In the pursuit of higher education we vigilantly pursue every venue and opportunity — my mother and father regularly told me that you couldn’t put a price on good health or an education because education is one thing that cannot be taken away from you.

One of the most painful part of every university semester was when I was standing in line at the university bookstore, dreading the dollar amount that the cashier was going to read off to me.

I never added up the total of the books as I went along because I knew that I had to buy the books that were required for the courses — so why torture myself as I went along? What if there were an alternative to the hundreds of dollars of textbooks — such as a place where you can get free textbooks?

The project will create open content electronic textbooks that will be freely available from a website. Distribution will also be possible via paper, CD, or DVD. Our goal initially is to focus on content development and Web distribution, and we will work with relevant authorities to facilitate dissemination by other means when bandwidth is unavailable or inadequate. The goal is to make textbooks available to the many who cannot afford them.

The books offered by the Global Text Project are few in number at the moment — you can see the full list of books here. The good news is that as far as I can tell, that list regularly grows.

My first, and really only, concern about this project was that it was going to somehow develop into a Wikipedia nightmare with the textbooks being full of possible errors left and right. These fears were quickly extinguished when I saw their Quality page.

There are multiple steps involved in making sure that every Global Text is a quality product. The Quality advisers come from various universities and make it their job to ensure that getting the information for free does not mean that you are getting poor quality information.

Perhaps the existence of the Global Text Project will end up lowering the retail price of the currently overpriced book market. There’s no reason a book about Algebra II should cost as much as it does — as though intensive research goes into reinventing the subject every year.

If we want to ensure that all children, regardless of financial ability, are able to have a good education — the Global Text Project is a positive step towards helping them get the knowledge they need.

7 Comments

  1. Gordon —

    The whole thing runs on the uga.edu domain — I want to know their direct financial and social interest in sponsoring the project. I don’t know why the University of Georgia aren’t branding any of the pages since they run the project.

    I looked at some of the sample texts. There aren’t many there. It looks and feels like Wikipedia to me.

    1. I’m guessing they don’t brand the pages because the project is more important than the university hosting it?

      The good news is that even if it feels like Wikipedia, it is not since it has professionals actively editing it and not letting just anyone have a hand at it.

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