Archive for August, 2009


Digital Textbooks as Paradigm Shift?

August 30, 2009

Digital Textbooks: The Next Paradigm Shift in Higher Education?


New Author Guidelines @ Connexions

August 25, 2009

Connexions has launched a new module titled: Introduction to the New Author Guide.   The purpose of this guide is to help new Connexions authors with creating, revising, and publishing content using Connexions.


Interview w/ Bonk about World is Open

August 25, 2009

Today’s Inside Higher Ed news features an interview with Curtis J. Bonk, author of The World Is Open: How Web Technology is Revolutionizing Education.  See


Open Ed 09 Video

August 25, 2009

In case you missed the 2009 Open Ed Conference held in Vancouver earlier this month, the next best thing may just be this video summary, courtesy of Creative Commons ccLearn.

The video includes interviews with noteworthy persons in the open education movement as they shared their thoughts on the following:

1. Introductions
2. Why do you love Vancouver?
3. What is your favorite open education project?
4. Why do you love open educational resources (OER)?
5. Define OER

“This video is open via CC BY, including the soundtrack which is the album Ambient Pills by Zeropage, available at Jamendo (


Book Sprints for Collaborative Authoring

August 22, 2009

Book Sprints “describes how to carry out collaborative authoring in a short time with the express goal of having a publishable book at the end. The Book Sprint concept was devised by Tomas Krag. Tomas conceived of book production as a collaborative activity involving substantial donations of volunteer time.”


Find open licensed content via Google

August 21, 2009

Did you know that you can use Google’s Advanced Search to find open educational resources ?   If you want learning content that is open and available for use and reuse, follow these steps:

1.  Go to Google

2.  Click on Advanced Search

3.  Click on “date, usage rights, numeric range, and more”

4.  Click on the dropdown menu next to “Usage rights”

5.  Select the Usage right you desire

6.  Type in your search terms

7.  Be sure to read the fine print about acceptable usage (open license) of any content before you use it

For details about this feature of Google Advance Search, see

Also, use Google’s Advanced Image Search to find videos or images you can reuse, share, or modify.


Update on CA Digital Textbooks

August 18, 2009

Gov. Schwarzenegger has released the Free Digital Textbook Initiative Phase 1 Report.  See .

Free digital textbooks are listed at the CLRN website.


Find Open Licensed Photos

August 17, 2009

Educators seeking images for slideshow presentations can now find Creative Commons open licensed photos using Flickr, Google, and Picasa.  For links to screenshots at K12 OpenEd, see


Open Content at Google Books

August 14, 2009

On August 13th, Google announced that authors can now use Google Books to distribute their Creative Commons licensed work.  Authors benefit from using a CC license because it allows them to distribute their work more widely and clearly communicate how they want the content to be used and shared.  Readers who download these books can use the work in ways specified by the license such as giving proper credit to the author on any remixes or further public distributions.

To date, nine open-access books are available for download from Google Books:

55 Ways to Have Fun with Google by Lenssen
Blown to Bits by Abelson, Ledeen & Lewis
Bound by Law? by Aoki, Boyle & Jenkins
Code: Version 2 by Lessig
Democratizing Innovation by von Hippel
Federal Budget Deficits: America’s great consumption binge by Courant & Gramlich
The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It by Zittrain
Little Brother by Doctorow
A World’s Fair for the Global Village by Malamud

Consider adding your own textbook to this list!


Hewlett Awards Open Textbook Grant

August 13, 2009

In July 2009, Trustees of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation approved an award to the Foothill-De Anza Community College District (Los Altos Hills, CA) to manage the Community College Open Textbook Collaborative ($1.5 million) over 2 years. 

The FHDA Aug 10th press release states:

Open textbooks gain ground as economical, educational alternative

With community college enrollments and textbook prices on the rise, a U.S. and Canadian consortium of community colleges this week announced plans to expand a free digital textbook initiative with $1.5 million in funding from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

“This grant comes at an opportune time,” said Mike Brandy, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, which is leading the collaborative. “It coincides with the growing interest in open educational resources, such as President Obama’s proposal to invest $500 million over the next decade in developing free high school and college courses. Open textbooks are moving into the mainstream as financially distressed states such as California look to free digital textbooks to reduce the cost of public education.”

The grant from The Hewlett Foundation will support a campaign to raise awareness about open textbooks among community college instructors and students and increase the number of free, high-quality digital textbooks available online for community college courses with the highest enrollments.

Efforts by the Community College Open Textbook Collaborative over the next two years could save students millions of dollars by increasing the number of free high-quality textbooks available online as alternatives to expensive printed textbooks sold by publishers. The collaborative also will train community college instructors in how to get the most out of free digital textbooks to meet the learning needs of their students.
“The collaborative will make it much more convenient for faculty to feasibly explore alternatives to expensive textbooks,” said Judy Baker, dean of Global Access at Foothill College and founder and director of CCCOER.  “Digital content is much more flexible than a printed textbook, so instructors can customize their content using free material on the Internet, instead of having to adjust their instruction to match what a publisher locks into print.”
 Funding for the collaborative will expand the work of the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (, which includes 94 member colleges across the United States and Canada. Founded in 2007 by the Foothill-De Anza district, the consortium (CCCOER) already has peer-reviewed several new open textbooks for use in community college courses and identified more than 250 others for consideration. Open textbooks are freely available for use without restriction and can be downloaded or printed from web sites and repositories. (See the Community College Open Textbook Project web site,
The collaborative’s academic partners include Rice University’s Connexions, the California-based Faculty Collaborations for Course Transformations program, the Florida Distance Learning Consortium, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) and the League for Innovation in the Community College.

Open textbooks will gain greater acceptance as more faculty become familiar with them through training, and as more of the textbooks are peer reviewed, Baker said. Until those things happen, adoptions of open textbooks will be limited to what she calls “innovators and early adopters.”  
Such limited use would be a loss, Baker said, because not only do open textbooks save students money, they also can improve the learning experience for both students and faculty. “Open textbooks let students and faculty bring greater context, timeliness and relevance to their instruction through Internet linking and networking opportunities,” she said.
Using web-based social networks, the collaborative will link community college instructors into a learning community where they can share their knowledge and experiences with creating and using open textbooks for their courses. The collaborative also will solicit authors to write open textbooks and assemble panels of subject matter experts to review open textbooks for standards of quality, accessibility and cultural relevance.


The Hewlett Foundation has been a global leader in funding open educational resources, which are digital learning materials that are freely available to anyone with Internet access. The Foothill-De Anza Community College District is located in Silicon Valley and educates more than 44,000 students annually at two colleges, Foothill College and De Anza College. The Hewlett board awarded the two-year grant on July 20 and notified the district of the award on Aug. 3.



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