Friday, January 31, 2014

Open Source Textbooks: A Paradigm Derived from Open Source Software


This work exposes a new paradigm for the creation and publication of textbooks: open source. The phrase open source is borrowed from the computer software industry, where the word source has a technical meaning explained in this paper; open source software is software which has been developed by many collaborators using the internet to produce a final product. The contributors receive no financial compensation, yet there have been many successful open source software

projects (Linux, Open Office, Apache, etc.). Open source textbooks use a similar financial model; the authors and contributors receive no direct financial compensation for their work. Contributors are listed in the produced work as primary author(s), co-authors, contributors, minor contributors, etc. according to the magnitude of their contribution. The produced work is available free for users on the internet. This paper will explain the open source process and will provide justification for open source as an effective paradigm; it will also present some existing open source textbook projects, as well as the author’s own open source textbook project.

Beyond Textbooks The open source paradigm could easily be applied to books other than textbooks. Histories, essays, and other works of nonfiction could be produced with the open source model as well. Consider the author who spends the better part of his/her life collecting information for an extensive account of an historic event; he/she is probably motivated by factors other than pure profit. Such books could be produced much more quickly by cooperating authors using open source.

Publishing Research Quarterly / January 2014

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[Open Access Version Not Known] (1-31-14)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Open Textbooks Could Help Students Financially and Academically

As the price of college textbooks continues to increase, more students are opting to skip the books even if their grades suffer, a survey conducted by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group has found. In a report released on Monday, the group said open textbooks—written by faculty members, peer-reviewed, and available free online—could help make textbooks affordable again.

For the report, “Fixing the Broken Textbook Market,” more than 2,000 students at 156 college campuses in 33 states were surveyed during the fall of 2013. Sixty-five percent of the students said they were not buying all of their required textbooks because of the books’ cost, and 94 percent of those who didn’t buy the books reported being concerned about how that would affect their grades. About 48 percent said that the cost of textbooks had influenced their decisions about which and how many classes to take.

The research group estimates that each student could save about $100 per class by using open textbooks. Those are textbooks with open copyright licenses that are available free online, although students who want printed versions would pay modest fees.


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Monday, January 27, 2014

Slides Now Available > Free Webinar > Open Textbook Publishing and Adoptions > February 5 2014 > 2:00 pm (ET)

Free the Textbook
January 27, 2014

Recent research conducted by the OER Research Hub indicates that nearly 60% of community college faculty choose OER and open textbooks based on the reputation of the institution  or recommendations from trusted colleagues. Join us on Wed, February 5, at 11:00 am (PT), 2:00 pm (ET) to hear about two high-quality open textbook publishing initiatives, one through the State University of New York (SUNY) and the other through OpenStax College at Rice University.  Our featured speakers will share their experiences with publishing open textbooks for use by both faculty and students and share their open textbook adoption strategies.

Cyril Oberlander, Director of Library Services at SUNY Geneseo heads up the SUNY Open Textbook initiative which publishes high-quality, cost-effective course resources by engaging faculty as authors and peer-reviewers, and libraries as a publishing service and infrastructure. They have released three open textbooks this last fall in their planned series of fifteen open textbooks in various disciplines.

David Harris, Editor-in-chief OpenStax College at Rice University’s Connexions project. OpenStax College is a nonprofit organization committed to improving student access to quality learning materials. Their free textbooks are developed and peer-reviewed by educators to ensure they are readable, accurate, and meet the scope and sequence requirements of college courses. Their first six books released over the last two years are focused on general education courses and are gaining adoptions.


No pre-registration is necessary. 

Click on [Webinar] link on the day of the webinar to login and listen.

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