This blog was created to keep our expanding audience informed about what is going on in the world of Open Textbooks and related topics. Please read and enjoy the posts. You are encouraged to add any comments that add to the discussion.
The first panel discussed Connexions in Higher Education. Connexions co-founder, Dr. Sidney Burrus, gave a brief history of Connexions, describing how it started in the Electrical Engineering Department of Rice University 1999 with a text written by Dr. Richard Baraniuk. Later, Collaborative Statistics, of which I am a co-author, became a Proof of Concept book. Dr. Andrew Barron explained his current project of including lots of cross references in modules for searching for techniques in the Chemistry discipline. Tom Caswell from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges described its open course library with a project to design and share 81 (summer 2010 – fall 2012) high enrollment gatekeeper courses (face-to-face, hybrid and online). The goals of that project are to improve course completion rates, lower textbook costs for students (< $30 per text), provide new resources for faculty to use in their courses and for the WA college system to fully engage the global OER discussion. The 81 courses will be included in Connexions. Jim Berry from NCPEA discussed his project, peer reviewed journals for K-12 principals. This is a free market of education global, not locally. He discussed the peer review so that manuscripts published are high quality. An organization goal is “educational administrative professional knowledge that is captured by the profession and made accessible via the internet .” The journals are housed on Connexions. More information is available at: http://www.ncpeapublications.org/
Perhaps most important to Connexions end users will be this technical update. EPUB (eReaders) has Connexions content on it. This eReader is used for most mobile devices (except for Kindles). Connexions content is on iTunesU (18 collections), is available with an Android App, has Mobile downloads, and has new math support that is better looking for users. I am excited that Connexions pages now load faster due to a technical change to have better load balancing.
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