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[seul-edu] Open textbooks - a revision of text
Subject: [seul-edu] open textbooks - a revision of text 17-Oct-2000 12:23
Item 001: If textbooks were developed in an Open Source fashion, it could
be more effective for schools to distribute laptops instead of textbooks.
Response 001: Yes, if one could but change society's values.
01-01. Convince legislators ("Official List of Approved Books (Literature)
for Classroom Instruction",) school administrators - who control funds for
purchases, groups of parents and self-righteous asserting individuals of the
"my way is the [only] way to choose."
01-02. Issues of copyright and distribution rights of existing works are
objections to overcome.
01-03 Limited availability of current and past works in digital format is a
01-04. Light weight impact resistant laptops with a "comfortable size"
display with glare resistant and sharp image of the better printed page
would address issues of readability and fragile design. [True, it will not
"feel" like a book.]
01-04a If business and the general public purchase like or similar
technology - the cost should
01-05. At American Library Association conventions there are ongoing
discussions to the fact that digital technology changes rapidly. Both the
physical and coding formats change and there is no cost effective way to
read text or execute programs written and stored on old technology. Software
written for use on the Commodore, Processor Technology SOL, and other early
"Home Computer" companies is effectively dead. Where can you find or
purchased an 8 inch floppy or drive?
Item 002: Every year an updated version of the text can be distributed to
students at no cost to the school.
02-01. There are different costs of distribution and stresses on existing
02-02a Communications networks do not currently have the resources to
accommodate millions of users trying to access "publishing sites" to
download "text books" using 56k modems. All of this activity within a narrow
time window associated with the start of classes.
02-02b Perhaps distribution on CD-ROM to regional duplicating and
distribution centers could alleviate network gridlock that would otherwise
come with serge demand for downloads at start of schools.
02-02c Network bandwidth to retrieve updates for "used" CD-ROMs or other
media - would not be as demanding as downloading an entire text book.
Item 003: The only real problem that I see is getting qualified people to
write and maintain the texts.
03-01. This problem not dependent on the technology, publishing or
distribution, but identifying and providing a pay incentive to attract and
maintain a pool of skilled persons.
Item 004: What is the incentive?
04-01. In the Linux, GNU and Open Source communities Authors and
contributors gain recognition and their works are available online without
fee. Publishers and distributors charge a fee for assembling and
distributing a product. The products may include books with CD-ROMs with
software or text. The Publisher-Distributors help assemble and deliver
products to persons who may not have time, interest or ability to access,
synthesis volume of data. "I just want something that works."
04-02. Authors, publishers may avail themselves of 360 degree feedback on
products and services. updates, corrections, revisions and new issues could
be made without traditional costs. No wait for availability of a press, and
distribution via dedicated vehicles under contract by the publisher. USPS,
UPS, FedEx and other surface and air carriers may be more cost effective.
Brief identification: a new Linux user and defining new career, member of
the American Library Association, AT&T Network Services - Retired, Early
(1978) Personal Computer User
----- Original Message -----
From: Chris Hedemark <email@example.com>
To: Seul-Edu (E-mail) <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2000 09:40
Subject: [seul-edu] open textbooks
> I was reading on /. today about how many private universities, and now
> public universities, are requiring students to purchase $2,000+ laptop
> computers. This is on top of the rediculously high costs of textbooks.
> It got me to thinking. How much does the average high school spend on
> books for a 4 year student? Forget about recycling to next year's student
> for a moment (I'll explain). Is the cost greater than that of a laptop
> 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?