California Lawmakers Create Open Source Digital Library and 50 Free Textbooks

e-learning-laptop-booksGovernor Jerry Brown of California signed the bill to create a series of 50 new digital textbooks for use in the state's universities. Furthermore, the resultant textbooks will be created in XML for maximum compatibility and licensed under Creative Commons. A second bill was also signed into law dictating the creation of the California Digital Open Source Library to host them.

The textbook bill would "require the California Open Education Resources Council to determine a list of 50 lower division courses in the public postsecondary segments for which high-quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials would be developed or acquired." The council is to solicit bids to produce these textbooks in 2013. The bill also makes it clear that the council has the option to use "existing high-quality digital open source textbooks and related materials" if an existing e-text is found to fit the requirements.

Sadly there are still challenges ahead for struggling students. The textbook bill makes no promises that course instructors are required to use the new materials. United States college teachers are notorious for a lack of standardization and granted wide latitude in selecting what materials they require of students. It is also not uncommon for instructors to change their requirements from semester to semester. None the less, the creation of textbooks overseen by a committee of educators and available freely online is a huge boon to the world, even if it may not directly benefit California students.

Source: Ars Technica

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