New Web Site Lists Free Online Textbooks

A new Web site, Open Educational Resources Center for California, brings together information on free and open textbooks and course materials in one location. Though the Web site was designed for California’s community-college faculty members, it could be a useful resource for anyone trying to find learning materials in the public domain.

California Assembly Bill 2261, which was signed into law in the fall of 2008, authorized the center as a statewide pilot program for California’s 112 community colleges “to provide faculty and staff from community-college districts around the state with the information, methods, and instructional materials to establish open education resource centers.” The center is managed by Foothill College, in Los Altos Hills, Calif.

The center was designed to give California’s community-college professors and deans “a way to save time and frustration by pulling together all the information they need if they want to embrace open textbooks on their campus,” said Judy Baker, director of the center and dean of the college’s distance-learning program.

The site links to more than 400 open textbooks and peer reviews of open textbooks. Ms. Baker said the center provided materials as well as instructions on how to use them. When traffic to the site increases, she said, she plans to add discussion forums.




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