[FRIAM] Fwd: The disappearing virtual library - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Paul Kruchoski paul.kruchoski at gmail.com
Wed Apr 18 06:30:58 EDT 2012

I'll preface my laundry list of links here by saying that I'm working on a
book about how technology can dramatically bring down the costs of
education -- if we only let it do so.

There's a lot of government investment in free/open educational materials
-- both textbooks and curricula sets.  See here:


The second is particularly exciting.  In a phone call with the WOCL team,
they estimated that the single most-used open textbook that they're funding
could save students upwards of $10 million over a two year span -- in
Washington State alone.

Here are a few OER platforms, for what it's worth:

I even did a little bit of work with Nature Publishing, who really
understood that they needed to think about how to use and generate open
educational materials.  Their platform is here:


And while we haven't gotten to a free accredited degree, Western Governors
University (WGU) is getting pretty close.  I talked to a graduate last week
who paid a total of $4000 for his bachelors degree.  It's pretty amazing.


On 18 April 2012 00:19, Owen Densmore <owen at backspaces.net> wrote:

> Is your interest is the piracy angle?  If so, there are lots of free and
> open ebooks for just about any topic you might care about!  But on the
> other hand, they may not be the best suited to the class being taught.
> Amazingly enough, many profs are migrating to open/free sets of notes that
> are equivalent to a book.  The best example I know of is the
> brilliant Mathematics For Computer Science
>     http://courses.csail.mit.edu/6.042/fall10/mcs-ftl.pdf
> And here is a huge selection of free or very inexpensive math books:
>     http://www.e-booksdirectory.com/mathematics.php
> In terms of torrents, I found a russian site that had 80,381 text books
> that had been collected from world wide torrents  and they had packaged
> them for direct downloads.  That's a lota books!   Most were an edition or
> two behind the latest, but still quite usable.
> Apple is starting to work very hard on textbooks for ipads, even with
> means for "renting" them.  They haven't gotten off the ground yet, but they
> hope to be working with universities world wide within the year.
> I find that the "illegal" downloads I have done either leads me to buying
> a version of the book (often a used edition, and an edition behind) or
> deleting it.
> I do believe we need to make education freely available.  Clearly Coursera
> and Udacity are headed in that direction, with MITX following on their
> heels.  Accreditation is a problem, but being worked on for these digital
> classrooms.
>    -- Owen
> On Tue, Apr 17, 2012 at 10:21 AM, Joseph Spinden <js at qri.us> wrote:
>> I came across an article I found interesting.  I was curious about the
>> reaction of the members of this group, if there is an interest.
>> Joe
>> http://www.aljazeera.com/**indepth/opinion/2012/02/**
>> 2012227143813304790.html<http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/02/2012227143813304790.html>
>> --
>> "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
>>  -- Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, 1913.
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Paul Kruchoski
@Kruchoski | 505.720.5260 | Schedule <http://doodle.com/kruchoski>
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