Rice University’s OpenStax College has unveiled the first iBooks version of a popular textbook. College Physics is based on an open source book of the same title. The publisher also announced plans to create versions of more textbooks specifically for iPad users.
OpenStax College has made a history by publishing the first ever iBooks textbook based on an open source material. The new version of College Physics is dynamic and interactive to facilitate students’ immersion into the material. It comes with interactive features like videos, graphics, demos, and quizzes. Although the book is based on an open source content, each copy will not be downloaded for free but the tag price is still minimal at $4.99.
The iBooks textbook version aims at two goals. First, it will be the first step to make open education resources (OER) from OpenStax available to numerous students who use iPad. Second, revenues from selling the iBooks textbook versions will be used to fund the conversion of more titles in the future for the popular device.
The new version of College Physics, as mentioned, facilitates a more engaging and full screen experience. It was intentionally sprinkled with photographs, videos, diagrams, and other features that are uniquely interactive. Students can possibly dive into any image especially those with full motion demonstrations, interactive captions, and embedded quizzes. And because the digital books will be used in iPad, users can simply flip through the pages through sliding a finger across the screen. Moreover, students can highlight selected text, make online searches for more information, and take notes.
OpenStax College’s iBook textbook versions are seen to set a new benchmark for OER. According to the publisher’s editor-in chief, David Harris, the digital books come with very low price tags to make them still affordable to students. Mr. Harris added that by choosing to use the iBook versions of textbooks, students can easily recoup the cost of buying iPads through the significant savings on buying reference materials.
The publisher has also announced plans to create and release more iBook versions of other popular and widely used textbooks. It is initially targeting textbooks that are required in heavily attended courses in college. To date, three titles are set to be completed and released in early 2013. Those are: Anatomy and Physiology, Concepts of Biology, and Biology. Sample chapters of these books are set to be made available via iBookstore beginning this fall.
OpenStax College has started generating funds for its endeavor to add more titles to its soon-to-expand catalog. It is set to develop iBook versions of popular open source textbooks in subjects like chemistry, economics, history, algebra, and psychology. Its version of College Physics is now available for download at iBookstore, which can be easily accessed through iPad.
Image by MinivanNinja