Bookmarked Where to find open textbooks – BCcampus OpenEd Resources (open.bccampus.ca)
On this site we have a curated collection of open textbooks that align with the top 40 highest enrolled 1st and 2nd year post-secondary subject areas in British Columbia. But there are many other places to find open textbooks that have already been developed and are ready for adaptation or adoption. The following resources contain existing open texts and other teaching resources that are openly-licensed and free for educators to use and adapt to their own needs.
Bookmarked Open Textbooks (OER Commons)
ISKME's digital librarians have curated collections of Open Textbooks and full courses to help leverage OER in your classroom. Whether you are looking for more affordable options for your students, or dynamic content to inspire your own teaching and learning practice, this hub, organized by discipline and provider will help you discover the resources you need at your fingertips.
Read Electric Book Works: Producing The Economy: a case study in multi-format book production by Arthur Attwell (Electric Book Works)
Very rarely, a book-maker gets to add new tricks to the 500-year-old craft of book-making. We got to do that in producing The Economy.
This is an awesome piece with some good overview of dovetailing some of the issues between physical and digital publishing. Some good resources here to check out.

Originally bookmarked on January 28, 2020 at 01:55PM


Notice how print books have remained ad-free in an age when every other available surface carries advertising – something about print books has kept them immune from the disease of advertising.

Annotated on February 04, 2020 at 09:58AM


Books as websites can be public goods in a way that printed books cannot, especially for the poor.

Annotated on February 04, 2020 at 09:59AM


There are other great teams doing similar work: PressBooks uses a WordPress backend for online book and website development. Booktype, which has been around for a long time, also uses a browser-based editing workflow to produce HTML and PDF books. PubSweet is developing a modular editorial workflow, optimised, for now, for journals and monographs. The MagicBook project is being used at New York University. And our Electric Book workflow uses on- and offline static-site generation to make print and digital books.

Nice list of tools for digital publishing for the book space.
Annotated on February 04, 2020 at 10:01AM

Bookmarked Economy, Society, and Public Policy by Wendy Carlin, Samuel Bowles, Margaret Stevens, Eileen Tipoe, the CORE team (Electric Book Works | core-econ.org)

Economy, Society, and Public Policy is intended to provide hands-on experience for students in using data to understand economic questions. For each unit there is an accompanying empirical project called Doing Economics. These address important policy problems using real data. Doing Economics: Empirical Projects is available as a free ebook. We have also produced a guide to Doing Economics for instructors.

The textbook for Marketplace’s Econ Extra Credit program. (#)

Here’s a link to an .epub version and a .mobi (Kindle) version. For those who prefer a physical copy, Oxford has published it.

There are also app versions: Google Play, iBooks, and Windows App.

Read Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories. (nytimes.com)
We analyzed some of the most popular social studies textbooks used in California and Texas. Here’s how political divides shape what students learn about the nation’s history.

📑 Highlights and Annotations

Conservatives have fought for schools to promote patriotism, highlight the influence of Christianity and celebrate the founding fathers. In a September speech, President Trump warned against a “radical left” that wants to “erase American history, crush religious liberty, indoctrinate our students with left-wing ideology.”

I can’t help but think here about a recent “On The Media” episode A Civilization As Great As Ours which highlighted changes in how history is taught in India. This issue obviously isn’t just relegated to populist India.
Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:22AM

Pearson, the publisher whose Texas textbook raises questions about the quality of Harlem Renaissance literature, said such language “adds more depth and nuance.”

If they wanted to add more “depth and nuance” wouldn’t they actually go into greater depth on the topic by adding pages instead of subtly painting it such a discouraging light?

But Texas students will read that some critics “dismissed the quality of literature produced.”

Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:27AM

Publishers are eager to please state policymakers of both parties, during a challenging time for the business. Schools are transitioning to digital materials. And with the ease of internet research, many teachers say they prefer to curate their own primary-source materials online.

Here’s where OER textbooks might help to make some change. If free materials with less input from politicians and more input from educators were available. But then this pushes the onus down to a different level with different political aspirations. I have to think that taking the politicization of these decisions at a state level would have to help.
Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:30AM

How Textbooks are Produced

  1. Authors, often academics, write a national version of each text.
  2. Publishers customize the books for states and large districts to meet local standards, often without input from the original authors.
  3. State or district textbook reviewers go over each book and ask publishers for further changes.
  4. Publishers revise their books and sell them to districts and schools.

This is an abominable process for history textbooks to be produced, particularly at mass scale. I get the need for broad standards, but for textbook companies to revise their books without the original authors is atrocious. Here again, individual teachers and schools should be able to pick their own texts if they’re not going to–ideally–allow their students to pick their own books.
Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:33AM

“The textbook companies are not gearing their textbooks toward teachers; they’re gearing their textbooks toward states,” she said.

And even at this they should be gearing them honestly and truthfully toward the students.
Annotated on January 12, 2020 at 11:39AM

Read Opinion | How Professors Help Rip Off Students by Tim Wu (New York Times)
Textbooks are too expensive.
OER is a nice way to go, but I’ve also mentioned before how to restructure the textbook business so the economic balance is righted.

tl;dr: Professors aren’t doing the learning, so at most they should recommend one or more textbooks, but never require them. The students should choose their own textbooks or otherwise fend for themselves (many are already doing this anyway, so why disadvantage them further with the economic burdens) and direct market forces will very quickly fix the problem of run-away book prices.

Professors should not be middle-people in the purchase decisions of textbooks.

👓 OER as an Institutional Survival Strategy | Inside Higher Ed

Read OER as an Institutional Survival Strategy by Matt Reed (Inside Higher Ed)
The difference between “tuition and fees” and “total cost of attendance.”
A nice highlighting of why administrators should be pushing for OER. Unfortunately lost here is the actual cost of the remainder of the enterprise. Where do these OER resources come from? Who creates them? Who gets paid to create and maintain them? Or quite often, whose resources, time, and effort are being exploited to use them? Additionally, who on the institutional level is being paid to talk about OER, push it, educate educators about it, and help professors adopt it?

While it’s readily transparent how his accounting works in this limited example, there’s a lot more accounting and transparency that needs to be taken into account.

Let’s not take the cost and just shift it to others who are also ill-equipped to handle it.

👓 University issues statement on textbook pricing | Louisiana.edu

Read University issues statement on textbook pricing (University of Louisiana at Lafayette)
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette issued the following statement regarding the pricing of textbook and software materials needed for Accounting 201 and 202. It can be attributed to Dr. Jaimie Hebert, the University’s provost. “We want to make it very clear to our students and the public that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette makes every effort to ensure that the materials required for courses are affordable. “We welcome the opportunity to clarify some confusion that resulted from the pricing of materials for Accounting 201 and 202.

👓 University’s $999 online textbook creates confusion and outrage | Inside Higher Ed

Read University's $999 online textbook creates confusion and outrage (Inside Higher Ed)
An online textbook priced at almost $1,000 has infuriated students trying to navigate an already confusing textbook marketplace, but Louisiana-Lafayette officials insist they had "good intentions."
This reporting doesn’t drill in far enough. Surely there are a few dozen textbooks that cover all of the same material that are roughly equivalent. What are those textbook prices? What about OER textbooks and their relative prices? Why is the department or even the professors doing anything but recommending textbooks? Why aren’t the students given the freedom to choose their own textbooks?

📑 Anomie – Wikipedia | Annotations about economics

Annotated Anomie (Wikipedia)
Anomie (/ˈænəˌmi/) is a "condition in which society provides little moral guidance to individuals".[1] It is the breakdown of social bonds between an individual and the community, e.g., under unruly scenarios resulting in fragmentation of social identity and rejection of self-regulatory values.
I can’t help but see this definition and think it needs to be applied to economics immediately. In particular I can think of a few quick examples of economic anomie which are artificially covering up a free market and causing issues within individual communities.

College Textbooks

Here publishers are marketing to professors who assign particular textbooks and subverting students which are the actual market and consumers of those textbooks. This causes an inflated market and has allowed textbook prices to spiral out of control.

The American Health Care Market

In this example, the health care providers (doctors, hospitals, etc.) have been segmented away from their consumers (patients) by intermediary insurance companies which are driving the market to their own good rather than a free-er set of smaller (and importantly local) markets that would be composed of just the sellers and the buyers. As a result, the consumer of health care has no ability to put a particular price on what they’re receiving (and typically they rarely ever ask, even more so when they have insurance). This type of economic anomie is causing terrific havoc within the area.

(Aside: while the majority of health care markets is very small in size (by distance), I will submit that the advent of medical tourism does a bit to widen potential markets, but this segment of the market is tiny and very privileged in comparison.)

Others

In a non-economic setting it also seems to be highly applicable to social media silos like Facebook, Twitter, et al as they break social norms. I’ll have to circle back to write a longer essay about this with regard to the IndieWeb movement.