Showing 33 posts tagged open source
A company that offered free “alternatives” to three popular college textbooks has rewritten its controversial offerings following a lawsuit by major textbook publishers.
Boston-based Boundless, which has become a darling of the open educational resources movement seen as threatening traditional textbook publishers, offered versions of textbooks that would normally cost scores if not hundreds of dollars. It pitched what it offered as “textbook replacement,” created by essentially reverse engineering popular textbooks. Boundless attracted considerable attention, including an $8 million round of venture capital funding led by Venrock, an investment group started by the Rockefellers. (Boundless currently generates no revenue, its co-founder and CEO, Ariel Diaz, said Thursday.)
The target textbooks included Pearson’s Biology, Cengage’s Principles of Economics and Macmillan Higher Ed’s Psychology. All three companies sued Boundless a year ago in federal court for copyright infringement and false advertising. The publishers accused Boundless of taking “hundreds of topics, sub-topics, and sub-sub-topics that comprise Plaintiffs’ textbooks and copied them into the Boundless texts, even presenting them in the same order, and keying their placement to Plaintiffs’ actual pagination.” Boundless insisted that topics and ideas could not be copyrighted.
» via Inside Higher Ed
As the United States military marches further into the age of networked warfare, data networks and the mobile platforms to distribute and access them will become even more important.
This fall, the (retired) eighth Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff described a potential future of the military that’s founded not only in open source thinking, but in next-generation user interfaces and biohacking straight out of science fiction. If even some of the strategic thinking he described at this year’s Military Open Source Conference in D.C. is applied to how the technology that supports the next generation of war fighters is built, dramatic evolutionary changes could cascade down the entire supply chain of one of the world’s biggest organizations.
In his remarks, James E. “Hoss” Cartwright, a four-star general who retired from the United States Marine Corps in August 2011, outlined a strategic need to make military technology more modular, based upon open standards and adaptable on the battlegrounds of the future.
» via O’Reilly Radar
OpenStax College, the nonprofit, open-access publisher out of Rice University, announced the launch of its first iBook text Monday, becoming the latest publisher to try to make the free-with-paid-options model sustainable. The interactive, iPad-based version of OpenStax’s free-to-read online College Physics text is available through iTunes for $4.99.
OpenStax, which launched earlier this year, is one of several publishers trying to combat the “access gap,” as founder and director Richard Baraniuk calls it. “In part of because of rapidly rising textbook costs, student debt is at an all-time high, and students in some cases are having to drop out of college because the combined effect of the learning materials’ cost and tuition is becoming prohibitive,” Baraniuk said. OpenStax draws from expert-generated, peer-reviewed content to create its free online texts, which cover a variety of introductory college courses. Two online-only textbooks have been published so far, with three more on the way, and the goal is to eventually offer texts for the 25 most popular college courses.
» via Inside Higher Ed
Open source computer, open source mobile phone, open source toothbrush, open source jeans, open source video codec, open source camera, open source beer and even open source toilet paper: these are just a few things you need if you decide to make every aspect of your life open source for a year. A 28-year-old filmmaker from New Zealand living in Berlin is going to try just that.
» via ITworld
Open-source textbooks, long considered a promising way to cut costs but still not widely used, could become more readily available and easily vetted as a University of Minnesota project expands.
Minnesota launched an online catalog of open-source books last month and will pay its professors $500 each time they post an evaluation of one of those books. (Faculty members elsewhere are welcome to post their own reviews, but they won’t be compensated.) Minnesota professors who have already adopted open-source texts will also receive $500, with all of the money coming from donor funds.
The project is meant to address two faculty critiques of open-source texts: they are hard to locate and they are of indeterminate quality. By building up a peer-reviewed collection of textbooks, available to instructors anywhere, Minnesota officials hope to provide some of the same quality control that historically has come from publishers of traditional textbooks.
» via Inside Higher Ed
With an infusion of money from US stimulus spending, groups like The Gates Foundation, and the private sector, the technological landscape in higher education is changing rapidly. In the recent past, classroom tech extended to YouTube videos, bare-bones online courses, or collaborative systems like Moodle; now, the emphasis is all about open courseware and analytics to monitor student behavior.
» via ars technica
You can now get free e-books on iTunes U. Apple announced today that Oxford, Rice, and the Open University have all added digital books to the lectures and other materials traditionally available on the popular educational-content platform.
From Oxford, the new trove of e-books includes Shakespeare’s entire First Folio. The Open University added 100 interactive books, with 200 more to come by the end of the year. Rice published 18 of the most popular textbooks from Connexions, its open-education project, including titles on business and computing.
» via The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription may be required for some content)
Google Wave is far from dead, and developers, early adopters and enterprises will be glad to hear it. Today Google announced it will expand on the code it has already open sourced, building Wave into a functional application that will allow users to run wave servers, host their own waves and build bigger and better applications with the real-time collaboration technology.
“Since the beginning, it has been our vision that the Google Wave protocols could support a new generation of communication and collaboration tools,” engineer Alex North wrote on the Google Wave developer blog.
» via ReadWriteWeb