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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

Topic: e-textbooks

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July 28, 2014 at 5:00 AM

Free textbooks: New website helps profs find best e-books and videos

The OPEN Washington website

The OPEN Washington website

Building on several years of work with free textbook development, the state’s community college board has created a website that highlights the best available free- and low-cost textbooks and other educational resources from around the country.

The website is called OPEN Washington, and its aim is to help professors and college instructors find free or low-cost online textbooks, videos, curricula and other resources from a wide variety of sources.

It was created by the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

Along with everything else in higher education, textbooks have zoomed in price in recent years; some studies suggest that the average college student spends as much as $800 to $1,000 per academic year buying textbooks. And students are often stuck with books that they can’t sell back to the bookstore because versions change from year to year.


Comments | More in News | Topics: e-textbooks, higher ed, textbooks

March 10, 2014 at 1:02 PM

How do you save money on textbooks?

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Michael Osbun / Op Art

The high cost of college textbooks is nothing new, but technology could be making it easier for students to pursue cheaper alternatives.

On Sunday, reporter Katherine Long wrote about how college students in Seattle and Tacoma are pushing their professors to seek out free or low-cost online versions of textbooks.

Several readers offered their own advice on how to avoid paying full price for textbooks. From online commenter “drthompson”:

“To save students money, I required the previous edition of the text that can often be found on eBay or Amazon for less than $20 rather than the $140 new version. So many basic topics don’t really change, so there’s no reason to line the pockets of the publishers simply because they decide to ‘update’ textbooks every two years!”


Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: e-textbooks, higher ed, textbooks

December 12, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Are textbooks obsolete? In some classes here, they soon may be

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Michael Osbun / Op Art

With the growing amount of educational materials offered on the Internet for free, are textbooks on their way out?

They soon may be. In the Lake Washington School District, for example, educators are investigating whether they can replace their high-school science texts with e-books built from free materials available online.

Up until recently, district officials didn’t think there was enough online curriculum to replace traditional textbooks, said Linda Stevens, director of curriculum and assessment.

Now, the district believes online materials may be equivalent or superior to what’s in print — and cheaper, too.


Comments | More in News | Topics: e-textbooks, Lake Washington School District, Linda Stevens