No sooner do I make a post about open textbooks and the impact it could have on community colleges, then there’s a news item in the local Lansing State Journal about a retired Michigan State Univ prof that’s written an open textbook about organic chemistry that’s being used in our own backyard, as well as around the world:
Books & Resources
I had a discussion the other day with a couple colleagues where the issue of textbook costs arose. I am a huge advocate of open educational resources and open textbooks (see If You Believe in “Intellectual Property”, How Do You Teach Others? – Answer: you can’t). I also know from my consulting work in the 1990’s that there’s no real reason why textbooks should be as expensive as they are today. Print-on-demand can bring the costs down dramatically.
So I thought I would add a few links to the blog for those interested in getting started investigating the idea:
- Open Educational Resources (OER) Commons
- Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources
- Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources – Member List
- California Open Textbook Project
- a good video & post about Dispelling Myths about Open Textbooks
- Two publishers doing good stuff:
Finally, I have new post at my economics blog about the Economic Alchemy: How to Raise Tuition but Lower Student Costs. Also, I advise that people not confuse “online books” with “low-cost” or “open”. Yes, “open textbooks” and newer low-cost books can be put online. But the “online books” being promoted by the major oligopoly publishers are NOT low-cost solutions. In practice, they major publisher solutions like CourseSmart actually end up raising student costs. For more about that, see my post on Online Books.
Why Was the Industrial Revolution Midlandish?
Leigh Shaw-Taylor writes: A podcast of Professor R.C. Allen’s, 2009 Tawney lecture, Why was the Industrial Revolution British?, given at the Economic History Society annual conference, is now available on the EHS website at http://www.ehs.org.uk/downloads.asp
A good book about U.S. economic history. It provides a counterpoint to the usual, cheerleader, US manifest destiny approach of many popular books. This focuses heavily on the lives of the majority of everyday Americans and also chronicles the rise of the American Capitalist model. It’s one of the few books that (IMHO) pays enough attention to the role of the invention of “corporations” in American economic history.
Available free pdf and html downloads/viewing. Also copies can be ordered quite cheaply.