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Re: [seul-edu] open textbooks

Chris Hedemark wrote:

> Here's what I am thinking.  If textbooks were developed in an Open Source
> fashion, it could be more effective for schools to distribute laptops
> instead of textbooks.  Every year an updated version of the text can be
> distributed to students at no cost to the school.
> The only real problem that I see is getting qualified people to write &
> maintain the texts.  What is the incentive?

Jeffrey Elkner has started a project to do just this.  He and his students have
been working on a computer science text.  The project has recently changing
servers and domains, so the link on our projects page isn't active, but the new
home is here:


As you say, however, the problem will be getting people to create and maintain
the texts.  What's the incentive for regular textbook writers?  I doubt it's
profit-oriented, as I can't conceive of a best-selling 2nd year world history
text.  Still, people write them.  Does it have to do with academic credentials
and the "publish or perish" mindset?  If so, our best bet would be to present
the idea at educational conferences both as a way to make up-to-date texts very
inexpensively available to financially-strapped (as they pretty much all are)
schools, and as a way to enhance an educator's prestige within the educational
community by writing a widely-used text that takes advantage of all the latest

Doug Loss                 God is a comedian playing
Data Network Coordinator  to an audience too afraid
Bloomsburg University     to laugh.
dloss@bloomu.edu                Voltaire