Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Getting There From Here
Here’s where I hope that my wise and worldly readers have seen something I haven’t. For those who’ve seen a successful large-scale transition, how did it happen? For those in the midst of it, what’s working? Any hints/hacks you could share would be appreciated.
*Probably on the registrar's page. Your tuition and fees page could also link to it.
(I don't work for them or anything, but I do work with OER in the K-12 space, and know people who work there.)
I hate how much textbooks cost as much as anyone, but at least the money means that someone will be incentivized to write new textbooks.
It seems like OER follows this pattern: someone with money decides they want this to happen (*cough*Gates Foundation*cough*), ponies up the money to make it happen, then walks away and hopes for the best. After that either people just keep reusing the exact same book (and thus not 'keeping up with new trends') or else the faculty get to add 'write a textbook' to their job description.
It seems like a lot of the challenge isn't just getting people to use it now, but having a realistic plan for keeping the option attractive in the future.
This is what a good textbook should be like.
(Downside: only works on an Apple device. Upside: excellent use of those device's capabilities.)
I said it before, and I'll say it again. I'd also recommend pushing not just towards free resources, but cheap ones. Dover Books are great for mathematics. Some other fields (e.g. biology) might require more up-to-date resources, but I don't see why some grants couldn't hire someone folks to write $20 textbooks that shouldn't go obsolete right away.