I’ve written before about Boundless Learning (see posts here and here), which is at the forefront of the “open educational resources” movement that is challenging the textbook cartel by providing low-cost or free content online as an alternative to $100-300 college textbooks. Here’s an update from Tech Crunch:
Boundless has been met with a number of lawsuits from top textbook publishers and is currently trying to resolve these differences in court. But, in the meantime, it’s pressing on and is today officially adding a familiar name — some legitimacy — to its open textbooks through Creative Commons.
The startup has released 18 open textbooks that features content licensed by Creative Commons, under the very same license used by Wikipedia, in fact. The 18 textbooks cover college subjects that range from accounting and biology to sociology and economics, and with content now licensed under Creative Commons, Boundless is assuaging some of the concern that teachers might feel over using open textbooks — as compared to the more “trusted” (or controlled) content from the familiar names.
Here’s a list of the new Boundless textbook collection. Here are the Table of Contents for 29 chapters of Principles of Economics material, with content from government resources, open educational repositories, and other openly licensed websites. The free online content contained in the 29 chapters has been be re-organized by Boundless to provide an alternative textbook to best-selling textbooks by Greg Mankiw (Principles of Micro and Principles of Marco). For finance, 21 chapters of free, online content can be used as alternatives to best-selling Principles of Finance texts by Stephen Ross and Eugene Brigham.
How will Boundless make money from its free online content? According to Tech Crunch, “To monetize, Boundless will likely turn this into a freemium model, adding optional premium features on its own platform and in its textbooks, which will help students study more effectively (get smarter, etc etc.) and will be available for a cost.”
Q: Could the Boundless model have the same effect on traditional textbook publishers as Wikipedia had on encyclopedia publishers? It’s looking more likely all the time, at least for many of the “principles” level textbooks.