Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Price of Textbooks

Textbook publishers are two of the dirtiest words ever spoken by college students. Costs have tripled in 20 years.* Sometimes the bookstores get blamed. Sometimes instructors get blamed. Sometimes the authors get blamed. There is certainly enough blame to spread around. Sue Medina, the guru and leading light of the Network of Alabama Academic Libraries (NAAL), sent out a link to this article today. Washington State is trying to make the costs more transparent with a new law. Check out this editorial* in the NYTs today.<>

The article mentions a program Rice University is using to provide students with custom written textbooks online for no cost. Called Connexions, it describes itself this way:
". . . an environment for collaboratively developing, freely sharing, and rapidly publishing scholarly content on the Web. Our Content Commons contains educational materials for everyone — from children to college students to professionals — organized in small modules that are easily connected into larger courses. All content is free to use and reuse under the Creative Commons "attribution" license."

Hmmmm. Free texts. What an idea. js

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