The University of Minnesota is looking to find and evaluate open source textbooks for many classes. What do you think?
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- I always thought the subscription access would be a better business model for everyone. With the subscription model, the contributors get paid, the students get a reduced price, and everyone is happy. If a student does decide they need a full version instead of a rental, they could always buy one.Apr 23, 2012
- I'm in favor of it. One of my classes already used a online textbook for no cost and we managed just fine. Textbooks cost to much, and no valuable new information is added with every subsequent edition anyways. Best of luck to them.Apr 23, 2012
- , there's a difference between the open source textbooks that we are cataloging and a dynamic textbook that you're talking about. Our texts are complete and static. However, based on the license, a faculty member may choose to make changes. In that case, the text would be a new derivative work and would be issued it's own ISBN #. It's really no different from software: most people have a word processor. Version 1 is complete as is, but version 1.1 is slightly different, though also complete as is.Apr 23, 2012
- then that's what we ended up doing at #BU with a (previously canadian-only) Mahaffey text for GenChem. We removed chapters, re-organized and it was provided with a new ISBN and MUCH cheaper than anything we'd previously done. I used the ebook version a lot, so that i didn't have to carry the text around with me, but the interface was agonizingly slow to move around in, especially on a small laptop screen. I hope you've better luck with that.Apr 23, 2012
- the texts we have in the catalog are all available as PDFs so can be read on any device: students' choice.Apr 23, 2012
- Only the most advanced courses require bleeding edge material, and I think every rational educator on the planet is keenly aware of that. An introduction to computer programming course need not contain detailed information about the latest optimization schemes. In fact, it probably shouldn't mention them at all. If, for, and while loops will explode enough people's brains to keep them busy throughout their undergraduate education.
For the classical sciences (and their engineering applications) you're looking at the same sort of picture. My grandfather taught fluid mechanics for thirty years, and retired about 23 years ago. Fox and McDonald's third edition (Fluids text) was sent to him as a complimentary text to try and get it onto his syllabus in the mid-80s. Here I am, in 2012, taking the very same course out of the 8th edition. Not a single thing has changed in the text, save for the example illustrations in each chapter's introduction and the rearrangement of the problems at the end of each chapter. The same is true for the text we used in Thermodynamics.
Justification for the $200+ the school bookstore wishes to charge for these texts simply does not exist.Apr 23, 2012