I’m really disappointed to hear news from Flat World Knowledge that they will no longer be able to offer a free version of their textbooks. According to an email message sent to faculty, “As the transition to digital has changed student buying trends, one thing has become clear: the free format has become a barrier to our long-term growth and ability to offer a fair and affordable model that works for all our customers, from individual students and instructors to our institutional partners. A change is necessary.”
The full story is posted on the Flat World Knowledge site: http://www.flatworldknowledge.com/free2fair
Comments and questions? Also from the website: ” The decision to no longer offer free access did not come lightly. Some of you will be disappointed, and we understand. If you have questions, please contact us via email at: email@example.com or on Twitter: @flat_world and include #free2fair. We are ready to listen and respond.”
On Tuesday, May 3rd I recorded a 15 minute segment for the Southwestern Ohio Council for Higher Education on Think TV, the local public television station in Dayton, Ohio. My topic was the rise of digital textbooks and options available for students and faculty to access and produce textbooks and learning materials. Below is a snapshot of my general comments with links to various sources for more information.
Our current textbook system is broken. We have arrived at $200 textbooks and have students who cannot afford them. As a result, students try to borrow a textbook from the library or a friend (sometimes the older edition), purchase a used one, or go without. Neither of these options provides revenue to the publisher, thus resulting in higher price points in an effort to recover the costs or production. What can we do about this catch 22? Continue reading Digital Textbooks and Open Educational Resources – Summary of SOCHE Think TV session
Reprinted in full from Information Today NewsBreaks, by Paula Hane.
Flat World Knowledge, a publisher of free and open college textbooks for students, announced the release of a new platform called MIYO (Make It Your Own). The fully-automated system gives professors greater control over textbook content, and the ability, with one click, to make their modified book available to students free online or in multiple, low-cost digital and print formats.
MIYO (mee-oh) transforms a static textbook into an adaptable learning platform by combining a digital-first architecture with Flat World’s open licensing model that grants faculty the right to revise, remix and share its textbooks. The new system uses familiar drag-and-drop and click features that allow instructors to easily move or delete chapters and sections; upload Word and PDF documents; add notes and exercises; insert video and hyperlinks; edit sentences; and incorporate other content that is free to reuse under a Creative Commons open license. Continue reading Flat World Knowledge releases Make It Your Own platform
Spotlight On Innovation:
Attacking High Text Costs While Improving Outcomes
Date: Monday, April 11th, 2011
Time: 3:30 pm ET / 12:30 pm PT
Duration: 50 minutes followed by a live Q&A session
As the high cost of college texts negatively impacts student retention and outcomes, what actions can faculty and institutions take to reverse this trend?
Register now for this no-cost webinar to learn about three of the most exciting initiatives aimed at driving costs down while enhancing innovation and outcomes.
Moderated by Eric Frank, President and Co-Founder of Flat World Knowledge, this panel will begin with an overview of what open texts are and how they’ve emerged as a force in past years, and then spotlight the innovative work of the University System of Ohio, Washington Open Course Library Project, and Virginia State University.
Join us on April 11th. Click here to register or use the link below:
http://links.mkt3708.com/ctt?kn=5&ms=OTk0ODM4S0&r=OTczNzE1NzE0S0&b=2&j=MjYyMTU4NjMS1&mt=1&rt=0 Continue reading Free webinar on open textbooks, April 11th
Last week while at ACRL, I moderated a session on the role of the academic library with the adoption of digital textbooks. Eric Frank, Co-Founder and President of Flat World Knowledge, was on the panel. We had a chance to talk afterward about the Flat World Knowledge product and business model and the future of the digital textbook.
The Ohio Digital Bookshelf, Where will the 2nd Year Take Us? A Webinar from the University System of Ohio TeachU, Presented by Stephen R. Acker, Research Director, The Ohio Digital Bookshelf
The slides for the webinar are available on slideshare and the webinar archive.
The following is a summary of my interpretation of the webinar. My best efforts were made to ensure accuracy.
Affordability, engagement and preparedness are the 3 big factors that influence student success in college. For many of higher education faculty, admistrators, and policy creators years ago, these were mutually reinforcing- “poverty” as a teaching associate led to more campus-based activity and greater preparedness through grading, lecturing, and the like. Now, higher costs for education and lack of related income-generating opportunities for students, drives students off campus and takes time they would better be spending on study. We need to concentrate on affordability if we’re to bring campus engagement and preparedness back into reasons for successrather than reasons for failure for today’s student, who lives in a much different world. Continue reading The Ohio Digital Bookshelf, webinar summary
This CIL session was presented by Chad Mairn, Information Services Librarian at St. Petersberg College and Al Carlson, System Administrator for the Tampa Bay Library Consortium.
- Library automation, the internet, and EPUB are the three big things he feels have hit the library industry during his career.
- The book is the content and not the package, ebook is just another package.
- Diagnosing the DVD Disappointment: A Life Cycle View by Judson Coplan – this article from 2006 is one that Al recommends to read as a comparison to how quickly ebooks may be adopted.
- History suggests that ebooks will rapidly invade the codex space
- Books aren’t dead, they are just changing Continue reading CIL Conference – Empowering the Reader in a Digital World
Jeff Shelstad, Founder and CEO of FlatWorld Knowledge spoke first.
Jeff provided some stats on higher education:
- 19.1 million students in 2010 in college
- $850 avg spent on textbook
- so, it’s about a 10billion industry
- Cengage, Pearson, McGraw-Hill are the big 3 publishers along with many other small ones
Problem is that the industry has outworn their value proposition and is not willing to pay for the product the industry is offering. Affordability is a huge problem.
36% of community college student in a study said that the cost of textbooks had caused them to leave/dropout Continue reading Charleston Conference – Open Textbooks Model & Library Involvement
Today I attended the webinar sponsored by the Ohio Board of Regents regarding Ohio’s digital textbook project. Speakers included: Darlene McCoy, Associate Vice Chancellor, Division of Affordability and Efficiency, University System of Ohio; Dr. Steve Acker, Research Director, eTextOhio Project; Dr. Shu Z. Schiller, Assistant Professor of Information Systems at Wright State University; and Eric Frank, President and Co-Founder, Flat World Knowledge.
Here are some notes I took from the webinar:
Steve Acker, Research Director, eTextOhio Project – Improving the education of those in the state (of Ohio) is our mission and we hope to graduate 200,000 students in the next 10 years.
Steve provided a brief history of Ohio’s Digital Textbook Project which includes: Continue reading Ohio’s Digital Textbook Project Webinar Summary
On Monday I visited SAGE in Thousand Oaks, California and had the chance to talk with Michele Sordi, Vice President and Editorial Director for the Higher Education Group, about digital textbooks. We discussed the SAGE textbook program, barriers to digital textbook adoption, and the role of librarians in digital textbooks on campus.
Michele will join me, along with Eric Frank of FlatWorld Knowledge and Steve Acker, Research Director for the eTextOhio Project at the ACRL Conference next Spring on a panel, The Digital Textbook Movement: Opportunities and Challenges for Academic Libraries.
Questions for Michele can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
The University System of Ohio has been a national leader in supporting innovations that help eliminate textbook costs as a financial barrier to college. Solving the textbook affordability crisis for Ohio college students is more pressing than ever, as large numbers of students turn to public institutions for high-quality, affordable education.
Please join Darlene McCoy, Associate Vice Chancellor, Division of Affordability and Efficiency, University System of Ohio; Dr. Steve Acker, Research Director, eTextOhio Project; Dr. Shu Z. Schiller, Assistant Professor of Information Systems at Wright State University; and Eric Frank, President and Co-Founder, Flat World Knowledge, for a one-hour webcast to examine:
* Why textbooks costs have sky-rocketed
* How textbook costs impact students, faculty and institutions.
* Current initiatives by the University System of Ohio to address textbook affordability
* What defines open educational resources and open textbooks, and how they can reduce costs by 80 percent, while increasing quality and accessibility
Date: Monday, October 25th, 2010
Time: 3:00 pm ET
Duration: 40 minutes followed by a live Q&A session
The Curriki blog has a nice post highlighting 10 sources for free textbooks online. In addition to Curriki’s own site, they link to bookboon, flatworld knowledge, ck 12, open culture, Project Gutenberg, and others.
Great article today in Inside Higher Education, All in the Delivery, that discusses the rise of eBooks in higher education, specifically for textbooks. Kindle, iPad, CourseSmart, FlatWorld Knowledge, and of course print, are discussed in the context of the best method for delivery of academic ebooks. The author, Steve Kolowich, offers a nice overview and variety of stats and links. The comments thus far are nice as well.
Texas Tech University Professor, Jeremy Short, was tired of the boring and stale management textbooks, so he wrote a couple of graphic novels for his students instead. Using a college student character, Atlas Black, Short takes students through the life of a slacker college student who transforms to a successful entrepreneur.
What did the students thing? According to an article in Inside Higher Education, “formal evaluations showed that 86 percent of his students that used the book said they agreed or strongly agreed that it “compares favorably” to other management textbooks they’ve had, Short said. He added that the most rewarding part of the process teaching with Atlas Black is having students wonder what happens in the story when the book ends. “The idea of a student asking what comes next in a textbook is really just unfathomable,” he said.”
Another great part of this story, the book is published through Flatworld Knowledge, an open access textbook publisher. According to Flatworld, 25 professors will be using the Atlas Black textbook this fall.
A new Off The Shelf Column in Reference Books Bulletin (Booklist) explores open access e-textbooks. The CK12 Foundation, Connexions, Flatworld Knowledge, and Merlot are discussed. Other Off The Shelf pieces are on the articles page.
I am reproducing this post from the teleread blog, thanks Paul!
Flat World, the publisher of commercial open source college textbooks, had partnered with Barnes & Noble College Booksellers and NACS Media Solutions to distribute their textbooks to over 3,000 college bookstores for the fall semester.
These are pilot programs and will launch in August. The average cost of a Flat Word textbook is $29.95 which, they say, is 75% lower than most conventional textbooks. The bookstores will receive digital files and the college instructors can then remix, reorder and add content. The stores than will use POD to provide paper copies.
(sp) I saw a presentation from FlatWorld at the TOC conference and discussed them in my top 10 takeaways from the conference. They have an interesting business model, I’ll be anxious to see if they find success at the college bookstores.
Tools of Change Conference – Future of Digital Textbooks, Feb. 23 10:45- 11:30
Speakers: John Warren (Moderator) , Eric Frank, Flatworld Knowledge; Frank Lyman, CourseSmart; Nicholas Smith, Agile Mind; and Neeru Khosle, CK12 Foundation