Imagine thousands of students acquiring digital versions of their college textbooks. Imagine that each textbook was tailored to precisely suit the exact needs of each course. Now imagine that those textbooks are free.
This is the reality that open source textbooks, a new phenomenon in higher education, might one day create.
Open source textbooks are textbooks composed of material that is open and free to the public. Textbooks might be created through a Creative Commons license or simply compiled by professors using resources which are always available to the public, like articles or certain videos. In addition, companies such as OpenStaxCollege, FlatWorld, Lumen, and Boundless strive to produce open source textbooks on a grand scale and still enable professors and students to use them free of charge or at a very low cost.
While most instructors do not yet embrace this new textbook design, some positive factors might propel opens source textbooks into mainstream education.
- Price – The rising price of textbooks hurts many students. In response, some professors are turning to open-source textbooks as a way to enable all of their students to participate in the course and keep their money.
- Personalized – Open source textbooks enable professors to have much more control over what the students study. Instead of skipping chapters or distributing piles of handouts, they can customize the textbooks to exactly what they want to teach.
- Comtemporary – Professors can update the textbook based on current event. This is an easy way to easily demonstrate a subject’s practicality to students.
Check out this infographic from eLearning Infographics to learn more about the history of open educational resources.
New Strategy Would Drop College Textbook Costs to Zero by Carrie Wells on BaltimoreSun.com
Free Textbooks Shaking Up Higher Education by Victor Luckerson on Time.com
How Some Colleges are Offering Free Textbooks by Emanuella Grinberg on cnn.com
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