Tuesday, April 05, 2011

How to Avoid the High Cost of Textbooks

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Flat World Knowledge for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
I remember having to buy textbooks when I was in college.  Even back then it was hard to believe the books we needed for class could cost so much.  And things haven't gotten better.   According to The College Board, students spent an average $1137 in 2010-2011 on textbooks and supplies.  $1137!  According to the Department Of Education, textbooks cost almost as much as tuition and fees (72%) for 2 year community college students. This means 42% of college costs for these students go to textbooks.  42%!  Thankfully, where Cory goes to school, they have a textbook rental program that is built into the cost of tuition.  Then again, maybe he's spending that much, and we just don't know it because it's rolled into the overall cost of going to school.

With the ever-increasing cost of tuition, fees, and everything else associated with getting an education, wouldn't it be nice to find a way to save some money?  Of course it would, and that's why I'm excited about the FREE online textbooks offered by Flat World Knowledge. It's not just about the cost savings, though that would be worth a lot on its own.  Instructors can choose and adopt a book for their course, and they have the ability to make the book their own by rearranging chapters or deleting them altogether to suit the actual class.  They can replace the text-book examples with their own real-life examples.  The books offered by Flat World fall under a Creative Commons License that allows educators to make all those changes and more.   But just because they have open licensing, does not mean these text books are inferior to the more expensive ones.  They're written by leading experts and are peer-reviewed, edited, and highly developed. They're supported by test banks, .ppt notes, instructor manuals, print desk copies, and knowledgeable service representatives.  BUT, instead of costing over $100, these books are available FREE online.
The teacher then shares a link to the book with the students in the class, and the students can access that book online for FREE.  There are also various other options for accessing the books, ranging from black and white soft covers to full-color editions, to audio versions.  Students can choose to print .pdf files of individual chapters and can add flash cards, study guides, and online practice quizzes.  There is something for every learning style, at prices significantly less than traditional textbook prices, $35 or less.  The choices are left to the students.  They can also choose to participate in social learning on the Flat World site, studying with other students, sharing notes, etc.
Since Spring 2009, Flat World’s books have been adopted by 1600+ professors in 900+ schools. That’s equal to over 115,000 students.  It sounds like it's time for more students to join the Textbook Rebellion and bring reasonable textbook costs to their schools.  If the idea of saving money on textbooks sounds good to you, be sure to Visit their site and request more info.
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