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Old 09-30-2012, 11:00 AM   #1
Barty
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California to create free, open textbooks

http://www.theatlantic.com/technolog...tbooks/263047/

CA governor just signed a law to fund creation of free, open source textbooks students can download for free or buy ($20 for printed books). The books will be released under creative commons license.

I was hoping private foundations would start something like this. There's a lot of private money being poured into education, eg the Gates Foundation. Why not pay profs/educators to create textbooks and give them away for free? I realize many of them make a mint from book royalty, but there will be others willing to do it for a flat fee or even donate their time.

This CA initiative has a good chance of producing something interesting, b/c CA actually has a very good public higher Ed system, between the UC schools and CSU schools and community colleges. If nothing else, it will spur the private groups to get in on the act.

About time the textbook industry gets disrupted.
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Old 09-30-2012, 11:38 AM   #2
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This is definitely the future. Heck, Wikipedia has plenty of well sourced information, which could be expanded upon and published, and work well for text books. (Of course, some of it has to be rewritten entirely - I'm looking at you, math articles!)

A group of teachers and students recently wrote an entire text book over a weekend. Pretty fascinating!

God I wasted much money on text books during my bachelor and master years..
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Old 09-30-2012, 08:16 PM   #3
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California loves to spend tax dollars on stuff that will never get used, like light rail systems.

In this case, these are college level texts, and they are not in any way mandatory. Since a lot of professors either use textbooks they wrote or get some kind of cut (you think the book stores won't cut them in when facing no income themselves otherwise?), this will be another boondoggle.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:16 AM   #4
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In this case, these are college level texts, and they are not in any way mandatory. Since a lot of professors either use textbooks they wrote or get some kind of cut (you think the book stores won't cut them in when facing no income themselves otherwise?), this will be another boondoggle.
I'd rather imagine it would be a point colleges could compete with. If I could choose between going to a place with up to date standard text books for next to nothing or a place where there's $120 texts books written by local professors that are not used anywhere else it would be a rather good argument for going to the first place.
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Old 10-01-2012, 07:21 AM   #5
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I wonder what Pearson has to say about all this. They seem to own education here in Texas, since everything made in the last ten years has their logo on it.
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:27 AM   #6
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Wonderful! Most college texts are outrageously priced!
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Old 10-01-2012, 08:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
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I'd rather imagine it would be a point colleges could compete with. If I could choose between going to a place with up to date standard text books for next to nothing or a place where there's $120 texts books written by local professors that are not used anywhere else it would be a rather good argument for going to the first place.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:11 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Soldim View Post
I'd rather imagine it would be a point colleges could compete with. If I could choose between going to a place with up to date standard text books for next to nothing or a place where there's $120 texts books written by local professors that are not used anywhere else it would be a rather good argument for going to the first place.
Unless, of course, grads from the second place make 25% more upon graduation, maybe.

As expensive as textbooks are, they're still a pretty small part of the overall cost of college, and there are a lot of other criteria involved in such a decision.

And California colleges are turning away students - the community college sysetm is looking at budget cuts that will mean nearly 200,000 fewer students next year - that competing for students certainly isn't a concern right now. Mabye in a decade, but for now, the income from the exensive text books are worth a lot more to most colleges than turning away even more students.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:12 PM   #9
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I wonder what Pearson has to say about all this. They seem to own education here in Texas, since everything made in the last ten years has their logo on it.
I believe Texas mandates what textbooks get used for (private) primary and seconday schools, but again, I believe this is college level texts only.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:08 PM   #10
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This is interesting, but it isn't actually funded. If you read the statute, it will only take effect when funding is made available. Which is a completely separate issue.

I'm curious what the bids will come in at.
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Old 10-02-2012, 12:32 PM   #11
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Wonderful! Most college texts are outrageously priced!
Even used ones, assuming they're not already outdated.
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