This idea was brought to me from a faculty member at the college I work at. She teaches classes in the sciences, several which are general education credits. As she was reviewing textbooks for the next academic year, she thought the cost of these books which the students will only use for 16 weeks and sell back for 1/4 of the cost was outrageous. The content for most of these courses does not change, yet the book is updated to a new version yearly, as well as the cost of the book. So she thought to herself she had to options:
- Create her own content pages in the learning management system
- Use open source textbooks licensed for education reuse under Creative Commons.
She started with the first idea, realized quickly that a project like this could take over a year to develop. While she was developing the materials she stumbled on websites offering open source textbooks and resources. She started to review them and found herself joining these communities and finding the content she needed was already created.
She is now searching for the content for her Introduction to Chemistry course on several different open source sites, and what she can’t find she is building on her own and then contributing back to these communities. Below are links to two of the resources/communities she has been using to develop her course.
Since learning management system abilities have grown from being a document library to a place where instructional content can be delivered with ease, I see site like these becoming more and more popular. What is your view on these open source educational resources and communities? Would you use them as an instructional designer or teacher in place of a paper textbook, or possibly as additional supplementary resources?