Print 57 comment(s) - last by Ringold.. on Oct 3 at 7:08 PM

Thanks to two new bills, there is financial relief at last

Whether you're racking up tuition fees now or still paying student loans after graduation, you know one thing is for sure: College is expensive. To make matters worse, the spending doesn't end at a semester of classes -- there's books that need to be purchased as well, and they're worth more than a little bit of pocket change.

But if you're going to school in California, a bit of relief has finally come your way in the form of two bills: SB 1052 and SB 1053. 

Both bills, which were crafted by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), will allow California college students to download up to 50 core textbooks for free in the form of e-books. The e-books are for lower-division courses and are for classes at the University of California, California State University and California Community Colleges. 

More specifically, SB 1052 allows for the development of the e-books and the creation of the California Open Education Resources Council for e-book approvals. SB 1053 has developed the California Digital Open Source Library to store the new e-books. 

"Many students are paying more than $1,000 every year on their textbooks, sometimes having to choose between buying the books they need or paying for food and other living expenses," said Steinberg. 

The new e-book bills were signed by Governor Jerry Brown on Thursday. They are expected to go into effect starting in the 2013-14 school year. 

Digital textbooks are certainly becoming the new way of learning in institutions around the globe. This new form of educational offerings was further boosted by Apple earlier this year, who released iBooks 2 and iBooks Author that allow for the creation of digital textbooks and makes them available for purchase on the iPad. 


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Education is not a luxury
By 2bdetermine on 10/1/2012 3:41:21 PM , Rating: 2
Open source textbooks anyone!

RE: Education is not a luxury
By andrewaggb on 10/1/2012 4:09:14 PM , Rating: 2
I think it could work. Wonder if they'll really be open source, so any university could use them/contribute outside of california?

RE: Education is not a luxury
By Etsp on 10/1/2012 5:29:36 PM , Rating: 2
Wiki article:

Open textbooks are something that I think can permanently transform global education for the better. This movement is picking up speed, and I'm hoping for a watershed moment. Perhaps this is it.

RE: Education is not a luxury
By jeffkro on 10/1/2012 9:33:15 PM , Rating: 2
What a great idea

RE: Education is not a luxury
By Ringold on 10/1/2012 11:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
Despite well over a decade of trying mightily legions of enthusiasts have still failed to create an open source desktop linux distro that puts any competitive pressure on the two incumbents.

Don't see how this would be any better, esp. with all the issues raised above. I think it simply removes a participant that has the potential to do good; the publisher. A publisher can enforce standards and ignore crazies.

Having every professor possibly spin his own slightly modified textbooks, jam-packed with his own personal theories and biases, I suspect will lower the quality of education in anything thats not math, basically. Students would always get exposed to the professors ideas, part of what they pay for even, but at least the text books could take a slightly different approach, expose them to a slightly different slant or emphasis. This sounds like a potential recipe for yet another echo-chamber in modern society.

RE: Education is not a luxury
By Etsp on 10/2/2012 12:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
The crazies can always find a different publisher.

Now, let me ask you: What great educator have you known that taught the class straight out of the textbook, and only out of the textbook? Every K-12 instructor that's been the least bit enthusiastic about their job that I've ever known used bits and pieces of the textbooks, not the whole thing, and often taught chapters out of their published order.

The benefit would be a lot less repetition of work. How many basic algebra books have been published? I'm willing to bet thousands. To teach the same subject. Not saying that there would only be one open algebra book, but it would consolidate a lot of work that is getting done over and over.

RE: Education is not a luxury
By Mint on 10/2/2012 11:27:30 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know what you're rambling about.

The biases you find in Wikipedia are far, far smaller than what you'll find from professors (or even department committees) choosing the book that they want for their class. Why do you think open-source textbooks will be so much worse?

RE: Education is not a luxury
By Jeffk464 on 10/2/2012 7:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
Wikipedia might not be perfect but it is really impressive given its concept.

RE: Education is not a luxury
By The Raven on 10/2/2012 8:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
legions of enthusiasts
Legions? You call 1.55% legions?

If there were more non-enthusiast supporters and less naysayers such as yourself, then things would be really different.

Oh sorry I linked to an open source project, doh!

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