Everyone knows how expensive textbooks are in the United States, but the cost of textbooks in developing countries is exorbitant for students and their families who make a few dollars or less per day. For many around the world, the cost of buying textbooks is unrealistic and limits students’ opportunities to learn.
The Global Text Project (globaltext.org) seeks to solve this problem by engaging academic communities to help build a library of free online textbooks. Co-directors, Doctors Richard Watson from the University of Georgia and Donald McCubbrey from University of Denver, established the non-profit organization in 2006.
The project uses an open-source infrastructure to publish free electronic textbooks online with a Creative Commons 3.0 BY license. This type of licensing gives professors the opportunity to remix the material so that it can be made country-centric. Also, anyone can reproduce the material and even charge a small fee for the cost of copying if needed.
With a grant from the Jacobs foundation awarded in 2008, the project ramped up book production. In 2010, the project created a competitive
internship program for students interested in learning about electronic publishing at the University of Georgia.
Today, university students and professors can work remotely around the world to create or enhance a GTP textbook. Under the supervision of a textbook’s author or the project’s
editor, professors or students may create additional material for the textbooks such as a new chapter or case study.
In the Global Text office, students work in all areas of production or help meet the organization’s needs in public relations, web design, database management, and business modeling. Student interns are gaining real-world experience while producing free textbooks and building a non-profit that directly benefits students in other countries.
The project intends to engage many for the benefit of many more. Students and professors that work with project are creating resources for their peers today and leaving a legacy of a freely accessible education for future generations to come.