Open source textbook bill passes CA Legislature

A group of bills that would create an internet library of free electronic textbooks was passed by the state  Lawmaking assembly  last week an effort targeted at assuaging the weight of rising textbook costs for scholars at California’s public postsecondary establishments.

English: Photo of California Attorney General ...
English: Photo of California Attorney General (and former California Governor) Jerry Brown (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Senate bills 1052 and 1053, which are waiting for approval by Gov.  Jerry Brown, legislate the development of an open-source library of electronic textbooks for fifty of the nation’s most well liked courses.  The bills were introduced in  Feb  by state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and has been officially advocated by the  University of California.  The opensource library will permit scholars to download textbooks for free or pay around $20 for a tough copy.  Dean Florez, president and CEO of the 20 Million Minds Foundation, who helped craft the bill for State Senate President Pro Tem Darryl Steinberg, says the content within the digital library would also be interactive, with links to chat rooms also known as “open study halls.” Both bills received unanimous approval in the state Senate last  Fri.  but met up with more opposition in the Assembly, where the vote was 63 popular, sixteen opposed and one not recorded.  Delegates  from the governor’s office claimed Brown hasn’t indicated whether he will be able to sign the bills.

“This is a great victory for scholars and middle class families battling with the continually increasing costs of higher education,” Steinberg recounted in an announcement released  Fri. .

“This is an important step towards using technology to chop costs for scholars while reinforcing the standard of further education in California.” UC Berkeley professor of physics Richard Muller, who teaches the well-liked campus course Physics for Future Presidents employing a textbook he wrote himself, stated that he is worried about the standard of open-source material.  “The books I pick I consider the finest that I will get for what I teach,” Muller expounded.

“Sure, it is possible to get some books for $20, but is that worth doing if the textbook you are going to get is mediocre?” Still, UC Berkeley sophomore Shannon Axelrod, who said she spends around $300 for textbooks per semester, is keen to see a broader book accessibility for scholars on account of the bills.  “Even if somebody wants to read a textbook that is not for their class, they’d be well placed to do it,” Axelrod recounted.  “It ties into the entire notion of Berkeley as an open campus.”.

A similar effort is underway in the state of Washington, led by the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges, which seeks to create an Open Course Library that will include inexpensive online educational content.

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