What is an Open Textbook?
Submitted by Vanessa Gennarelli on Mon, 10/31/2011 – 2:19pm.
Happy Halloween, everyone. You know what scares me? Soaring textbook prices. Here’s what else frightens me. Publishing under the old no-shades-of-gray “All Rights Reserved” way because it limits how authors can share their work and how professors can use textbook content. For those reasons, I could not be happier doing what I do, helping amazing scholars and authors develop textbooks for Flat World Knowledge.
Let’s leave the tricks to the traditional textbook publishers, shall we? Today, I’m all about the treats, starting with “What is an open textbook?”
Generally, open textbooks refer to a several elements that all revolve around “flexibility.” A textbook is considered “open” if:
- It is open to being remixed, reorganized, and you can add things to it.
- It is freely available. For Flat World, anyone with a browser can access our textbooks. There’s no firewall or requirement that you start an account.
- You can share it (but not sell it). Go ahead, make it your own. Share our textbooks with everyone–create a global classroom. We just ask that you be a good open citizen and attribute.”
- It’s available in different formats. The content is flexible, moves from web view, to printed version, to epub, to audio.Flat World Knowledge textbooks are published under the Creative Commons Share-Alike Non-Commerical (CC BY-NC-SA) license. Here’s what that means:
- BY is “attribution”—users can remix, but attribute to original author
- SA is “share-alike”—users can share, but it’s got to the be the same license as FWK
- NC is “non-commercial”
Lastly, here is a don’t miss video treat about Creative Commons:
What sets Flat World Knowledge apart from other open textbook publishers:
- Our textbooks are not just free and online–they are developed by professionals and the results are very good. Our textbooks win Textys.
- We help students get better grades. We offer study aids and they are automatically included in our $30 All Access Pass.
- Instructors choose the textbooks. Students get to choose the format and price.
I hope this sheds a little light on open textbooks if they are new to you.
Happy Halloween from your friends at Flat World Knowledge!