Sunday, December 21, 2008

Richard Baraniuk on a textbook-free classroom

Rice University professor Richard Baraniuk, founder of Connexions, an open-source curriculum center, talks at TED in 2006 about the process of building it.

Baraniuk visits the concept of "on-demand" publishing, where publishing a book without the middle man of the publisher saves the end-consumer (he has an example of an engineering textbook that costs $22, whereas a published version of it would cost over $122). So in other words, a teacher could generate their own content (or take some from Connexions or another open-source repository) and find their own publisher, and in the process, save money.

He also discussed the obvious concern that comes up in a Wikipedia-world -- that of reliability. Connexion has built in certain oversights that ensure quality. Easy for him to claim, not as easy to verify, but the fact it is a conscious issue for him is reassuring.

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