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Contributors to a new Web site called Connexions are leveling the academic playing field for people around the world. Connexions allows teachers and professors to write and upload chunks of information called "modules"[1] to the Web site so that potential students around the world can access them–all for free. The modules can then be pieced together in any combination to create a whole textbook that can be modified to suit each classroom or individual's needs. If a student wants to print the final 'textbook', they can do it through a third-party printing Web site like Qoop for about $24, which is considerably less than the average $50-$90 textbook price tag.

Web sites like Connexions are making it easy for academics to indulge in their passion for teaching and sharing their knowledge without all the hassle of going through publishers. Even when authors get their textbooks published, it takes a long time to make changes necessary to keep the textbooks up-to-date with current developments.

"For example, to get Pluto out of all of our nation’s textbooks will take a decade," said Connexions founder professor Richard Baraniuk, of Rice University. "By then, Pluto will be reinstated as a planet, so we’ll have to put it back in."

An academic database like Connexions keeps textbooks fresh and current, without passing the price of revisions onto students. Just like CampusBooks.com, Connexions is another way for students to get an education without paying the high prices.

Students can use CampusBooks.com in conjunction with Connexions to buy books that may be discussed in the module lectures. For example, a student who is using an Introduction to American Literature module can compare prices for the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on Campusbooks.com and end up paying less than they would pay at the college bookstore.

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Source:

1. Rawlinson , Linnie. ” Throw away your school books: here comes textbook 2.0.” CNN.com 08 NOV 2007 09 NOV 2007. <http://edition.cnn.com/2007/TECH/11/08/connexions.learning/>



 

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