Open-source textbooks for $10?

Instead of paying $100 for a commercially published textbook, community college students in Washington state will be able to download open-source textbooks for as little as $10. Faculty members are collaborating on books for the most popular courses.

Also in Community College Spotlight, FIRE blasts a California college’s attempt to prohibit profane, vulgar and “offensive” speech.

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  1. I like the idea of Open Source.

  2. It’s a nice idea, but are faculty getting any credit/payment for the time spent writing the things? Or is this just another “you will do this to help the campus, it’s now part of your job” thing?

  3. Especially when it comes to some of the history texts. I can’t believe how huge they are, how little the students discern from them, and how often the social studies teachers are in the copy room running of thick “packets” of extra information. What are we thinking?

  4. The post says they’re collaborating. Maybe *they* like the idea, too, and want to be a part of it–and they want to make sure that what *they* think is important makes it into the books 🙂

  5. The nice thing about an open-source text is that if you don’t like it, you’re free to create your own version of it.

    I have browsed antique stores and found out-of-copyright schoolbooks which were far more rigorous than what I had (and more interesting), just needing some updating for a technological, urban populace (if you’re going to have math problems about the capacity of a wagon in bushels, you need to provide the conversion constants instead of assuming everyone knows them).  I’m not sure what you’d use at the college level, though the screams about Dead White Males would no doubt be heard in the furthest reaches if we went that way in literature.  And I’d smirk.