THE OPEN SOURCE TEXTBOOK INITIATIVE
The University of Illinois is the recipient of a Congressionally-directed grant, in the amount of $150,000, to "design, create, and implement open-source educational materials for use in introductory college courses." The effort will build on the University's quality faculty and rich history in the utilization of technology, allowing it to develop expertise and capacity in the crafting of open-source textbooks. This project was motivated, in part, as a response to the widely-recognized problem that the costs of textbooks and associated learning materials have challenged college affordability for many students and their parents. It is important that the University of Illinois provide leadership in this emerging form of publishing to the benefit of our current students while ensuring greater access to a broader spectrum of Illinois' population.
It is equally important to ensure faculty success in this initiative. Open-source textbooks allow faculty to customize the learning environment in a way that cannot be done with traditional, printed textbooks. Additionally, this initiative will facilitate collaboration with Illinois community colleges in the creation of an open-source textbook.
The University of Illinois has a long and deserved reputation for the effective use of the Internet in teaching, research and the dissemination of knowledge. A large part of that history rests on the quality of its faculty. Another draws from its expertise in supporting faculty as they publish quality materials in both print and online venues. This project will blend all three strengths—faculty expertise, publishing and the effective use of technology for teaching and learning—into a quality, open-source textbook focusing on a relevant topic of common interest to our three campuses.