Students who suffer under the burden of high tuition and large student loans need all the financial help the world can provide them. For my upper-level communications classes the last couple of years I have been using an excellent online textbook. Here is a list of superb resources – free textbooks and journals – for students as well as teachers and researchers.
“It was on October 16, 2012 at the annual OpenEd conference in Vancouver that then British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education, John Yap, announced the BC Open Textbook Project. with project support provided by BCcampus. The goal of the project is to make higher education more accessible by reducing student cost through the use of openly licensed textbooks. Specifically, BCcampus was asked to create a collection of open textbooks aligned with the top 40 highest-enrolled subject areas in the province. A second phase was announced in the spring of 2014 to add 20 textbooks targeting trades and skills training. Our open textbooks are openly licensed using a Creative Commons license, and are offered in various e-book formats free of charge, or print on demand books available at cost.”
The texts cover a wide range, from Anatomy and Physiology to Research Methods and Formal Logic.
“The College Open Textbooks Collaborative, a collection of twenty-nine educational non-profit and for-profit organizations, affiliated with more than 200 colleges, is focused on driving awareness and adoptions of open textbooks to more than 2000 community and other two-year colleges. This includes providing training for instructors adopting open resources, peer reviews of open textbooks, and mentoring online professional networks that support for authors opening their resources, and other services.”
The range of books is wide, addressing the arts and humanities, social sciences, and the hard sciences.
Make your own work available to students and professors alike by availing yourself of Creative Commons.
“Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that enables the sharing and use of creativity and knowledge through free legal tools. Our free, easy-to-use copyright licenses provide a simple, standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work — on conditions of your choice. CC licenses let you easily change your copyright terms from the default of ‘all rights reserved’ to “some rights reserved. Creative Commons licenses are not an alternative to copyright. They work alongside copyright and enable you to modify your copyright terms to best suit your needs.”
This organization provides an excellent list of open-source journals focusing on learning, “distant education,” and research. It also publishes sometimes highly technical articles on the classroom environment in the digital age.
Open Knowledge is an educational advocacy group.
“Open Knowledge is a worldwide non-profit network of people passionate about openness, using advocacy, technology and training to unlock information and enable people to work with it to create and share knowledge. … We want to see enlightened societies around the world, where everyone has access to key information and the ability to use it to understand and shape their lives; where powerful institutions are comprehensible and accountable; and where vital research information that can help us tackle challenges such as poverty and climate change is available to all.”
Open Textbook Library
“Open textbooks are real, complete textbooks licensed so teachers and students can freely use, adapt, and distribute the material. Open textbooks can be downloaded for no cost, or printed inexpensively. This library is a tool to help instructors find affordable, quality textbook solutions. All textbooks in this library are complete and openly licensed.”
The range of subjects is wide, from Accounting to Communications to Law to the Social Sciences.
“OpenTextBookStore was created by educators frustrated with the time involved in finding adoptable open textbooks, with the hope to make open textbook adoption easier for other faculty.
Just to be clear, we are not a publisher. This is just a listing site for publicly available open textbooks, maintained by a teacher. Print copies are made available through third party print-on-demand companies. Many of the courses have course packages available through MyOpenMath.com, which provides free online homework for several open math textbooks.”
The site specializes in math-related texts.
“Saylor Academy’s mission is sustained by the continued evolution of an open educational ecosystem, and we are dedicated partners in this movement. Saylor’s commitment to the open education ecosystem is founded not just on open educational resources and open source learning technologies, but also on open access to credentials, and ongoing open learning opportunities.”
Saylor has a long list of texts, available in multiple formats (PDF, DOCX, HTML).
Thanks to BH for the URLs.
photo by Bob Basil