By Ana Tintocalis
California is one step closer to bringing free online textbooks for state college students, a huge step for the open education movement. A historic bill on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown would give college professors, and thereby students, an option to use free online, customizable curriculum rather than print textbooks, for which students spend upwards of $1,000 per year. The measure establishes the first free digital library for the University of California, the California State University and California Community College systems.
If the bill passes, students of 50 most popular lower-division courses could access the content through an online portal at little or no cost. Faculty members would be able to remix and repurpose the digital content as they see fit, rather than having to rely on print textbooks.