Free Textbooks?

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Photo courtesy of kdvs.org

Photo courtesy of kdvs.org

As a student here at Snow College you know how hard it can be to have to buy or rent all your textbooks. Have you ever thought about how nice it would be to not have to deal with buying them?

Davide Wiley, the co-founder of Lumen Learning said, “The degree of unaffordability is getting to the point that it’s hurting learning.”  Some teachers are building their own texts from scratch based on existing online education resources, articles and videos available on the web. “But, the most commonly used open textbooks are developed by organizations acting as digital publishers, such as OpenStax, a nonprofit that grew out of Connexions in 2012; it’s used by teachers at 500 institutions, including South Florida Community College.” (KSL News report How Some Colleges are Offering Free Textbooks).

Did you know that OpenStax is funded by grants, which allows it to offer digital books? This allows students to be able to download and print them for free. They also have the option of requesting a hardcopy, the price of which ranges from $30 to $50 depending on the course, or an iBooks version for $4.99.

As a student in college there are things you can’t live without. For example you have to pay for tuition, rent, and other fees. Most the time when a student tries to budget what they spend they cut out buying books to save them money. At first it seems easier and in some classes it’s great because you never use the textbook anyways. However, in classes where you need a text book not buying one can really be hard on you and your grade in that class.

How much simpler would college life be if students could get their textbooks for free? All the money students would have spent on books could be used for a greater purpose in their life.

With each new edition of a textbook the companies raise the price even though most of the time there isn’t a big difference in the content that the textbook is covering. This can be really frustrating to students and teachers as well.

A teacher from the South Florida Community College said “That frustration really got me thinking about why we were asking students to pay for access to information that really is available already online.” This teacher decided to create his own textbook. He searched for articles, studies and videos that were online for free under a Create Commons license. Any information needed for his class that he couldn’t find online he wrote it himself. He then compiled it all into a Word document that he distributed as an interactive PDF wit videos and links.

How much simpler would college life be if students could get their textbooks for free? All the money students would have spent on books could be used for a greater purpose in their life.

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