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Saylor Foundation Kicks Off Open Textbook Challenge

The Saylor Foundation is offering $20,000 to college textbook authors willing to allow free use of their publications by students and educators. The deadline for the first wave of funding is Nov. 1.

The non-profit organization is seeking authors who will agree to license their work under a Creative Commons license, which helps creators retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make various uses of their work.

Prior to acceptance, submitted textbooks will be presented to a team of peer reviewers, who will need to confirm the books meet the criteria for the organization has established.

Eligible textbooks will expand on the more-than 200 free online college-level courses available at Saylor.org. (A list of applicable subjects is available online.) The texts will be available to anyone in the world and freely distributed via various Web platforms. 

"According to the College Board, an average college student at a four-year public university spends over $1,000 in textbooks each year.  That means that in just America alone, the total cost for course materials is in the billions of dollars. Obviously, the yearly global cost is even higher," said Alana Harrington, program director of Saylor Foundation, based in Washington, DC.

Saylor Foundation was established in 1999 by Michael J. Saylor, chairman, CEO, and president, of business intelligence company Microstrategy. The foundation's focus since 2008 has been its Free Education Initiative, through which it is using technology to drive down the cost of education to zero.

For further information, visit the Saylor Foundation's Web site.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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