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OpenStax Launches Learning Platform, Carl Straumsheim, Inside Higher Ed, Jul 11, 2017
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Rice University's OpenStax, which once upon a time was known as a free textbook site called Connexions, has launched Tutor Beta, an online learning platform that will make three courses -- biology, physics and sociology -- available this fall. I'm thinking that the textbook project felt it was missing out on the MOOC phenomenon (MOOCS: still not dead). "Tutor Beta breaks OpenStax’s textbooks into smaller chunks, testing students with short answer and multiple-choice ... [Direct Link]


Source: Getty Images Top Hat Raises $22.5 Million to Go After Pearson, McGraw-Hill, Gerrit De Vynck, Bloomberg, Feb 20, 2017
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Bloomberg offers coverage to this Canadian company that has set up an online bookstore for textbooks. Many of the offerings come from OpenStax (Rice University's former Connexions service) and are offered for free while the rest appear to be authored using TopHat's own authoring tool ad sell for various prices. Presumably the company has something else going for it, or they're just a really swell bunch of guys, to account for $40 million in venture capital funding. Top ... [Direct Link]


OpenStax already saved students $39 million this academic year, Press Release, Rice University, Feb 06, 2016
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The data is coming in, and it is as expected: open access saves students money. "Free textbooks from Rice University-based publisher OpenStax are now in use at one-in-five degree-granting U.S. colleges and universities and have already saved college students $39 million in the 2015-16 academic year." It's the same lesson learned from the BC Campus open textbook project, which has saved more than a million dollars for British Columbia students. The OpenStax library is the ... [Direct Link]


An experiment with the oerpub editor, David T. Jones, The Weblog of (a) David Jones, Aug 04, 2015

The OERPub editor is an interface where you can create your open source textbook on GitHub using a relatively intuitive text editor with various tools. It is in this way a lot like the old Connexions project (now repurposed and called OpenStax), but without the institutional overhead. This post from David Jones recounts some work with the OERPub Editor. Keep in mind that the editor is still in alpha, so a lot of features aren't working yet. [Direct Link]


Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Mar 15, 2015
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If you've never read Philosophical Investigations you owe it to yourself to do so. This is not an easy book; it doesn't have a neat narrative and structure (though Wittgenstein's students tried to create one when assembling the notes from which it is comprised). Take your time with it, read only a few pages a day. Pause to think of the implications of passages like this one: "The more narrowly we examine actual language, the sharper becomes the conflict between it and our ... [Direct Link]


Leveling the higher ed playing field with free educational content, Lynn Russo Whylly, , Feb 18, 2014

Short interview with Rice University's Richard G. Baraniuk, now Rice’s director of the Connexions and OpenStax initiatives. Rice hasn't been in the press much recently in this era of massive open online learning, but the Rice projects played an imporetant early role in the provision of open learning resources, and its authoring system was a significant step forward enabling the development of these resources (in my own mind, I place it alongside Simon Fraser University'... [Direct Link]


In Shadow Of MOOCs, Open Education Makes Progress, David F. Carr, Rosa Luxemberg Siftung, Aug 17, 2013

Longish post summarizing a panel discussion on MOOCs held recently at the annual distance education conference in Madison, Wisconsin. The post is mostly focused on a description of panelist Richard Baraniuk's account of OpenStax, a successor project to Rice University's Connexions project. Also mentioned is a presentation from Ray Schroeder, who claims MOOCs have been held for the last 11 years. [Direct Link]


Coursera Adds 29 Schools, 90 Courses And 3 New Languages To Its Online Learning Platform, Rip Empson, We are the PROJECTS, Feb 21, 2013

EdX is 'going international' with the addition of six new partners, including the University of Toronto and Montreal's McGill University, as well as Rice University (home of Connexions - I wonder whether there will be any tension there). Coursera meanwhile is adding 29 schools and new languages (including French, Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin?) and Italian). That is all. [Direct Link]


OpenStax College, Various authors, Website, Dec 16, 2012

In the wake of Flat World Knowledge's change of business model, Frank Lowney recommends we look at Rice University's  "OpenStax College offers students free textbooks that meet scope and sequence requirements for most courses. These are peer-reviewed texts written by professional content developers. Adopt a book today for a turnkey classroom solution or modify it to suit your teaching approach. Free online and low-cost in print, OpenStax College books are built for today’s ... [Direct Link]


Why Pay for Intro Textbooks?, Mitch Smith, Inside Higher Ed, Feb 07, 2012

Long known for its Connexions service for building open educational reosurces (OERs), Rice University is now moving into the open online etxtbook business. "A free online physics book, peer-reviewed and designed to compete with major publishers’ offerings, will debut next month through the non-profit publisher OpenStax College." [Direct Link]


OCWC Raises $350k – Shouldn't I Be Happy?, David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Mar 02, 2010

David Wiley is wondering whether the Open CourseWare Consortium is good value for money. It just raised $350K from contributing universities. "I have to continue to ask myself... If the hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on determining a governance structure, drawing up incorporation documents, establishing a board of directors and traveling to board meetings, forming subcommittees, setting definitions (that exclude projects like Connexions), etc., had instead been ... [Direct Link]


Learning and the Social Web, Daniel Lemire, Richard Hotte, JETWI, Feb 03, 2010

A special issue of JETWI has been published on Learning and the Social Web. JETWI stands for Journal of Emerging Technologies in Web Intelligence. Papers include A 2-tiers p2p Architecture, an overview of Connexions, and my own paper, New Technology Supporting Informal Learning. Other papers look at web ontologies, e-text watermarking and performance prediction. [Direct Link]


Taking OER remix to new levels: WikiEducator, Connexions and Mediawiki , Wayne Mackintosh, WikiEducator Google Group, Nov 20, 2009

Wayne Mackintosh of WikiEducator announces, "Collaborating with OER projects which subscribe to licenses which meet the requirements of the free cultural works definition, WE aim to provide educators with greater freedom of choice to mix and match the best of two OER worlds, namely "producer-consumer" models with more traditional work flow approaches and commons-based peer production." All of which is fine, except that condition on licenses seems to suggest that commercial use will have to be ... [Direct Link]


Estimating "Reuse / Remix" Value of 7 OER Projects , Jared Stein, Flexknowlogy, Feb 12, 2009

This post would be useful even if it only summarized the seven OER projects, but it also assesses them from the perspective of reuse and remixing. The post was undertaken as a "rogue quest" for David Wiley's OER course. projects summarized include OpenLearn, Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative, MIT OpenCourseWare, Stanford Engineering Everywhere, Open Yale Courses and Rice Connexions (I can't help noticing how these are all branded to major institutions, which creates the (false) ... [Direct Link]


OCWC Logan 08: News and Reflections, Stian Haklev, Random Stuff that Matters, Sept 24, 2008

The proponents o open learning are meeting in Logan, Utah, jut about now, and this is a set of reflections from that conference, including information from OpenCourseWare, Connexions, Open University of the Netherlands, iTines University, Universia, Japanese OCW, Johns Hopkins and Open University UK. [Direct Link]


Rice U. Acquires Rights to Popular Textbook to Offer It Free Online, Jeffrey R. Young, Tidsskriftet for Universiteternes Efter- og Videreuddannelse, Aug 14, 2008

This is interesting on a couple of levels. The first is the obvious precedent that it sets, since the textbook liberated from the publisher is now available, under a Creative Commons license, not only to Rice students, but to all readers. It would be interesting to know what the cost was for the rights (and how long it will take for people to create a wiki version). Second, the book was posted by Rice through its Connexions open content authoring tool, which represents a new use for this now ... [Direct Link]


Open Educational Resources Aid Florida Reading Teachers, Timothy Vollmer, Creative Commons Blog, Jan 29, 2008

This item points us to a useful resource, the Free Reading online early literacy program. The resource is based in a wiki and encourages contributions from volunteers; it is licensed under Creative Commons (By-SA) and so is freely available for anyone to use. As this blog post notes, eSchool News is reporting that "Florida has adopted FreeReading.net on its short list of K-3 supplemental reading programs that schools may use." It is worth noting how open educational resources such as this ... [Direct Link]


SPS Partnering with Connexions for Open-Access Educational Repository, Unattributed, IEEE - Inside Signal Processing E-Newsletter, Dec 21, 2007

This is a good announcement: "IEEE is partnering with open-access educational repository Connexions on a major initiative to develop a critical mass of signal processing educational modules and courses that will be available for free access by anyone, anywhere, at any time." And I hope some of that open content goodness rubs off on IEEE, which is known in these parts mostly for being a real pain to deal with when it comes to copyright. Via Peter Suber. [Direct Link]


Re-Writing for Proseminar, David Wiley, iterating toward openness, Nov 16, 2007

I like student writing, and especially David Wiley's students. Rob Barton asks, "If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to sue, what is its legal standing?" Kristy Bloxham breathlessly states "Connexions isn't just about creating a collection of bite-sized informational chunks. It's also about fostering a quantum leap in the evolution of literacy - something akin to the development of the first written language or the creation of the printing press" (I don't think the ... [Direct Link]


A Typology of Learning Object Repositories, Rory McGreal, Oct 23, 2007

"The state of the art of LORs (Learning Object Repositories) in 2007," writes Rory McGreal, "can be described as functional and growing." Some interesting bits, including a discussion of DRM (when users encounter access restrictions, they just leave) and the reusability paradox (McGreal cites Hodgins's distinction between reuse and repurposing, but it is not clear how this addresses the problem). He also notes some of the criticisms of learning objects, countering with access statistics ... [Direct Link]

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