[Athen] [ATHEN] Battling pricy textbooks with open-source texts, social media

Ron Stewart ron at ahead.org
Wed Aug 20 05:44:14 PDT 2008

So if the textbooks are free what is the incentive to write quality textbook
material? I am not disputing that textbooks cost to much, I put too kids
through college not to mention my way too many years of grad school. Heck
half the time my daughter never bought the book and graduated with honors, a
nut not too far from the family tree :)

This issue is so complicated than any panacea solution is just that.
Authors typically want compensation of some kind, profs need to publish or
perish to get promotion and writing a text book is one way to survive. More
and more campuses are purchasing curriculum packages or even whole courses
from vendors. Some cost effective system needs to exist to get curriculum
in the hands of students. The vast majority of students do not like digital
text. Piracy is theft. I can go on and on here folks.

A lesson should be learned from the experiences with opensource of the last
few years. Typically the most successful opensource projects are those that
have been commercialized in some way. Show me a campus that has gone to an
opensource model and had it save money. I know Oregon State lost their
shirt, and they guys in charge both quit just before the cost benefit report
was supposed to be delivered.

Ron Stewart

-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On
Behalf Of Pratik Patel
Sent: Wednesday, August 20, 2008 8:27 AM
To: 'Access Technologists in Higher Education Network'; 'Alternate Media';
cosdi-d at listserv.cuny.edu
Subject: [Athen] Battling pricy textbooks with open-source texts, social

Please see the article on Ars linked below. I would particularly encourage
you to visit the linked article from the LATimes.


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