TextbooksThis morning, we were so excited to announce the first round winners and accepted texts of the Saylor Foundation’s Open Textbook Challenge!

We were utterly impressed by each of the submissions we received in this first wave of our Challenge, and found that three of the texts really fit our course needs. We’re thrilled to continue our mission to drive down costs of education for students – and to add to the wealth of free content already available on the web. So, without further adieu, I will introduce you to our new textbooks – and their respective authors!

Our first Open Textbook Challenge winner submitted two books that were subsequently accepted for use. Dr. Kenneth Kuttler is a professor at Brigham Young University, where he teaches courses that employ his two texts Elementary Linear Algebra and Linear Algebra. Both texts have been available online for some time, but each was previously held under a copyright. Now, thanks to Dr. Kuttler, both have been relicensed under a CC-BY license and are now available on Saylor.org for students and educators around the world. Elementary Linear Algebra is now part of Saylor.org’s  MA211: Linear Algebra and Linear Algebra is now used in Saylor.org’s  MA212: Linear Algebra II.

Kuttler looks forward to not only helping students out by providing the texts for free, but he also hopes that by openly licensing his texts, he will help other educators. “These textbooks could save students lots of money,” said Kuttler. “But, another advantage of books in this form is that they are easy to improve. I think there is no such thing as a perfect book, only convergence toward perfection which is achieved more easily with this format than with the traditional approach of multiple editions.”

Our second Open Textbook Challenge winner echoed Kuttler’s sentiments when I exchanged emails with him last week. “Open textbooks will have a positive impact on most students but also to teachers who will be able to contribute to existing open textbooks and improve them over the years,” said Dr. Olivier Bonaventure, author of Computer Networking: Principles, Protocols and Practice. Dr. Bonaventure is a Professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. He also serves as the Education Director of ACM SIGCOMM. Computer Networking has already been used by several universities around the world, including UCL, and will be used as part of Saylor.org’s CS402: Local Area Networks.

Bonaventure is particularly inspiring: when we emailed him to let him know his text had been accepted, he asked, in lieu of personally accepting the $20,000 award, that we instead transfer the money to the Fondation Louvain, a non-profit foundation that is managed by UCL. In doing so, these funds will be used to develop other openly licensed textbooks. We’ll write a bit more on this encouraging effort later!

If you missed out on the press release emailed out earlier today, you can read the full announcement here. (Haven’t signed up for our mailing list? Click here to do so now!) And, if you’ve written a textbook or course materials – or know someone that has – check out our Open Textbook Challenge page. We’ve extended the Wave II deadline and will now be accepting texts through May 31, 2012!

Links to the Textbooks:

Computer Networking: Principles, Protocols and Practice

Elementary Linear Algebra 
Solutions Manual

Linear Algebra
Solutions Manual

The image “Books (74/365)” used in this post came from Flickr user LifeSupercharger and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license

4 thoughts on “Open Textbook Challenge Wave I Winners Announced!!

  1. This is great news, I am glad to hear it. Now the next problem is to unite all of these creative commons textbooks on algebra along with the wikipedia articles. I think that will be the next logical step.

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