May 4, 2012

College of Education and Human Development launches open online textbook catalog

From the April 30 Minnesota Daily:

The University of Minnesota's College of Education and Human Development released an open online textbook catalog, allowing faculty from around the world to discuss and showcase online textbooks to help manage textbook costs for students.


The catalog launched a week ago and already has 84 texts available. Dave Ernst, who started the catalog, has been receiving emails from around the world about open textbooks that are available.

An open textbook allows free digital access and low-cost print options, as well as the ability for instructors to customize content. These are quality textbooks with an "open" copyright license, allowing anyone to freely access the text.

The catalog is intended to help faculty members find open textbooks and adapt them to their classroom, said Ernst, the director of Academic Technology Services in CEHD.


Each text accepted into the catalog has to meet four criteria: It must be under an open copyright clause allowing faculty to reuse and rework content, the textbook needs to be complete, it must be available for use outside of the University and it needs to be offered in print.

The catalog was also featured in a University news release. An excerpt:

"The University of Minnesota should be a leader in enabling faculty and students to benefit from open content and electronic textbook options," said Provost Karen Hanson. "This CEHD initiative is one of a number of our initiatives in e-learning that will help students obtain a high-quality education that is also affordable."


CEHD will support faculty who choose to review and adopt open textbooks with $500-$1,000 stipends.

"Faculty share student concerns about high textbook costs and are willing to consider high-quality, affordable alternatives like open textbooks," said CEHD associate professor Irene Duranczyk. "The Open Academics textbook catalog makes it easier by collecting the best peer-reviewed open textbooks in one place."

Nine CEHD faculty members are already exploring open textbooks through the catalog. Replacing their current course materials with open textbooks will potentially save over $100,000 in textbook costs next year.

Posted by stemp003 at May 4, 2012 10:29 AM
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