Open Textbooks in California

September 29th, 2012

My friend and colleague Tim Aiello sends me news that California has passed groundbreaking textbook legislation.

A crucial component of the California legislation is that the textbooks developed will be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY):

The textbooks and other materials are placed under a creative commons attribution license that allows others to use, distribute, and create derivative works based upon the digital material while still allowing the authors or creators to receive credit for their efforts.

The CC BY license allows teachers to tailor textbook content to students’ needs, permits commercial companies to take the resources and build new products with it (such as video tutorials), and opens the doors for collaboration and improvement of the materials.

In related news, Katherine Tyrrell commented on my blog recently about the Higher Education Act of 2008 in the USA:

This REQUIRES all educational establishments to define and COST all text books required for a course whether in print or online so as to allow a student to estimate the real cost of taking a course.

“The act mandates that textbook costs be available as part of any schedule of classes, whether online or in print. The intent of this act is to allow students to shop for the best price on textbooks and thus lower their costs. “


It seems that excessive prices of textbooks is something that has also been a major issue in the USA and that this has been addressed in part via this Act.

These are both really good things. I would like to know if there are similar plans underway in Canada.

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