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:
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.