There was an article in yesterday's NYTimes about Curriki, a new community dedicated to free digital textbooks. Rather than just quote the article, I dug through my bookmarks and found a couple other resources I'd like to share.
Early this year, Oracle, the database software maker, acquired Sun for $7.4 billion, leaving Mr. McNealy without a job. He has since decided to aim his energy and some money at Curriki, an online hub for free textbooks and other course material that he spearheaded six years ago.
“We are spending $8 billion to $15 billion per year on textbooks” in the United States, Mr. McNealy says. “It seems to me we could put that all online for free.”
The nonprofit Curriki fits into an ever-expanding list of organizations that seek to bring the blunt force of Internet economics to bear on the education market. Even the traditional textbook publishers agree that the days of tweaking a few pages in a book just to sell a new edition are coming to an end.
The first is the College Open Textbook Community. This is a forum of creators, users, and promoters of digital textbooks. It's not terribly active, unfortunately. My second resource is the Free Digital Textbook Initiative funded by the state of California. Currently the FDTI is focused on high school textbooks, not college, which makes them something of a rarity when it comes to open textbooks. At the FDTI site you'll find a list of free textbooks that meet California's curriculum standards. And my last resource is the Community College Open Textbook Collaborative. The CCOTC is a collection of colleges, governmental agencies, educational nonprofits, and other education-related organizations.