Thursday Threads: Learn to Code in 2012, Issues with Apple’s iBooks Author, SOPA/PIPA Are Dead

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The internet has survived the great SOPA blackout, and we’re still talking about the fallout. Apple made a major announcement of plans to support textbooks on iPads, but there are concerns about the implementation. But the first story this week is about a free service geared towards teaching people how to program with weekly lessons throughout 2012.

Federal Textbook Disclosure Rules Now Law

The fact that the Higher Education Opportunity Act (Public Law 110-315) — otherwise known as HEOA — was signed into law last year is probably not big news to anyone. One of the parts of the bill that I have been following and commented on here in DLTJ is the textbook disclosure rules. I haven’t posted follow-up commentary here because I’ve been expecting that the U.S. Department of Education will be forthcoming with new regulations regarding the implementation of the disclosure rules. As it turns out, a sentence was added into the legislation between the time I last read it closely and when it finally was made law: “No Regulatory Authority- The Secretary shall not promulgate regulations with respect to this section.” It would appear the language of the law stands on its own.

Textbook Affordability at the Student Success Assessment Summit

I had the pleasure of presenting on a panel at the Ohio Student Success Assessment Summit this morning on the topic of textbooks and open educational resources. Specifically, I was talking about the plans and desires of the University System of Ohio to help faculty help students with the escalating of costs of learning materials. My talk (below and on SlideShare) gives a background of the problem in the context of the State of Ohio, principles upon which a working plan for statewide support is forming, and strategic themes

Drive-Thru Textbook Buy-Back

I continue to be astonished by how efficient the used textbook market has become. This week, at the end of the spring quarter at Ohio State University, a drive-thru textbook buy-back service popped up on the site of a long-closed gas station. It is a tent on a parking lot that truly does allow someone to drive through to drop off books (see the third image down). The operation is run by Budgetext, a national textbook wholesaler from Fayetteville, AR. I spoke with company representative Jerry Mohr about the service.

Flat World Knowledge and U.S. Gov’t on Open Access Course Materials

The sand is really starting to shift under the traditional textbook providers as the open course content movement shows signs of, well, movement. Already this year there are two events that point to shifts in how instructors and students can shortcut the complex ecosystem of textbooks as we know it today. First, Flat World Knowledge — a provider of open access course materials — launched earlier this year. Second, new legislation has been proposed in the U.S. Congress to mandate that some agencies use their funding to produce open access course materials.

Flat World Knowledge Launches

Clarification Offered for “Technology: The textbook of the future” in Nature

A recent issue of Nature published an article by Declan Butler called “Technology: The textbook of the future” included a paragraph about OhioLINK’s exploration of digital textbooks:

Ongoing tests of CourseSmart e-textbooks by the University System of Ohio show that they reduce costs — the average US student forks out some $900 annually on print textbooks — and students using them perform just as well as when using paper versions, says Peter Murray, deputy head of new service development at the Ohio Library and Information Network in Columbus, Ohio, which assists the University System of Ohio on the project.

Drupal as the Foundation of Ohio Textbook Portal

At the end of last month, the Ohio Board of Regents announced the University System of Ohio Textbook Portal. The service has been talked about in the media, in trade publications, and in numerous blog postings. Enough time has passed now that word has gotten out, and I won’t be taking any of the chancellor’s thunder about the project. I did the back-end development work for the portal and wrote this document as an introduction to the project for our development team and anyone else interested about the project.

Final Version of the Higher Education Reauthorization Act Leaves Textbook Provisions Intact

Earlier this week U.S. Senate passed its own version of the “College Opportunity and Affordability Act of 2007″ (H.R.4137 to amend and extend the Higher Education Act of 1965, and for other purposes) by unanimous consent (hence no recorded vote) and appointed members of a conference committee to resolve differences with the U.S. House version. The conference committee report was published yesterday1. This afternoon the House completed a roll-call vote approving the conference version. If I remember my civics class correctly, the bill now goes to the president for a signature. The conference report had to be approved by the Senate, which it did late Thursday night. Although the White House previously opposed the bill, the Associate Press reports that President Bush is expected to sign the bill.

Colorado Community College System Announces Flat-price Electronic Textbooks from Pearson Education

Colorado Community College System (CCCS) signed an agreement with Pearson Education for flat-rate access to Pearson textbook content online. News of this comes by way of a link left by Lorcan Dempsey in a comment to an earlier DLTJ entry that pointed to a blog entry by Michael Cairns talking about yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article about custom textbooks, which in turn pointed to a blog posting by Alison Pendergast excerpting a Chronicle of Higher Education Wired Campus story about this agreement. (Whew! It was a long trail, but well worth it!) Key points in the agreement: