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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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
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. Eric’s interview and 30+ others are available on the interviews page.
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
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
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