Tag Archives: open source

May 17, 2012, 12:15 pm

What constitutes peer review for textbooks — and who cares?

Via Inside Higher Ed, The University of Minnesota has started a web site to curate “open source” textbooks in a variety of subject areas. Right now, the mathematics selection consists of 15 titles, many of which can be considered open-access classics, including Strang’s Calculus, Bob Beezer’s “A First Course in Linear Algebra”, Tom Judson’s excellent Abstract Algebra: Theory and Applications, and the Whitman Calculus book. In other words, these aren’t new titles created specifically for this website. But it’s nice to have these all curated in the same place. (I don’t know if UMN plans on solicit new works specifically for their website.)

The claim here is that open-access books** tend to have slow adoption rates because of the lack of “peer review” (and also because many faculty don’t know that open-access resources are out there), and the UMN website will provide some of that review …

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May 28, 2010, 11:39 am

Summer plans

I’m still in recovery mode from this past semester, which seemed somehow to be brutal for pretty much everyone I know in this business. But something that always helps me in this phase is thinking about what I get to do with the much lighter schedule that summertime affords. Here’s a rundown.

Mostly this summer I will be spending time with my family. On Mondays and Fridays, I’ll be home with my two daughters. On Wednesdays I’ll have them plus my 16-month old son, plus my wife will have that day off. On Tuesdays it’ll be just the boy and me. So I plan lots of trips to the zoo, the various parks around here, and so on.

I still have plenty of time to work, and I have a few projects for the summer.

First, I need to get ready for my Geometry class this fall. I am making the move from Geometer’s Sketchpad to Geogebra this fall, and although I took a minicourse at the ICTCM on Geogebra, I…

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April 23, 2009, 2:17 pm

A business model for free content

In a comment on an earlier post, I said I would try to blog about Flat World Knowledge and their business model soon. Here’s a 20-minute video that goes over this business model which allows textbooks to be free but still provides compensation to authors.

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2414983&w=425&h=350&fv=thumb%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fcontent.screencast.com%2Fusers%2FEricFrank%2Ffolders%2FDefault%2Fmedia%2F21098702-63cc-4cd4-ac5a-9f9a3f0b8bcc%2FFirstFrame.jpg%26containerwidth%3D640%26containerheight%3D498%26content%3Dhttp%3A%2F%2Fcontent.screencast.com%2Fusers%2FEricFrank%2Ffolders%2FDefault%2Fmedia%2F21098702-63cc-4cd4-ac5a-9f9a3f0b8bcc%2FOverview%2520of%2520Flat%2520World%2520Knowledge%2520Business%2520Model.swf]

more about “A business model for free content“, posted with vodpod

Again: Free textbooks can be done; it just requires a different approach than the one we’re used to.

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August 17, 2008, 11:33 am

Sunday reading: Editorial on high textbook prices

The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette has this article today by Karen Francisco which is an excellent, if troubling, survey of the problem of rising textbook costs and the things people are doing to offset those costs. I was interviewed by Ms. Francisco last week for this article, and I am happy to say that unlike in my previous newspaper interview experience, she got my comments exactly right (and asked if my name and position could appear in the interview). Here’s what I had to say, although you should read the whole thing:

Robert Talbert, an associate professor of mathematics and computing science at Indiana’s Franklin College, is one of several hundred U.S. college faculty members who have signed on to PIRG’s online pledge to help control textbook costs. He’s passionate about the issue.

“Many of my students are either first-generation college students, students from middle- to…

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