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Boundless To Add Open Textbooks

Boundless, which already publishes free textbooks that use repurposed free and open source material, is now allowing educators to publish their open educational resource (OER) textbooks via its authoring platform. The company said it is working with a dozen authors to add their OER textbooks to the library, including books on music theory, computer science and microeconomics.

Currently, all content is available free on the Boundless Web site. The company converts those textbooks into "premium" offerings by adding quizzes, flashcards and other digital content and providing instructors with class management tools for assigning quizzes and readings and receiving data about student usage. These are priced for students starting at $19.99 and are free for faculty. The individual authors of the new offerings may choose to make their content available in both formats too.

The new additions will work in Boundless' reader, which is optimized for Web and mobile use. Readers, both faculty and students, will be encouraged to provide feedback and comments on the new content.

  A Boundless page as seen on an iPad.
A Boundless page as seen on an iPad.

"Until now there hasn't been a great way to publish educational content online. Authors have options of PDFs, epubs and blogs, but none of these make the content simple to share or search," said Ariel Diaz, Boundless' founder and CEO. Now, he added, authors will be able to publish their content in the Boundless e-reader "for millions of students and educators to use."

One author, Catherine "Kitty" Schmidt-Jones, said she is "excited" to put her open music theory modules onto the platform in order to get in front of students and educators. "Before publishing my music theory modules as open resources, I was a music teacher in small-town Illinois," Schmidt-Jones said. "The Internet has given me a voice as a teacher that the traditional publishing industry would not."

Schmidt-Jones also submits her content to Openstax CNX, an OER resource that allows users to download OER content in PDF and epub formats.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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