‘Open’ and free (or very cheap) textbooks

Cheaper than Apple’s new iB00k app, open-source learning materials will cut the high cost of textbooks radically, advocates say.  From my latest U.S. News story:

The average community college student spends nearly $3,000 on tuition and more than $1,000 for textbooks and supplies, estimates College Board.

Furthermore, textbook prices are rising at four times the rate of inflation, charges the Student Public Interest Research Groups(Student PIRGs). Twenty-nine percent of students at Daytona State College, a Florida community college, said they’d failed to buy a required book because of the cost; nearly a quarter took fewer classes because they couldn’t afford the books.

“Open” learning materials—e-books, videos, simulations, and more—will slash students’ costs without requiring them to buy an iPad, argues Geoff Cain, director of distance education at College of the Redwoods in California. His college’s math instructors created their own e-books, with online tutorials and quiz banks. The online or CD versions are free; students pay a nominal cost for a printed copy.

Washington state’s technical and community colleges have created an Open Course Library with digital textbooks, syllabi, activities, readings, and assessments for the most popular classes. Instead of buying a $200 chemistry textbook, students can use an open-source version for no more than $30.

California is considering legislation to create its own open-source library for the most popular courses at state universities and community colleges. If professors adopt the open materials, students will pay nothing for online access and $20 for printed copies.


Comments & Trackbacks (3) | Post a Comment

Tuning up higher ed — Joanne Jacobs

[...] use an iPad. To really slash rising textbook costs, college students need access to o-books — free or very cheap open-source learning materials — advocates [...]

Online Colleges

Wow I did not know that American students pay so much for books. I am glad to see however that there are alternatives that are either free or a lot less in cost.

[...] colleges are looking for ways to cut textbook costs in response to surveys in which students say they’re trying to get by without buying required [...]

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