A break is coming for college students worried about the rising cost of their textbooks. Rice University as begun a program called Connexions which will be using open-source materials to produce free textbooks for students. These books will cover five of the most populous courses of study for college students.
Open-sourcing is an idea held by certain companies that means they believe in free redistribution of their research materials and end results. They believe that through their research and development they have the opportunity to benefit their industry and people in general, but sharing their work and allowing it to be built upon further.
Several philanthropic institutions, including the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation have stepped forward to offer their monetary support to the project. OpenStax textbooks will be competitive with those currently found in campus stores throughout the country, but will be able to save college students up to 90% of the costs of their textbooks for certain courses. In addition to saving college students money, the open-source model allows professors the ability to change the texts themselves to better suit the needs of their course.
This month, physics and sociology texts are due to hit the market. They will be followed by versions for basic biology courses, anatomy and physiology. These free books are going to be available free on computers, smart phones and tablets. Print Versions will also be available for a nominal fee. Upcoming partnerships to provide educators with testing and classroom materials are expected to be announced soon.