible significance and implication of these findings.
[snip]
Limitations and Future Research
The primary limitation of the current study is that we only had access to modifications made within FWK’s editing program and could not examine “dark reuse” of FWK content. It is possible that people revised or remixed FWK books outside of this system. For example, one of the authors of this article is currently revising the FWK project management textbook to focus on project management in the instructional design field. Consequently, this study undercounts (potentially significantly) the amount of actual remix that has taken place. In addition, FWK has recently added a new feature to its system in which people who customize textbooks can make their revised version of a textbook available for sale and receive a portion of the profits from the sales of these remixed books. This incentive may encourage more professors to revise and remix textbook content.
Another limitation of this study is that it included only one collection of OER (those published by FWK). While our results are not significantly different from those found by Duncan (2009) and Petrides et al. (2008), additional research should examine other collections of OER to determine if these emerging trends in reuse, revision, and remixing hold in other venues.
Further work should be done not only to determine the extent to which OER are being remixed, but also how important this remixing is to OER in general. It may be that other outcomes of OER (simple reuse, decreased costs, increased access) overshadow the overall importance of how much remixing takes place.
Source and Fulltext Available At


Friday, April 13, 2012

The PhysWiki Dynamic Textbook Project


The PhysWiki is one of seven integral components of the STEMWiki Dynamic Textbook Project (DTP), a multi-institutional collaborative venture to develop the next generation of open-access textbooks to improve STEM education (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) at all levels of higher learning. The central aim of the DTP is to develop and disseminate free, virtual, customizable textbooks that will substitute for current, commercial paper texts in multiple courses at post-secondary institutions across the nation. All are licensed Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike. All seven textbooks in the STEMWiki DTP have been linked together under the direction of Professor Delmar Larsen of the University of California at Davis and include: the ChemWiki (the forefather), the BioWiki, the MathWiki, the StatWiki, the PhysWiki, the GeoWiki, and the SolarWiki.

The goal of this project is to seed the PhysWiki with an open-source, calculus-based textbook, in an effort to expand access and usage of this segment of the STEMWiki. Working with both Professor Delmar Larsen (founder of the STEMWiki DTP) and Professor Paul D’Assandris, Monroe Community College, Rochester, NY (author of Spiral Physics), physics students at South Florida Community College are seeding the PhysWiki with Spiral Physics textbook. Spiral Physics is an OER physics textbook that is currently in use by over 40 two-year colleges nationwide. Spiral Physics comes in three variants (calculus-based, algebra-based, and modern physics) and provides a research-based introductory physics curriculum along with an integrated textbook and workbook activities. Using a restricted equation set, Spiral Physics provides a unique approach to building student success by providing repeated exposure (i.e., spiral) to concepts with increased complexity. It includes alternative problem types, including goal-less problem statements, ranking tasks, and critical analysis tasks which have been research-proven to help students develop conceptual understanding.

[more]

Source and Fulltext Available At 

[http://bit.ly/HRBTuA]


150 Free Textbooks: A Meta Collection

  • Art History
  • Biology
  • Business and Management
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science and Information Systems
  • Earth Science
  • Economics & Finance
  • Education
  • Engineering
  • History
  • Languages
  • Linguistics
  • Mathematics
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Physics
  • Political Science
  • Psychology
Source