Why Do Colleges Need A Law For Free Digital Textbooks When We Have The Internet?

Posted on: October 1, 2012

  • In: Scatterbrained
  • Comments Off on Why Do Colleges Need A Law For Free Digital Textbooks When We Have The Internet?

Very interesting arguments…


A new California law funding the replacement of expensive college textbooks with free digital versions is being hailed as a “big step forward” in the press. California, whose massive university system was influential enough to change the SAT for the entire country, will now fund an inter-university council to produce 50 freely available digital textbooks for common lower division courses–perhaps spelling the end of college textbooks.

Yet, it seems silly that after a decade with near universal access to the sum of all human knowledge, we should be confined to textbooks at all. Textbooks are a disastrously bad way to learn: they assume humans learn through memorizing giant blocks of content; that all students learn at the same chapter-by-chapter speed; and textbooks don’t lend themselves to exploratory learning. Having co-designed and taught a course at the University of California, Irvine, where Internet research replaced the textbook, I know that collaborative, project-based…

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