Professor Starts eText Company to Electrify Textbook Field

M. Ryan Haley, a University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh economics professor, has started a company he hopes will undercut the academic textbook publishing industry and help college students save a lot of money.

CoreTxt Plus Inc. is distributing a free digital statistics textbook to UW-Oshkosh students.

"We bypassed the middleman, which is the people making all the money off our students," Haley said. "They're putting new editions out every few years now, and it's absurd. Statistics hasn't changed in 150 years."

Haley estimates the e-text has saved UW-Oshkosh students taking the economics and business statistics class $100,000 to $150,000 during the four semesters it has been used.


Professors who use the book can customize about 15% of it to their teaching style and needs, Haley said. Students who are more comfortable with a paper textbook can go to the university's copy center and have one made for about $15, he said.


CoreTxt is looking to sell the book at other schools at a very low cost and to create digital textbooks for other large-enrollment, introductory-level classes, Haley said.


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MIT OpenCourseWare Teams Up with Flat World Knowledge ...

MIT OpenCourseWare teams up with Flat World Knowledge to combine free texts and free course materials

Collaboration among open education innovators creates rich learning opportunities for independent learners.

IT OpenCourseWare and textbook publisher Flat World Knowledge have teamed up to provide free, high-quality textbooks to learners accessing OCW’s innovative OCW Scholar courses. This is among the first collaborations between an OpenCourseWare publisher and an open textbook publisher and highlights the growing opportunity for open education efforts to reinforce one another in creating rich learning experiences.

“Open education is moving from a collection of projects to a robust ecosystem,” said Creative Commons CEO Cathy Casserly. "Pairing Creative Commons licensed open textbooks from Flat World Knowledge with Creative Commons licensed MIT OpenCourseWare offers students access to a rich set of open educational resources (OER) that can be combined and customized for a more effective educational experience. This shows how commercial publishers can supplement and improve OER with quality assurance and platform support. Here, building on ‘free’ and ‘open’ means lower textbook costs for students.”


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Non-U.S. Digital Textbook Initiatives

I am greatly interested in learning about non-U.S. Digital Textbook initiatives. 

To date I've identified only several  projects outside of the United States, that include:

Digital School Program with Open Textbooks Approved by Polish Government!

In South Korean Classrooms, Digital Textbook Revolution Meets Some Resistance

E-books Venture to Target UK Students 

I am interested in any / all non-U.S. Digital Textbook projects at the institutional, local, state, regional, and/or national level(s).

BTW-1: I will be giving two (2) lectures and a workshop for the DILL (Digital Library Learning) program in Parma, Italy ( during the week of September 17 2012. 

BTW-2: I am more than willing to give presentations / workshops in other European venues after September 19 but no later than September 28 2012, if there is adequate interest and support.