Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Free Digital Texts and Free Online Course Materials

It's important when the free digital textbooks and free online course materials are covered by the LA Times. The issues surrounding pricey textbooks and digital alternatives are compactly discussed in this news article. ___ JH (Thanks to the blog Free Culture News for this reference.)
"Caltech economics professor R. Preston McAfee finds it annoying that students and faculty haven't looked harder for alternatives to the exorbitant prices. McAfee wrote a well-regarded open-source economics textbook and gave it away -- online. But although the text, released in 2007, has been adopted at several prestigious colleges, including Harvard and Claremont-McKenna, it has yet to make a dent in the wider textbook market."
"McAfee is one of a band of would-be reformers who are trying to beat the high cost -- and, they say, the dumbing down -- of college textbooks by writing or promoting open-source, no-cost digital texts. Thus far, their quest has been largely quixotic, but that could be changing. Public colleges and universities in California this past year backed several initiatives to promote online course materials, and publishers and entrepreneurs are stepping up release of electronic textbooks, which typically sell at reduced prices."
"Open educational resources is an amorphous category for publishers, but basically it includes e-textbooks, courses, videos, taped lectures, tests, software and other materials released online free to the public without restriction on use."

Read more ...

Practice test offered Jan. 31

What could be better than taking a test that doesn't count? How about an offer for area high school students to take a proctored SAT or ACT practice test? A novel fundraiser sponsored by the Watchung Hills ...

Read the rest ...

Peer 2 Peer University

P2P University has received favorable coverage by a number of bloggers (including ZaidLearn and Stephen's Web).  I just want to add my endorsement of this promising direction of development. ___JH

"The Peer 2 Peer University is an online community of open study groups for short university-level courses. Think of it as online book clubs for open educational resources. The P2PU helps you navigate the wealth of open education materials that are out there, creates small groups of motivated learners, and supports the design and facilitation of courses. Students and tutors get recognition for their work, and we are building pathways to formal credit as well.Find out more about what P2PU courses look like, and consider creating your own. If you just want to stay informed, please add your name to our mailing list, and we will send you a message when we launch." Read the rest ...

Administrators share vision to change schools

Administrators share vision to change schools

Some superintendents in Texas are calling for an overhaul of public schools to better prepare students -- in ways that aren't boring.