. A Collection Of The World's Finest Academic Writing. (Updated Every Monday). *or not
The University of Minnesota recently announced
that its College of Education and Human Development has created a searchable online catalog of "open textbooks"
that are reviewed by U of M faculty. The books must be Openly Licensed, complete (not a draft version of the text, or a collection of lecture notes), suitable for use outside of the author's institution, and available in print for a reasonable price, generally less than $40 USD. [more inside]
A free university textbook project Boundless Learning
is being sued jointly by Pearson, Cengage Learning, and Macmillan Higher Education
for attempting to simulate the textbooks required by courses by patching together an array of open texts that cover the material similarly.
For years, my self-education was stupid and wasteful. I learned by consuming blog posts, Wikipedia articles, classic texts, podcast episodes, popular books, video lectures, peer-reviewed papers, Teaching Company courses, and Cliff's Notes. How inefficient!
What if we could compile a list of the best textbooks on every subject? That would be extremely useful.
Less Wrong, a community dedicated to rationality, is compiling a list of The Best Textbooks on Every Subject
Possibly inspired by Al Gore
, Apple announces a new iTunes U app
, textbooks for iBooks 2.0
, and iBooks Author
, so you can create your own interactive books.
How Computers Work.
Recently recovered & scanned in by the good folks at BoingBoing, this was an early textbook explaining the fundamental concepts & inner workings of modern computing systems. I believe a slightly different edition of this book was my own introduction to computers when I was in 6th grade or so, which explains a lot about my approach to using them.
Warning of a "creeping Middle Eastern influence" in our nation's school textbooks,
the Texas State Board of Education will vote today on a resolution
[.pdf] that would prohibit the State of Texas from purchasing textbooks which exhibit a "pro-Islamic/anti-Christian bias
”. Reaction in Texas is mixed
. [more inside]
From the newly launched OpenSource.com
comes a pointer
to the Open College Textbook Act of 2009
. This bill, currently stuck in committee, calls for the adoption of openly licensed and freely distributed electronic textbooks. It is hoped that this will lower costs, level the playing field and even help restore overseas confidence in the U.S. educational system. [more inside]
Revisionaries: How a group of Texas conservatives is rewriting your kids’ textbooks.
The things they teach kids in school today.
Details in the pdf. From science to history to law, evidence of increasing political bias in education.
Open Text Book
: a blog which lists freely-available online textbooks. [more inside]
So you want to write a textbook? Take advice
from N. Gregory Mankiw who got a $1.4m advance
for his book on economics. Try some advice from Garrett Bauman
who says no to originality or David A Rees
who says the opposite. Maybe you just need a dose of reality from the bitter guy
The Problem With Emily Dickenson
"On August 25, six students, along with their school, Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, California and the Association of Christian Schools International filed a federal lawsuit
against the University of California where, according to the LA Times (August 27), admissions officials have been accused of discriminating against high schools that teach creationism and other conservative Christian viewpoints." One of the textbooks used to teach literature has this to say about Mark Twain: "Twain's outlook was both self-centered and ultimately hopeless. Denying that he was created in the image of God, Twain was able to rid himself of feeling any responsibility to his Creator. "
The National Center for Biotechnology Information Bookshelf.
I was searching for an online version of the CD that came with my Neuroscience, 3rd ed.
, et al). What I found was pretty amazing - a full, searchable online version of my book
(albeit the older 2nd ed.), including full-color diagrams
. The NLM
under the NIH
has a division called NCBI
which hosts a horde of other cool books
. [Other aspects of NCBI covered previously; book archive previously on AskMe; more inside]
Free Latin grammars and Texts
are available for budding Latin scholars as well as Law and Med students who want a jump on all the professional lingo. Forum Romanorum
provides very readable texts on Roman culture, life and history. Finally this better than average latin quotes page
is available for the Mefites who just want to be able to spout Latin quotes (or who want to know what Latin quote gasbags are going on about)
The Textbooks of Military Medicine.
An engrossing collection of pdf versions of textbooks used to train military medics. My favorite one is the one on War Psychiatry
, which includes summaries of studies that have been done on veterans of WWI, WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and another section on POWs and their phychiatric reactions (perhaps it might explain some things about Kerry or McCain?). Other topics include Medical Aspects of Harsh Environments
(Vol. 1), Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare
, and Medical Consequences of Nuclear Warfare
(<-- pdf file).
College Textbooks Are Half-Price Overseas.
The big secret is out. As college students hammer into their piggy banks to buy books for their classes, academic publishing avarice has no limits. The results? An unexpected import-export gray market and a possible antitrust violation after previous claims of "high costs," while McGraw Hill profits
. Meanwhile, Bush promises free textbooks to Iraq
Only men bake cookies in school textbooks.
What do dinosaurs, mountains, deserts, brave boys, shy girls, men fixing roofs, women baking cookies, elderly people in wheelchairs, athletic African Americans, God, heathens, witches, owls, birthday cake and religious fanatics all have in common? Trick question? Not really. As we learn from Diane Ravitch's eye-opening book "The Language Police," all of the above share the common fate of having been banned from the textbooks or test questions (or both) being used in today's schools.
Jihad in textbooks:
Textbook Publishers Learn to Avoid Messing With Texas.
"Out of Many," the work of four respected historians, is one of the biggest sellers among American history college textbooks in the United States, but it is not likely to be available to Texas high school students taking advanced placement history. Conservative groups in Texas objected to two paragraphs in the nearly 1,000-page text that explained that prostitution was rampant in cattle towns during the late 19th century, before the West was fully settled.
Math text battles.
Teachers unanimously recommended textbook series that helps students understand mathematical concepts. School Board ignored them and picked Saxon texts that promise to "raise scores on standardized tests." Are we teaching students to understand, or to score high and get politicians off the hook?
Science textbooks are riddled with errors.
It sounds like they've gotten as bad as history textbooks
have been for about thirty years. How the heck does any kid learn anything in school anymore? (Answer: a lot of them don't. And no wonder.)