Thursday, December 12, 2013

Open Textbook Publishing > Academe > September - October 2013


Who is best suited to control textbooks: the faculty or the publishers? There are ways to make sure it is the faculty / Joe Moxley

Thanks to inexpensive or free publishing tools and the ubiquitous nature of the web, the faculty can assume the traditional responsibilities of publishers. Faculty members can build massive, global communities around their pedagogical works by licensing them under an open-culture copyright license and by employing peer-review processes to vet publications. When it comes to choosing the most appropriate open-culture license, faculty members have to consider whether they wish to choose a totally open license—one that permits remixing and repurposing of their works—or a more restrictive license that limits derivative works or commercial applications. The development of Writing Commons, an open-education resource, illustrates some of the issues faculty members will face when embracing their power as content creators and publishers. From its beginnings as a text locked behind a publisher’s paywall with limited ability to reach its audience, the resource has grown into a popular, global, peer-reviewed academic resource.


Source and Full Text Available At:


Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Changing Textbook Industry


Probably even more transformational is the Open Educational Resources (OERs) approach. OERs are released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing. OERs include open textbooks as well as other materials that support access to knowledge such as lesson plans, full courses, and tests.  OERs usually are funded by government agencies or foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the William & Flora Hewlett Foundation. In 2009, for instance, Congress included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act $2 billion for grants for community colleges to develop educational and career training materials that would be released under a Creative Commons CC-BY license.

The impetus for the development of open textbooks is the belief that they are less expensive for students (in higher education) and school districts (in K-12) than textbooks developed by commercial publishers. Moreover, open textbooks can easily be customized and updated by instructors, enabling them to provide a better learning experience for their students.\\


Source and Full Text Available At:


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NC State > Interest in e-Textbooks Rises, Library Explores Possible Uses

Jess Thomas, Correspondent 

Digital textbooks, or e-books, could become popular in classrooms at N.C. State.  

Currently, students may choose between buying an e-book or the hard copy version of a textbook.

Mike Nowlin, the textbook manager at the N.C. State bookstores, said that because publishers are beginning to lean away from the sale of regular textbooks, the use of e-books could become much more common.

Will Cross, the director of copyright and digital scholarship center, said that the popularity of e-books is a response to the fact that regular textbooks are extremely expensive, which makes it difficult for many people to obtain a college education.

“I think that e-books, open textbooks and alternate types of course readings are a great solution to the problem of textbooks increasing in costs every year and making it harder for students to get through school,” Cross said.

According to Cross, in 2010 N.C. State started a project to create an open physics textbook to serve about 1,300 students who take Physics 211 and 212, the book is offered free online but  can be printed for $40.

“The libraries spent about $1,500 to acquire the site license for the textbook and now each student is saving $300 to $400 a year, so you’re looking at tens of thousands of dollars of savings for students,” Cross said.
Cross said that due to the success with the Department of Physics, the libraries are searching for a new department, such as chemistry or biology, where they can implement this program. 


Danny Ibrahim, a senior in biology, said that he does support the use of e-books because students save money.

“An e-book keeps you organized as well because all the information you need is in one place, you don’t have to carry a large book around and once you’re done with the course it saves you the hassle of trying to find somebody to sell your textbook to,” Ibrahim said.

Still, Nowlin said that, currently, there is not a great demand from students for the purchase of e-books.

“The licensing agreements for e-books usually last for only six to eight months and because of the price it isn’t being viewed as economically feasible compared to buying a used textbook, which is less than what an e-book costs,” Nowlin said. 

Thanks tp Orion Pozo, librarian at NC State (and fellow Bronxite !)

Source and Full Text Available At:

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Creative Commons U.S.A. Applauds the Introduction of the Affordable College Textbook Act

Senators Dick Durbin and Al Franken today introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act, which directs the Secretary of Education to fund the creation of college textbooks and materials to be made available under open licenses.  The licenses will allow students and educators to “access, reproduce, publicly perform, publicly display, adapt, distribute, and otherwise use the work and adaptations of the work for any purpose, conditioned only on the requirement that attribution be given to authors as designated.” The full text of the bill is here.

Creative Commons U.S.A. Director Michael Carroll issued the following statement:

Senators Durbin and Franken should be congratulated for their leadership.  This bill seizes the opportunity to make high quality textbooks affordable and reusable by paying once for their production and permitting free copying, updating, and adaptation with the requirement of an open license.

Creative Commons (CC) is a nonprofit organization that designs user-friendly copyright licenses which provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work. Its license are used by authors, artists, and other creators worldwide. Creative Commons U.S.A. is a volunteer affiliate housed American University Washington College of Law’s Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property (PIJIP), which works on CC related issues specific to the United States, including state efforts to expand the use of Open Educational Resources. It will also work on matters related to the interaction of the CC license suite with doctrines in US law, such as fair use.

Source and Link Available At 


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Flooved: Open Educational Resources Platform


How it works: Along the lines of the Open Access movement, we source our content directly from leading lecturers (currently focusing on Maths and Physics), who share our vision that access to educational materials should be free. These consist of open-access textbooks, unpublished textbooks or extremely high quality lecture notes which we call proto-textbooks. In addition we have some textbooks which are in print, where the author holds the digital copyright and granted us permission to upload their book (see e.g.,

A combination of automatically-assigned topics and metadata and a vetting process involving lecturers and PhD candidates make sure that students (and others) can easily find all of this free content on In addition to the cost saved by using our OER, registered users (registration is 100% free and requires nothing but an email address) enjoy a host of very useful features, which create a layer of social content on top of the existing texts:

• User-profiles helps students and lecturers track what they read and see what their peers are reading and recommending.
• Annotations and social annotations – to comment and create a discussion over the course material.
• Q&A  - with questions answered by peers as well as by tutors.

What can you do? 

1. Advocate Contributing OER on 

In order to make the content lecturers have already produced freely available and easily accessible to students worldwide. We encourage authors to submit their content as a creative Commons ‘Attribution 3.0 Unported' licence, and the default license is a non-exclusive royalty free worldwide license which can be revoked at the author’s discretion.

2. Advocate Using OER: 

We are always happy to see lecturers and students interacting over the open content on our platform, and to know that they are benefit ting from high-quality content and from their interaction over it. Lecturers, or the students themselves, often open a ‘course profile’ where they link to flooved content, and external OER, relevant to their course syllabus. We encourage that and are happy to help them find relevant content from our great collection.

3. Advocate and set-up OER in your library:

We are ready, willing and able to help librarians integrate our resources into their library search results, so that their students can easily find our OER when they enter a search query. We will also provide the library with usage analytics (we are currently working towards meeting the COUNTER standard for such analytics, but intend to provide much more detailed pattern of usage and interaction. For more details, and to get your institution’s metadata file so that you can assess this more thoroughly, please contact me at uri@FLOOVED.COM .

A final note – we hope to offer university libraries, lecturers and students a wonderful free alternative to expensive textbooks. But it’s important to note that the dramatic reduction in costs is not our main advantage over traditional textbooks. Instead, it’s the resulting, more efficient way of studying, when you are less busy searching for relevant material and can use most of your time for studying. It’s the interactions with other students, from course mates to similarly-minded peers from the other side of the world, and it’s the unique, continuous interaction between students and their lecturers. These are the things we like the most about our platform.

We appreciate your feedback very much and will in most cases also act upon it as much as we can, so please feel free to drop us a line, or just reply here.

Looking forward to hearing from you,
Uri Grodzinski

Dr Uri Grodzinski
Head of Content & Analytics, Flooved

Postdoctoral researcher
Department of Psychology
University of Cambridge
Downing Street, Cambridge

Source and Full Text Available At:




Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CT > The Price is Right: 11 Excellent Sites for Free Digital Textbooks

If you're committed to shifting your curriculum to e-textbooks, consider trying free first. Here are the best sites for digital books that won't cost your students a dime.

By Dian Schaffhauser | 08/14/13 |

Sure, there are plenty of options when you want students to try out digital textbooks — CourseSmart, CourseLoad, Flat World Knowledge, Chegg,, Apple, Amazon, Google Play, eFollet, and an ever-growing number of other sources. But little in education trumps free. That's one of the findings in a recently released research report from Educause, Internet2, and McGraw-Hill, which examined the value of digital materials in higher ed. "Faculty and students were both clear and consistent in their criteria for adopting digital course material," the report's authors wrote. Little surprise: The most important factor turned out to be cost.

With that in mind, we have hunted down the top sources for digital textbooks — all free. What you and your students do with them on Android devices, iPads, and laptops is up to you.


Source and Full Text Available At 


See Also 

OATs: Open Access Textbooks


OATs: Open Access Textbooks > IL 2012 > Monterey CA > October 22 2012


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Google To Launch Play Textbooks In August, Partners With 5 Major Publishing Houses

At its Android and Chrome event in San Francisco today, Google announced that it is bringing textbooks to the Google Play store so students will be able to purchase and rent their textbooks for their Android devices and for reading on the web.
The company has partnered with five major textbook publishers to launch this service. These partners are Pearson, Wiley, Macmillian Higher Education, McGraw-Hill and Cengage Learning. Google says it will have a “comprehensive selection” of textbooks from these publishers in the store that will cover subjects like law, math and accounting, but it did not announce exact numbers.

The service will launch in August.

While Google focused on the fact that students can rent their textbooks on Google Play, though, it did not announce any prices yet. The only thing Google would say is that it expects books to rent and sell for an 80 percent discount compared to regular retail prices (which tend to be very high).

One thing that’s also not clear is how publishers will author books for this service and how much interactivity there will be.

What we do know is that the Android app for Play Textbooks will feature a night-reading mode and will allow you to create and sync bookmarks and highlighted passages between devices.



See Also

Google Begins Selling Textbooks Through Play Store


Sunday, July 7, 2013

Online and Campus College Students Like Using an Open Educational Resource Instead of a Traditional Textbook

Vol. 9, No. 1, March 2013
Brian L. Lindshield / Koushik Adhikari

There has been little research on student use and perception of open educational resources that are used to replace traditional textbooks/e-textbooks. The creation of the Kansas State University Human Nutrition Flexbook, and online and campus students' perceptions and usage of the flexbook, have been reported previously based survey results from a single semester. Results from multiple online and campus semesters are reported in this paper. Both online and campus students rated the flexbook favorably, but online students used the flexbook more frequently, liked the idea of the flexbook more, and rated it as being of higher quality. Online students also liked and used the animations, videos, and links more and liked the appearance and flexibility of the flexbook more than campus students. The majority of students used an electronic flexbook format and more than one flexbook format. The Portable Document Format version, followed by the Google Docs version, were the most commonly used primary formats. Overall, responses across multiple semesters confirm the authors' original findings that students like using the flexbook instead of a traditional textbook.

Keywords: digital textbook, e-textbook, e-book, flexbook, open access, open educational resource (OER), student perceptions

Source and Full Text Available At 


Friday, March 29, 2013

A/V > NME 2013 > A1 - New Media Publishing: Whither the Textbook?


How has the proliferation of digital media reshaped the traditional academic publishing paradigm, and how can faculty use these emerging technologies to teach more effectively? Our panelists will recount their experiences developing and teaching with new media texts. Grant Ackerman will speak about the Business School's integration of iPads in the MBA program and their use of the iBook as an extended learning resource. Dr. Paulette Bernd will discuss the iPad dissection manual she developed for use in the Gross Anatomy laboratory. Mark Newton will talk about how CDRS' partners with Columbia faculty to implement innovative digital tools and publishing platforms for content delivery and preservation.

Scheduled Panelists

  • Paulette Bernd, Director, Clinical Gross Anatomy, Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons
  • Grant Ackerman, Professor of Management, Columbia Business School
  • Mark Newton, Production Manager, Center for Digital Research and Scholarship
  • Vincent Racaniello, Ph.D., Higgins Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Columbia University

Moderator: Steve Welsh, Educational Technologist, CCNMTL

Source and Link To A/V Available At 


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Driving Adoptions of OER Through Communities of Practice

  • Charles Key, ODG Director for Adoptions, College Open Textbooks, and Grants
  • Mike Alvord, Director of Operation, Newhall County Water District and Adjunct Faculty, College of the Canyons
  • Regina Blasberg, Chair, Engineering Technologies Department, College of the Canyons
  • Donna Gaudet, Faculty, Mathematics, Scottsdale Community College
  • Mirya Holman, Assistant Professor, Political Science, Florida Atlantic University
  • Lisa White-McNulty, Assistant Professor, College of Education, University of St. Francis

NISO Webinar: Universal Accessibility: Creating E-Books Anyone Can Read

April 10, 2013 / 1:00 - 2:30 p.m. (Eastern Time)


About the Webinar

One of the exciting aspects of e-books and the newer standards for them is the ability content creators have to create a format that provides for accessibility for everyone. From individuals who are visually impaired to those that have cognitive or learning disabilities, all can all be accommodated with the latest dizzying array of devices that support a variety of functionality and multimedia. In this webinar you will learn about new and emerging technologies to provide universal accessibility, including built-in accessibility for textbooks and an open source platform.


Emerging Technologies for the Visually ImpairedAnne Taylor, Director of Access Technology, National Federation for the Blind

Built-in Access for Digital TextbooksMichele Bruno, Program Manager, Accessibility, Cengage Learning

An Introduction to the Readium-based accessible Bookshare Web ReaderGinny Grant, Product Manager, Benetech


Registration closes on April 10, 2013 at 12:00 pm Eastern.

Registration Costs

SAVE! Register for multiple events.

NISO Member: $95.00 (US and Canada) / $109.00 (International)

NASIG Member: $95.00

Non-Member: $125.00 (US and Canada) /  $149.00 (International) / Student $49.00

Source and Registration Links Available At 


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Jorum: Learning to Share

Jorum is a Jisc funded Service in Development in UK Further and Higher Education, to collect and share learning and teaching materials, allowing their reuse and repurposing. This free online repository service forms a key part of the Jisc Information Environment, and is intended to become part of the wider landscape of repositories being developed institutionally, locally, regionally or across subject areas. We use a modified version of DSpace for Jorum.

Jorum is run by Mimas, based at the University of Manchester.

The word ‘Jorum’ is of Biblical origin and means a collecting (or drinking) bowl.

Digital Textbooks Topic Preferences


I am greatly interested in learning of your interests and preferences with regard to topics as they relate to Digital Textbooks for posting of news items on the _DT > Digital Textbooks_ blog (

Please Note > All responses are anonymous and will only be used to set posting priorities.

The candidate topics are:

  • Accessibility
  • Bookstore roles
  • Business models
  • Copyright / intellectual property
  • Cost / price issues
  • Higher Ed initiatives
  • K-12 initiatives
  • National initiatives
  • Open Access digital textbooks
  • Platforms / frameworks
  • Self-publishing initiatives
  • State initiatives
  • Student receptivity / experience 
The survey is available at 

Thanks for your assistance !


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Van Schaik Launches Interactive e-Textbook

Launched in the beginning of February 2013 by Van Schaik, and using Ingram’s VitalSource Bookshelf platform, the electronic academic textbook – known as the e-Textbook – is a direct response to students’ evolving needs and is selling beyond the business’s expectations.


All that one requires to read an e-Textbook is hardware that can connect to the internet and the free VitalSource Bookshelf App available for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS if one wants to access it offline.

The e-Texts allow for multiple functionalities, such as highlighting, inserting notes, searching texts and sharing notes with friends. You can subscribe to your friends and lecturers, and "follow" them as they make their own notes and highlights, and even search through their notes.

Students are able to access their e-Textbook and notes anywhere using their ‘myVanSchaikBookshelf’ Vitalsource account. Therefore, students are not limited to reading their e-Textbook on the PC or device that they originally downloaded it on.


With the e-book industries making it seem like print copies are on the verge of fading into history, the e-Textbook has made the chance ever more plausible. With the e-Textbook available in 17 languages and with more than 1.5 million users on 6 000 campuses worldwide, the initiative is surely a successful one thus far, and seems unlikely to peter out anytime soon.

Source and Full Text Available At


Monday, March 4, 2013

Sixty New Publishers Add Content to Ingram's VitalSource e-Textbook Platform to Reach the Education Market

Nashville, TN – Vital Source Technologies, Inc., Ingram Content Group’s leading e-textbook solution for publishers, academic institutions, and students, today announced that sixty new publishers have added more than 35,000 new digital textbooks and online course materials to its VitalSource Bookshelf® platform.

"The students of today are using technology to their advantage, and we are experiencing significant growth in the number of publisher, institutional, and reseller customers using the VitalSource Bookshelf platform," said Kent Freeman, Chief Operating Officer, Vital Source Technologies, Inc. "We will continue to nurture our publisher relationships and expand and diversify our title selection to provide the digital content that's in demand by students and educators worldwide."

The most recent publishers using the VitalSource platform to reach the education market include fourteen of the most recognized university presses.  In addition, publishers that specialize in medical, scientific, law, religion, general trade, and standards-based education content have committed titles to the platform.  These newest publishers join Cengage Learning, Elsevier, Wiley, McGraw-Hill, and more than 200 other publishers that currently make content available through VitalSource Bookshelf.  

"As institutions around the world continue to move to digital learning environments, working with Ingram's VitalSource platform gives us the tools to easily expand the reach of our titles to the broader education community," said Jed Lyons, President & CEO, Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Inc. "As more schools reshape and enhance their curriculums for today’s student with digital content and technology from Vital Source, more Rowman & Littlefield titles will be available to those that want them."

VitalSource Bookshelf, with 2.7 million registered users on 6,000 campuses worldwide, is the preferred and most used e-textbook delivery platform in higher education. Delivering digital content to institutions for more than a decade, Bookshelf users can access content from more than 260 of the world's top academic, trade, and specialty publishers whenever and wherever they choose.  The Bookshelf platform, can be accessed online or via download, on a variety of device types including Mac®, Windows®, iPad®, and Android®



Indiana University Models E-Textbook Success

IU's e-text program, with nearly 10,000 students using digital textbooks, offers lessons learned for other universities.

While Wheeler's intuition about the explosion of tablets -- 15 months before Apple released its first iPad -- was spot on, his real concern was how the university would manage content on these devices. Just as important, he was concerned about the prices students would have to pay for this digital content.

At the time, textbook publishers were keen to control their lucrative textbook price margins, as it was clear education was going digital, Wheeler said. Publishers saw digital as a way of dealing with the used-textbook aftermarket, which had begun to cut into their business, he added.

An ancillary problem was technological, as every publisher at the time dreamed of using its own platform for its own digital titles. "This would have been a support and [digital rights management] nightmare," Wheeler said.

"We wanted to get ahead of that," Wheeler explained, adding he wanted to use a wholesale, site-license model, which IU had successfully done with software companies years before.

"We cut one of the first big [license deals] with Microsoft in 1998, and cut the first deal with Adobe in 2008," Wheeler said. Under the Adobe license, for instance, IU students have access to virtually every Adobe software product.


Wary at first, publishers have been receptive to IU's overtures, said Wheeler, who has inked deals with four of the five largest textbook publishers to date, and is close on the fifth. The e-texts deals also include online simulations, tutors and labs.


Source and Full Text Available At


End of the Middleman > Predicting the Future for Educational Content

Neuro-Cloud Launches Free Textbook Project is an Open Data-Share Platform designed to foster transparency, the free exchange of data and open collaboration in neuroscience and outreach to communities interested in the brain. Due to the time expense and manpower needed to publish in a standard journal, a lot of good data stays on the shelf unpublished. Neuro-cloud takes advantage of credible pre-print archives to establish precedent and encourage citations for use in future grants/research.  This gives smaller datasets a means of distribution and fosters collaboration by facilitating ratings, comments and emails for investigators.

Open access publishing (OA) is a movement to make scholarly articles free and readily available to the public through the internet.  OA is a departure from the traditional print journal business model in that revenue does not come from subscriptions.  Because OA publishers are web-based, they are able to operate on alternative revenues such as author’s fees which research funders often allow to be included in grants.  Because access is free, articles in OA journals are easy to find and cite, and since Google Scholar and other search engines are becoming more common starting places for research than libraries OA articles enjoy the same visibility as the articles in traditional high impact print journals.

More specific to the Neuro-cloud project is the emergence of OA pre-print archives that allow researchers to share data and preliminary findings to the scientific community prior to peer reviewed publication.  These archives allow for establishment of precedent as well as early feedback to guide and improve research.  Neuro-cloud goes a step further by putting small data sets and research without a feasible outlet for publication in a streamlined and easy to read format.  In this way good solid research that does not meet the criteria for immediate publication is given a platform for distribution, expansion and collaboration.

Source and  Links Available At


eSchool News > Schools Confront Digital Textbook Challenges

Compatibility, accessibility are among the many hurdles to using digital textbooks; here’s how some forward-thinking districts are overcoming these

By Laura Devaney, Managing Editor,

Schools have to navigate a maze of file formats and compatibility issues that can arise from using digital content in the classroom.

The federal Education Department has called for schools to use digital textbooks within the next five years, but what does that mean for school leaders?

For one thing, it means figuring out how to deal with a number of challenges, including—but not limited to—ensuring equitable access, overcoming budget constraints, choosing preferred device and textbook platforms, and building infrastructure and capability.

In Part 1 of our series on digital textbooks, we looked at what textbooks are available to K-12 schools in digital format. Part 2 examines how a few forward-thinking districts are using these new instructional tools—while overcoming many hurdles in the process.

Not an easy transition

As a September 2012 report from the State Educational Technology Directors Association (SETDA) points out, the transition to digital textbooks isn’t an easy one:

State laws and policies lag behind changes in technology and its use in schools.
Content is vetted in ways that discourage publishers from competing in the market and eliminates many potentially useful materials.

There is insufficient access to technology and technical support in schools and homes for a fully equitable shift to digital content in many states and districts.
The business model for instructional materials prevents innovation because of its age.


Source and Full Text Available At 


Flat World Knowledge Book Archive

Creative Commons licensed, freely downloadable

What is this?

First off, this is not the website for Flat World Knowledge. You can get to them at Instead, this is the archive of a small project by Andy Schmitz to archive Creative Commons-licensed copies of all the Flat World Knowledge books which were available online at the end of 2012.

Flat World Knowledge is a textbook publisher, focusing on (mostly entry-level) college textbooks. From its beginning until the end of 2012, Flat World Knowledge licensed all of its books under a Creative Commons by-nc-sa 3.0 license, allowing anyone who so desired to copy them, give them away, or modify them, as long as they acknowledged the authors, released the copies under the same license, and didn't do so for commercial gain. This was an unusual model, but they hoped it would work. (They sold access to additional study materials, as well as copies of books that would fit well on e-readers.)

In late 2012, Flat World Knowledge decided that the process of giving away access to their textbooks online wouldn't produce the returns they were hoping for, and decided to switch to a different model, requiring students to pay for access to the books starting in 2013. (At least initially, these fees are rather cheap compared to normal textbook prices, but still not free.)

Because the books were still available under a Creative Commons license at the end of 2012, I downloaded them to have copies known to be available under a Creative Commons license. I then repackaged them so that they are available outside of the Flat World Knowledge website, and can be used by anyone under the terms of their Creative Commons license.


Source and List and Links Available At


OPEN: Open Professionals Education Network

The Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN), funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has created free services aligned with the U.S. Department of Labor’s grant requirements and designed to support your project. Our partners’ long-standing experience in these noted service areas can help you achieve your project goals while minimizing time and resources spent.

Explore this web site to find out about events, resources, and other services you can tap in to.

Contact us for support with:

  • Creative Commons licensing requirement
  • strengthening online and technology enabled learning
  • effective course and learning design
  • universal design for learning and accessibility
  • evidence based online technology
  • policy and practices for Open Educational Resources (OER)
  • help finding existing OER

Digital Textbooks: Publishers and the Unrealized Promise

Students, instructors and institutions aren’t afraid of digital. Publishers are.

Michael Boezi / Vice President of Content and Community at Flat World Knowledge

Is it any wonder that digital textbooks haven’t been widely embraced yet? Most digital textbooks are just overpriced, static versions of their printed counterparts.

That hasn’t stopped the hype about digital textbooks. On one hand, it’s the promise of a new learning experience, with spinning molecules and interactive modules. On the other, it’s the long-awaited solution to the industry’s painful pricing practices. Maybe even both, if we dare to dream it.

The technology and platforms are available today. So, is it that students prefer printed textbooks? Some do, sure. But those numbers are declining year after year.

My contention is that students have yet to be offered a good product for a good value. A printed book rendered on a computer screen is not what we imagine the Digital Promise to be. The opportunity exists to completely rethink the product.


Source and Full Text Available At


Opening Education: B.C. Open Textbook Project

In October 2012, the government of British Columbia announced its support for the creation of open textbooks for the 40 highest-impact first-and second-year courses in the province’s public post-secondary system. BCcampus was tasked with co-ordinating the project because of our 10-year experience with the Online Program Development Fund. The texts will be available for free online, or at low-cost for printed versions, to approximately 200,000 students.

This site, Opening Education, originally brought together individuals interested in learning about and experiencing open educational practices, building on the conversations begun at the Vancouver Opening Education event in 2011, and continued at our Open Education Forum 2012.

We are now using Opening Education to engage B.C. faculty, institutions and publishers to implement the Open Textbook Project. Here is where we provide our stakeholders with information, meeting notes, progress reports, events and workshops on open educational resources in general, and the Open Textbook Project in particular.

Kortext > Your Textbooks. Anywhere

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Ten Years Later: Why Open Educational Resources Have Not Noticeably Affected Higher Education, and Why We Should Care

Key Takeaways

  • Open educational resources made a dramatic appearance with the 2002 debut of MIT's Open Courseware initiative.
  • In the roughly 10 years since, OERs have not noticeably disrupted the traditional business model of higher education or affected daily teaching approaches at most institutions.
  • Four major hurdles seem the likeliest hindrances to adoption of OERs: discoverability, quality control, bridging the last mile, and acquisition.
  • OERs could unify and advance the essentially disconnected developments in digital textbooks and MOOCs by establishing a global enterprise learning content management system
When MIT first announced its Open Courseware (OCW) initiative in October 2002, it shook the business model of traditional higher education institutions that had established "virtual universities" in an attempt to sell their brand and their educational resources worldwide. With OCW, MIT sent a signal: we don't sell learning resources, we sell certification of learning; learning resources do not have much intrinsic monetary value, but a degree does. This was arguably the first disruption of the higher education market in decades, marking the birth of the open educational resource (OER).

Fast-forward to October 2012: OERs have failed to significantly affect the day-to-day teaching of the vast majority of higher education institutions. Traditional textbooks and readings still dominate most teaching venues even though essentially all students are online: Course management systems are used only for the dissemination of syllabi, class notes, general communications, and as a grade book. OERs are out there…somewhere. Why aren't they on campus?


Source and Full Text Available At 


UC Berkeley Researchers Aim To Revolutionize e-Book


UC Berkeley students in the campus’s School of Information are collaborating to enhance the efficiency of e-books in the hopes of revolutionizing the accessibility of information among researchers and the general public.

According to Master of Information Management and Systems (MIMS) student Jacob Hartnell, research on e-books will improve an inefficient system that is “app-based” instead of “Web-based.” He noted that existing e-books viewed on one device are often viewed differently or cannot be viewed at all on another device.

Hartnell and his team aim to harness a web-based platform, using the standardized Web language of HTML5, to create e-books as an alternative to private proprietary formats like Kindle and iBook.

“The power of standards really solves the challenge for publishers of, ‘How do we make the content work on all sorts of different devices?’” Hartnell said. “We don’t want to waste time developing solutions for all these different devices. It makes books accessible to everyone regardless of what device you’re using.”

Hartnell also added that making e-books available for viewing via the Web would allow for collaboration between authors, publishers and editors.


Source and Full Text Availble At 


iPads, E-Textbooks a Potent Combo on College Campuses

Cheap e-textbooks are slowly making their way to colleges, but e-book savings are only one of many good reasons for undergrads to be packing an iPad.

If a 16GB Wifi-only iPad costs $500, and a student spends $1,000 per year on printed textbooks while recouping 16 percent on the sellback, and an e-textbook costs 60 percent less than a printed textbook but lacks sellback, and only 32 percent of a college's textbooks are e-textbooks, how long before the iPad pays for itself?

Answer: It'll take you around three-and-a-half years to recoup the cost of the iPad solely from e-textbook savings.

Hopefully, time to return on investment will shorten as more universities and educational publishers get on board with e-textbooks. One of the universities leading the charge is the University of Indiana, which just announced that nearly 10,000 students are using e-textbooks this spring semester.

"IU has long saved students money by negotiating favorable pricing for software, and it is natural to negotiate favorable pricing for digital textbooks to reduce the costs of attendance," said University of Indiana's CIO and Vice President for IT Brad Wheeler.

The University of Indiana began piloting e-textbooks four years ago. The spring semester now has 250 course sections using e-textbooks, which the university claims results in $200,000 in collective savings. Best of all, University of Indiana students won't have to stuff a backpack with a bunch of heavy books and lug them around campus.


Source and Full Text Available At


An Interview with David Levin > E-Textbook Sales are Lagging, and Maybe This is Why

By: Bill Buchanan

E-textbooks. Hybrid and online courses. Using learner analytics to assess experiments that involve academic technology. The future of SmartSite.

These are a few of the areas that David Levin intends to discuss, and address, as director of Academic Technology Services for Information and Educational Technology.


Another important initiative we’re going to think about this year, and the next year or so, is e-text and e-content.

E-books have taken off. Some publishers announced last year that their e-sales had outpaced their physical sales. In other cases it’s well over 30 percent. On the other hand, e-textbook sales are lingering around 1 or 2 percent of the sales of textbooks.

What can we do about that here?

Good question. I think that’s going to change. We need to think about whether we want to change that, how we can change that, what are the stumbling blocks, and what are the models to make it work.

One reason why it hasn’t changed yet, maybe, is that it’s not high stakes. If I read my latest novel or something online, rather than in print, it’s easier for me to access, it isn’t necessarily tied to a particular device—there are all kinds of advantages.

Now look at the learning space. A lot of work has been done on understanding how students read a textbook. It involves teaching people how to find, highlight and annotate the important parts of a textbook.

How well people read things is important to how well they do.

We’ve done a lot with the textbook, to help students read textbooks well, with images and tables put on a page so that they can understand the concepts. We’ve designed our physical textbooks really well. Maybe a problem in moving to an e-textbook world is, how do we make sure we design the e-textbook for learning success?

The point is, we’re very good at showing people how to use physical textbooks, and maybe that format doesn’t translate easily to e-text?

I’m not sure. I guess I’m saying yes. We have to be very cognizant—as we think how to move to an e-textbook world, and why it’s going slowly—that we are very, very concerned that our students succeed in their learning. The move to an e-text world is a cultural shift, and we have to design things so they will lead to student success.

I believe that e-texts actually hold the promise for greater learning than physical textbooks, but we have to think carefully about it.

Some of the early results are mixed. At California State University, Northridge, we started some studies with e-texts, and frankly, in the early data, the students who were engaging the e-text were not doing as well as the students were engaging with the physical text.

If you open a well-designed textbook, it’s so different from a novel. A novel is a bunch of words in an order. A textbook has tables, inserts about cases, and all kinds of things. I think you could make an e-textbook even better.

In a physical textbook, you can imbed an image, even a beautiful glossy image. In an e-textbook, you can imbed a video, or a link to the author explaining something. And it can be designed so that the student can dig down as deep as they want, or where they want. You can almost make it a find-your-own-textbook, or find-your-own-adventure-through-the-textbook, or things like that.

There lots of ways that it can be better, but we haven’t found them yet. We need to work on finding them.


The textbook, like any text in a sense, is a very individual and isolating thing. As I’m reading this chemistry text, I need to learn the important points. There are all kinds of clues. I have to figure out what is worth that yellow highlighter, and what annotations are valuable.

With an e-text, especially a network-based e-text, you can make it a social environment, so that I can ask people in my class what the problems are. It can be designed so the instructor can look in and see, if the students are willing, what problems the students are having.

It could take on the qualities of a wiki.

A wiki, a discussion board, all kinds of different things. It can take on ‘phone-a-friend’—you could have a tool so that a student who is having problems with a particular portion can ask the instructor or a TA. They can send a question to anyone in the class, anyone in the university, anyone reading the book. If the textbook is being used enough, chances are other people are reading this very passage at this very time. Can I send out a message to all of them, saying, ‘I didn’t get this’?

That not only helps the person who is asking the question—the other student in New York who is reading that, and believes they understand it well, will understand it even better if they explain it to somebody else.

Is this discussion about e-texts one you want to have on campus?

Oh yeah. It’s tied in to so many of the areas we’ve been talking about. I think where we want to go with e-text is critical. We’ve got to learn how to do it, and there are significant challenges in our thinking about how to do it.

I imagine you welcome faculty who want to talk with you about all this?


Source and Full Text Available At 


Online Textbooks Open A New Chapter In Learning

SUNY project has faculty members write material, cutting costs

Amy Guptill, associate professor of sociology at The College at Brockport, center, meets with freshmen students Kaethe Leonard, a biochemistry major from Syracuse, left, and Alyssa Button, a psychology major from Buffalo, at Aerie Café at the college. The students were giving Guptill feedback for the online textbook she is working on.
When Natalie Sarrazin teaches her course about music and the child at The College at Brockport in the fall, she plans to save her students some money by using an online textbook she is now writing.

Sarrazin, who is an associate professor of music, is one of the faculty members at State University of New York colleges who are participating in the Open SUNY Textbook project — an initiative to have faculty members write 15 online textbooks, which students or anyone else can use free of charge.

\In Sarrazin’s case, she expects her textbook to be used for her course instead of a hardcover one that sells for $220.

She is convinced that the textbook will better be able to address the needs of her students.

“It will be more topical,” said Sarrazin, whose course shows how music can be used in elementary school to teach such other subjects as science by, for example, playing different kinds of music to help explain the different states of water.

The Open SUNY Textbook initiative was organized by Cyril Oberlander, who is the library director at the State University College at Geneseo, and is part of a nationwide movement by various educators and consumer advocates to create online textbooks. “Everybody recognizes the potential to use digital technology to reduce the costs of textbooks,” said Nicole Allen, an expert on textbooks for U.S. PIRG, which is the umbrella group for various public interest research groups.


Source and Full Text Available At 


eTextbooks vs. Textbooks: eTextbook Market Update Q4 2012

The eTextbook market has been a subject of interest for educators, publishers, distributors, tech companies and students alike. In 2011, the higher education market for eTextbooks grew 44% to $267 million.

So far, eTextbooks have claimed about 6% or so of the total textbook market share. Publishing market research firm Simba Information estimates that this will escalate to 11% in 2013.Both the public and private sectors are driving rapid adoption.

All major textbook publishers have jumped on board, as have Amazon and Apple. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has called for rapid adoption, stating that “Over the next few years, textbooks should be obsolete.” Duncan asserted that this is necessary to keeping American education competitive.

The most recent PISA results found roughly 20 other countries performing significantly better in math and science than the U.S. South Korea, which consistently outperforms the U.S. academically, has set 2015 as a date for full eTextbook adoption.

That the wealthiest country in the world has fallen below average in these key areas has justifiably sparked concern, but can eTextbooks help American schools? If so, what obstacles have to be overcome before we see widespread adoption?


Source and Full Text Available At


Introducing the Book as iPad App

NERCOMP Annual Conference > Preparing Our Campuses for Digital Course Materials Adoption: An Improvised Panel

Tuesday / Mar 12th, 2013 / 11:30 AM - 12:20 PM Eastern Time / 
Room 554

Experimentation with digital course materials, including e-textbooks, is a hot topic in higher education. Working collaboratively, the Bowdoin Bookstore, Library, and Information Technology division are preparing their campus for adoption of digital course materials, supporting e-textbook pilots in several disciplines and building customized library e-collections. Experiences shared by speakers on an "improvised panel" will expand this conversation to include efforts at other institutions. Have you integrated commercial or open-source textbooks into your LMS or supported faculty development of alternatives to print textbooks? [snip]


Christina M. Finneran
Director of Academic Technology & Consulting
Bowdoin College

Judy R. Montgomery\
Acting Librarian
Bowdoin College

Michael Tucker
Course Materials Manager
Bowdoin College



The History of Education and Textbooks [Infographic]

by Jessica Owen, Boundless (

To understand where we’re heading in education and edtech, it’s important to look back at our educational roots.

As we searched for some of most memorable moments and discoveries in the history of education, we found there are lots of things that haven’t changed in hundreds of years! The groundwork for clunky, physical textbooks was set by the Ancient Greeks, and in the Middle Ages, the lecture format of teaching emerged.

Free digital textbooks, open online classes, and open educational resources make education more affordable and accessible for students around the globe.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A/V Now Available > FREE Webinar > The Critical Role of Librarians in OER Adoption on College Open Textbooks Community > February 26 2013 > 1 PM (ET)

Please join CCCOER on Tuesday, February 26, 10:00 am (Pacific time) to hear about the critical work librarians do to support OER adoption at community colleges.  This webinar will feature three projects where librarians are leading the way in searching, curating, and creating OER to expand student access and improve teaching practices.
  • Paradise Valley Community College, AZ –Sheila Afnan-Manns and Kande Mickelson, faculty librarians will share how they worked with students in International Business to find and create OER to support course learning outcomes.
  • Houston Community College District, TX – Angela Secrest, director of library services, will share her libguides that support faculty in the process of finding and adopting high quality OER.
  • Open Course Library (OCL), WA – Shireen Deboo, OCL and Seattle Community Colleges district librarian will share her work with faculty to find, create, and curate open content for inclusion in the Washington State Community and Technical College's Open Course Library.
Source and Link Available At







A/V Now Available > Open Textbooks In Higher Education

Duration = ~ 50 Minutes

Saturday, January 5, 2013

International HETL Conference 2013 > Digital Textbooks Roundtable > January 14 2013

The University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida  > January 13-15 2013

Session E: 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. Roundtable Presentations

E8: Digital Textbooks

Business Students’ Learning Engagement as a Function of Reading Assigned E-Textbooks

  • Pat Maxwell, Susan Stites-Doe, and Kari Smoker (The College at Brockport State University of New York)

Teaching Quantitative Methods to Business and Soft Science Students by Using Interactive Workbook Courseware

  • Dan G. DuPort (European Business Schools) 

Transforming Learning Spaces with Digital Textbooks

  • Aimee M. deNoyelles and Ryan Seilhamer (University of Central Florida)



ELI 2013 > The Professor as Digital Author and Publisher: Creating and Delivering E-Textbooks with iBooks Author and iTunesU > February 4 2013

Date: February 4 2013 > Time: 3:45 PM - 4:30 PM MT

The method of delivery can be as compelling as the content itself. This session will guide participants through the process of creating interactive content for undergraduate/graduate students via iPad and iTunesU, including demos of courses previously taught. Using iBook Author, textbooks are developed from faculty content using instructional assets such as text, photos / graphics, presentations (slides), audio/music and video. The organization of these assets into chapters and pages provides for a familiar metaphor for faculty and students alike that is immersive and interactive. Deploying these texts to iPads is accomplished via the iTunesU app and web-based backend.

Learning Objectives: 

  • Experience hands-on opportunities to work with iBooks Author to create content for the iPad 
  • Learn the most helpful software tools and resources for iPad based e-textbook creation and delivery 
  • Experience and understand best practices for e-textbook development and their use in teaching undergraduate and graduate students 
  • Get free digital resources to use in your efforts with e-textbook development at your institutions 
  • Begin to make individual decisions regarding the adoption and adaption of e-textbook development and deployment in your content area


Todd Jensen, Learning Spaces Coordinator, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Brian Moore, Associate Professor of Music Education , University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Source Available At: 


ELI 2013 > Seminar 02A > e-Textbooks: How Use Multi-Institutional Approach To Evaluate New Academic Technology Initiatives > February 4 2013

In 2012, EDUCAUSE and Internet2 sponsored an initiative to pilot the use of e-textbooks at several universities. A key component of the pilot was to develop a research initiative to evaluate e-textbooks for teaching and learning. This seminar explores how a collaborative multi-university research approach was developed, challenges in designing a research project for emerging academic technologies, and promising practices for building a successful research consortium. Methods, instruments, and results from the pilots will also be shared. Participants will have an opportunity, using one of their own projects, to outline the key elements needed to build an inter-institutional research approach.

Date > Feb 4th, 2013 / Time >  8:00 AM - 11:00 AM MT


Robert Rubinyi, Director, Office of eLearning , University of Minnesota

Clare van den Blink, Director, Academic Technologies , Cornell University

Note: Separate Registration Required

Source and Links


Friday, January 4, 2013

CIS 2013 > Dewey To Digital: Expectations Vs. Experience

Date: Thursday, January 10  / 11:15 am - 12:15 pm

Location: N256

Speakers: Cable Green , Joann Spyker , Matt MacInnis , Vineet Madan


What's the status of the "ever-arriving" digital revolution in textbooks? What keeps digital content and books from being transformative forces in education? Cost? Features? Functionality? Reluctant students or faculty? What will it take for digital content to achieve its great expectations?

Track: HigherEdTECH

Cable Green, Director, Global Learning. The Creative Commons

Joann Spyker , Vice President, Sales and Higher Education, Copia Interactive LLC.

Matt MacInnis, CEO and Founder. Inkling

Vineet Madan, Senior Vice President, New Ventures & Strategic Services, McGraw-Hill Education



Thursday, January 3, 2013

CIL 2013 > E205 > Open Educational Resources and the Open Web

Tuesday, April 9, 2013 > 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Heather Braum, Digital and Technical Services Librarian, Northeast Kansas Library System, Lawrence, Kansas

Gary Price, INFODocket and FullTextReports, Washington, D.C.

Join two experts on the vital subject of finding free educational resources online. First, Heather Braum discusses open educational resources, a rising trend in classrooms, in libraries, and in DIY education circles. Learn how you can make the move from traditional textbooks and classroom resources and discover the what OER has to offer your library, school, and community. Then, hear veteran web resource locator Gary Price discuss discovery and finding tools, techniques, and even the necessary mindset you need to unearth the best digital content for education—so you can serve up just what’s needed for that social studies class, just when it’s needed.



Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A/V Now Available > OpenEd 2009 > Open Textbook Panel > August 2009

  • Murugan Pal, CK12 Foundation
  • Eric Frank, Flat World Knowledge
  • Cable Green, WA State Board for Community and Technical Colleges
  • Barbara Illowsky, De Anza College
  • Steve Acker, Ohio State University
Available At:


Duration = ~ 60 Minutes