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Brown Signs California Bill for Free Textbooks

bcrowell (177657) writes | about a year ago

Education 0

bcrowell (177657) writes "California Governor Jerry Brown has signed SB 1052 and 1053, authored by state senator Darrell Steinberg, to create free textbooks for 50 core lower-division college courses.

SB 1052 creates a California Open Education Resources Council, made up of faculty from the UC, Cal State, and community college systems. The council is supposed to pick 50 core courses. They are then to establish a "competitive request-for-proposal process in which faculty members, publishers, and other interested parties would apply for funds to produce, in 2013, 50 high-quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials, meeting specified requirements." The bill doesn't become operative unless the legislature funds it — a questionable process in California's current political situation. The books could be either newly produced (which seems unlikely, given the 1-year time frame stated) or existing ones that the state would buy or have free access to. Unlike former Gov. Schwarzenegger's failed K-12 free textbook program, this one specifically defines what it means by "open source," rather than using the term as a feel-good phrase; books have to be under a CC-BY (or CC-BY-SA?) license, in XML format. They're supposed to be modularized and conform to state and W3C accessibility guidelines. Faculty would not be required to use the free books."

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