Saturday, April 26, 2008

Free, Open, Cheap Textbooks

Textbooks. 21st Century Textbooks. I can't even start to express myself upon this topic. Stumbled upon these links today:

Open Text Book: Something of a clearing house: many links, including this one:

Bayanihan Book Project in the Philippine Islands. "to increase the quality and availability of high school textbooks." Currently said to have two books available. Textbooks sold in the PI for college students are often printed on pulp, often years or decades out of date. The only copy of Campbell's Biology at Silliman University Library was 2 editions out of date, and had been read so many times, was so severely dog-eared, that it had swollen to twice it's native thickness.

I once was privileged that a copy of an Oxford University Press Biology textbook for Africa crossed my path: this book was extremely cheap, and highly relevant to the African experience. Here's a Free High School Science Texts project in Capetown, SA.

I remember CALPIRG, from my days at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The best of the advocacy groups. CalPIRG is campaigning for affordable textbooks. Their mission statement:

When corporate wrongdoing threatens our health or our safety, or violates fundamental principles of fairness and justice, CALPIRG stands up for the public. We conduct investigative research. We publish consumer reports and exposes. We advocate new laws and other protections at the local, state and federal levels. And when necessary, we take corporate wrongdoers to court. Our results-oriented approach has won victories for Californians on a wide range of issues, including healthcare reform, prescription drug pricing, consumer privacy and product safety.

Today, an item on Slashdot showcases several projects: Competition in the Free Textbook Market.

No comments: