Rice University’s Free College Textbook Initiative

Many people believe it is the tuition that costs the most in college and even though that is usually true, books certainly take their toll on student wallets as well. Books are such an aggravating cost to so many students that many campuses nationwide have serious theft problems in their book stores. However, because of Rice University, some students will not have to pay for their books at all. These types of textbooks will be designed for the most sought after classes and this plan has been labeled Connexions.

The Donors

These books are not free though completely. They are actually being paid for by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Maxfield Foundation, and the 20 Million Minds Foundation. Don’t you love the free market? These huge players will collaborate in March to purchase a College Physics and Introduction to Sociology book. Three more books will be available for online students in the fall.

Big Money

“If we capture just 10 percent of the market with these first five textbooks, an estimated 1 million college students in the United States could save $90 million over the next five years,” says the director and the founder of Connexions-Rice’s Richard Baraniuk.

A Noble Goal

Not only will these books be free, they will be quality and aim to surpass all expectations. These books are intended to be on par with counterparts that cost $150 or more. This is the goal of OpenStax College. This college is a nonprofit but executive David Harris is pushing for them to sign agreements with for-profit companies that will supply testing, homework, tutoring, and other helpful and innovative services that college students are always clamoring for.

It is a Start

This college thrives off the idea that students have to have solid and outstanding textbooks to read and learn from. The text book is the foundation and cornerstone of healthy and productive learning for students, and it is also an extension of the classroom. Free books are just another way to motivate students to learn and to possibly attend college. Perhaps getting through that first college course is enough to proper a student to obtain that degree.

Alter the Book

The good thing for OpenStax is that they are building bridges with several leading companies in an effort to deliver high quality content to the student. OpenStax is fueled by Connexions, which is an open educational initiative fabricated in 1999 that attracts more than 1 million people a month. It seems they have succeeded but they have further growth initiatives and they want to reach and influence a lot more people. Connexions opens the door for anyone to publish, alter, and improve high caliber online text books for educational purposes. That is pretty impressive.

Breaking Down Barriers

Do you only have a smartphone or a tablet? This does not matter, do not fret, OpenStax has enabled these online books to be conducive to all sorts of online devices. This will save students on printing as well. Not only can someone carry a book around without a backpack or even occupying one arm, a frugal student can save a lot of money on printing costs. For instance, a full color 600 page beginning sociology textbook will sell for just $30. That can free up plenty of Frappuccino money.

An Obsolete Excuse

Not only can millions of dollars be saved, you can carry around all your books with your laptop…which you would probably be carrying around anyhow. This technology and sterling idea just saves time and money for everyone involved. Well, there is one drawback for students, the excuse: “I forgot my textbook” will soon be a thing of the past.