Category Archives: News & Research

Indivisible Guide and Toolkit

Indivisible Guide (pdf)

Indivisible Tool Kit (pdf)

Excerpt: “Welcome! You’re receiving this toolkit because you, we, and thousands of groups across the country are ready to stand indivisible. Groups are meeting to plan the resistance against Trump’s agenda, and making plans to visit the offices of their Members of Congress.”

About Indivisible
When we put the Indivisible Guide online as a poorly formatted, typo-filled Google Doc, we never imagined how far and fast it would spread. Since December, the guide has been downloaded over a million times. More than 4,500 local groups have signed up to resist the Trump agenda in nearly every congressional district in the country. What’s more, you all are putting the guide into action—showing up en masse to congressional district offices and events, and flooding the congressional phone lines. You’re resisting—and it’s working.

We are absolutely floored. It may have started as a tweeted Google Doc, but now (and sorry if this sounds corny) we feel an extraordinary sense of responsibility to help this movement as best we can. To do this, the Indivisible Guide team is starting a (nonprofit) organization, and we want to tell you why.

Bottom line, we want to do two big things better:

Demystify congressional advocacy. We get hundreds of questions every day about what Congress is doing, how to organize locally (see the toolkit!), and how to advocate in different situations. We’re going to start sending out timely updates and resources on what’s going on in Congress and how you can best organize, make your voice heard, and influence your members of Congress.

Support the community of local groups putting the Indivisible Guide into action. We want to provide shared tools to help groups organize events, communicate with each other, and share best practices and resources. This also means spotlighting local successes and supporting a sense of a shared purpose. You can see that shared purpose already forming—just look at this beautiful movement on Rachel Maddow.

We are already doing some of this! We now have over seventy (70!) volunteers working early mornings, late nights, weekends, and sick days on everything that you see the Indivisible Guide team do—email responses, congressional updates, the group directory, the website, our social media, and a bunch more. It’s been an amazing labor of love by a stellar group of, yeah we’ll say it, patriots. But we want to do more.

As we form a nonprofit, we want to make something clear: we’re not the leaders of this movement. The last few weeks have made it abundantly clear that local groups are taking ownership of the resistance to Trump’s agenda themselves. You all are the leaders—we’re just here to help.

We’re still developing our long-term strategy, and we want to hear from you about what you need and want. But going forward, you’ll see a lot more from us in those two buckets of work above—we want to demystify the heck out of Congress and build a vibrant community of angelic troublemakers.

In solidarity,

Ezra Levin
President of the Board

Leah Greenberg
Vice President of the Board

Angel Padilla
Secretary of the Board

Sarah Dohl
Board Member

Matt Traldi
Treasurer of the Board

Textbook Equity Adopts Moodle for LMS (Jan 2016)

Got Moodle(r)*?  We do, and it is working nicely, thank you.  We adopted it for our online learning management platform.

Today I’m happy to announce that Textbook Equity, the company that grew out of Santa Clara University’s CAPE 2010 program, is expanding it offerings to include exams created from our free and open licensed textbooks, as well as online courses based on the same textbooks. These additional revenues will enable our mission to continue to provide free, open licensed, and inexpensive college-level textbooks.

We have four exams currently open for enrollment.  Fees are waived for educators, CAPE cohorts,:and the curious student.  Just write for instructions from your .edu email.

Pre-Med Anatomy and Physiology, based on our “Accounting and Physiology” textbook.  This has exams chapter by chapter, drawing from our question bank of over 500 questions.

  • Anatomy and Physiology: Vol 1 of 3 (Chapters 1 -11)
  • [In development]: Anatomy and Physiology: Vol 2 of 3 (Chapters 12 – 21)

Accounting (500+ questions)

  • Vol 1 Accounting Principles: A Business Perspective, Financial Accounting (Chapters 1 – 11)
  • Vol 2. Accounting Principles: A Business Perspective, Financial Accounting (Chapters 12 – 18)

Yoga School Exams (all of life should not be purely academic).

  • Human Biology Exam for Yogis (Anatomy & Physiology)
  • [Build in progress] Yoga Pose Identification – English and Sanskrit
  • [In process] The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: The Book of the Spiritual Man”
  • [In process]

If we can be of service in your education needs just let us know.  If interested in supporting our cause, let us know that too!

Best regards,
-Bill Buxton
Founder and CEO

*Moodle is an open source learning management platform, commonly called an LMS.

Education Domains

These the permitted domains to self-register for online exams at our Testing Site

Domain   Type   Sponsoring Organization   edu dom

Source: concatenated to country codes.

.ac country-code Network Information Center (AC Domain Registry) c/o Cable and Wireless (Ascension Island)
.ad country-code Andorra Telecom
.ae country-code Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA)
.aero sponsored Societe Internationale de Telecommunications Aeronautique (SITA INC USA)
.af country-code Ministry of Communications and IT
.ag country-code UHSA School of Medicine
.ai country-code Government of Anguilla
.al country-code Electronic and Postal Communications Authority – AKEP
.am country-code Internet Society
.an country-code University of Curacao
.ao country-code Faculdade de Engenharia da Universidade Agostinho Neto
.aq country-code Antarctica Network Information Centre Limited
.ar country-code Presidencia de la Nación – Secretaría Legal y Técnica
.as country-code AS Domain Registry
.asia sponsored DotAsia Organisation Ltd.
.at country-code GmbH
.au country-code .au Domain Administration (auDA)
.aw country-code SETAR
.ax country-code Ålands landskapsregering
.az country-code IntraNS
.ba country-code Universtiy Telinformatic Centre (UTIC)
.bb country-code Government of Barbados Ministry of Economic Affairs and Development Telecommunications Unit
.bd country-code Ministry of Post & Telecommunications Bangladesh Secretariat
.be country-code DNS Belgium vzw/asbl
.bf country-code ARCE-AutoritÈ de RÈgulation des Communications Electroniques
.bg country-code Register.BG
.bh country-code Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)
.bi country-code Centre National de l’Informatique
.bj country-code Benin Telecoms S.A.
.bl country-code Not assigned
.bm country-code Registry General Ministry of Labour and Immigration
.bn country-code Brunei Darussalam Network Information Centre Sdn Bhd (BNNIC)
.bo country-code Agencia para el Desarrollo de la Información de la Sociedad en Bolivia
.bq country-code Not assigned
.br country-code Comite Gestor da Internet no Brasil
.bs country-code The College of the Bahamas
.bt country-code Ministry of Information and Communications
.bv country-code UNINETT Norid A/S
.bw country-code Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA)
.by country-code Reliable Software Inc.
.bz country-code University of Belize
.ca country-code Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) Autorite Canadienne pour les Enregistrements Internet (ACEI)
.cat sponsored Fundacio puntCAT
.cc country-code eNIC Cocos (Keeling) Islands Pty. Ltd. d/b/a Island Internet Services
.cd country-code Office Congolais des Postes et Télécommunications – OCPT
.cf country-code Societe Centrafricaine de Telecommunications (SOCATEL)
.cg country-code ONPT Congo and Interpoint Switzerland
.ch country-code SWITCH The Swiss Education & Research Network
.ci country-code INP-HB Institut National Polytechnique Felix Houphouet Boigny
.ck country-code Telecom Cook Islands Ltd.
.cl country-code NIC Chile (University of Chile)
.cm country-code Cameroon Telecommunications (CAMTEL)
.cn country-code China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC)
.co country-code .CO Internet S.A.S.
.coop sponsored DotCooperation LLC
.cr country-code National Academy of Sciences Academia Nacional de Ciencias
.cu country-code CENIAInternet Industria y San Jose Capitolio Nacional
.cv country-code Agência Nacional das Comunicações (ANAC)
.cw country-code University of Curacao
.cx country-code Christmas Island Internet Administration Limited
.cy country-code University of Cyprus
.cz country-code CZ.NIC, z.s.p.o
.de country-code DENIC eG
.dj country-code Djibouti Telecom S.A
.dk country-code Dansk Internet Forum
.dm country-code DotDM Corporation
.do country-code Pontificia Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra Recinto Santo Tomas de Aquino
.dz country-code CERIST
.ec country-code NIC.EC (NICEC) S.A.
.edu sponsored EDUCAUSE
.ee country-code Eesti Interneti Sihtasutus (EIS)
.eg country-code Egyptian Universities Network (EUN) Supreme Council of Universities
.eh country-code Not assigned
.er country-code Eritrea Telecommunication Services Corporation (EriTel)
.es country-code
.et country-code Ethio telecom
.eu country-code EURid vzw/asbl
.fi country-code Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority
.fj country-code The University of the South Pacific IT Services
.fk country-code Falkland Islands Government
.fm country-code FSM Telecommunications Corporation
.fo country-code FO Council
.fr country-code Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération (A.F.N.I.C.)
.ga country-code Agence Nationale des Infrastructures Numériques et des Fréquences (ANINF)
.gb country-code Reserved Domain – IANA
.gd country-code The National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC)
.ge country-code Caucasus Online
.gf country-code Net Plus
.gg country-code Island Networks Ltd.
.gh country-code Network Computer Systems Limited
.gi country-code Sapphire Networks
.gl country-code TELE Greenland A/S
.gm country-code GM-NIC
.gn country-code Centre National des Sciences Halieutiques de Boussoura
.gov sponsored General Services Administration Attn: QTDC, 2E08 (.gov Domain Registration)
.gp country-code Networking Technologies Group
.gq country-code GETESA
.gr country-code ICS-FORTH GR
.gs country-code Government of South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands (GSGSSI)
.gt country-code Universidad del Valle de Guatemala
.gu country-code University of Guam Computer Center
.gw country-code Autoridade Reguladora Nacional – Tecnologias de Informação e Comunicação da Guiné-Bissau
.gy country-code University of Guyana
.hk country-code Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Ltd.
.hm country-code HM Domain Registry
.hn country-code Red de Desarrollo Sostenible Honduras
.hr country-code CARNet – Croatian Academic and Research Network
.ht country-code Consortium FDS/RDDH
.hu country-code Council of Hungarian Internet Providers (CHIP)
.id country-code Perkumpulan Pengelola Nama Domain Internet Indonesia (PANDI)
.ie country-code University College Dublin Computing Services Computer Centre
.il country-code Internet Society of Israel
.im country-code Isle of Man Government
.in country-code National Internet Exchange of India
.int sponsored Internet Assigned Numbers Authority
.io country-code IO Top Level Domain Registry Cable and Wireless
.iq country-code Communications and Media Commission (CMC)
.ir country-code Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences
.is country-code ISNIC – Internet Iceland ltd.
.it country-code IIT – CNR
.je country-code Island Networks (Jersey) Ltd.
.jm country-code University of West Indies
.jo country-code National Information Technology Center (NITC)
.jobs sponsored Employ Media LLC
.jp country-code Japan Registry Services Co., Ltd.
.ke country-code Kenya Network Information Center (KeNIC)
.kg country-code AsiaInfo Telecommunication Enterprise
.kh country-code Telecommunication Regulator of Cambodia (TRC)
.ki country-code Ministry of Communications, Transport, and Tourism Development
.km country-code Comores Telecom
.kn country-code Ministry of Finance, Sustainable Development Information & Technology
.kp country-code Star Joint Venture Company
.kr country-code Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA)
.kw country-code Ministry of Communications
.ky country-code The Information and Communications Technology Authority
.kz country-code Association of IT Companies of Kazakhstan
.la country-code Lao National Internet Committee (LANIC), Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications
.lb country-code American University of Beirut Computing and Networking Services
.lc country-code University of Puerto Rico
.li country-code Universitaet Liechtenstein
.lk country-code Council for Information Technology LK Domain Registrar
.lr country-code Data Technology Solutions, Inc.
.ls country-code National University of Lesotho
.lt country-code Kaunas University of Technology
.lu country-code RESTENA
.lv country-code University of Latvia Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science Department of Network Solutions (DNS)
.ly country-code General Post and Telecommunication Company
.ma country-code Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications (ANRT)
.mc country-code Gouvernement de Monaco Direction des Communications Electroniques
.md country-code MoldData S.E.
.me country-code Government of Montenegro
.mf country-code Not assigned
.mg country-code NIC-MG (Network Information Center Madagascar)
.mh country-code Office of the Cabinet
.mil sponsored DoD Network Information Center
.mk country-code Macedonian Academic Research Network Skopje
.ml country-code Agence des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication
.mm country-code Ministry of Communications, Posts & Telegraphs
.mn country-code Datacom Co., Ltd.
.mo country-code Bureau of Telecommunications Regulation (DSRT)
.mobi sponsored Afilias Technologies Limited dba dotMobi
.mp country-code Saipan Datacom, Inc.
.mq country-code MEDIASERV
.mr country-code Université des Sciences, de Technologie et de Médecine
.ms country-code MNI Networks Ltd.
.mt country-code NIC (Malta)
.mu country-code Internet Direct Ltd
.museum sponsored Museum Domain Management Association
.mv country-code Dhiraagu Pvt. Ltd. (DHIVEHINET)
.mw country-code Malawi Sustainable Development Network Programme (Malawi SDNP)
.mx country-code NIC-Mexico ITESM – Campus Monterrey
.my country-code MYNIC Berhad
.mz country-code Centro de Informatica de Universidade Eduardo Mondlane
.na country-code Namibian Network Information Center
.nc country-code Office des Postes et Telecommunications
.ne country-code SONITEL
.nf country-code Norfolk Island Data Services
.ng country-code Nigeria Internet Registration Association
.ni country-code Universidad Nacional del Ingernieria Centro de Computo
.nl country-code SIDN (Stichting Internet Domeinregistratie Nederland)
.no country-code UNINETT Norid A/S
.np country-code Mercantile Communications Pvt. Ltd.
.nr country-code CENPAC NET
.nu country-code The IUSN Foundation
.nz country-code InternetNZ
.om country-code Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA)
.pa country-code Universidad Tecnologica de Panama
.pe country-code Red Cientifica Peruana
.pf country-code Gouvernement de la Polynésie française
.pg country-code PNG DNS Administration Vice Chancellors Office The Papua New Guinea University of Technology
.ph country-code PH Domain Foundation
.pk country-code PKNIC
.pl country-code Research and Academic Computer Network
.pm country-code Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération (A.F.N.I.C.)
.pn country-code Pitcairn Island Administration
.post sponsored Universal Postal Union
.pr country-code Gauss Research Laboratory Inc.
.ps country-code Ministry Of Telecommunications & Information Technology, Government Computer Center.
.pt country-code Associação DNS.PT
.pw country-code Micronesia Investment and Development Corporation
.py country-code NIC-PY
.qa country-code Communications Regulatory Authority
.re country-code Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération (A.F.N.I.C.)
.ro country-code National Institute for R&D in Informatics
.rs country-code Serbian National Internet Domain Registry (RNIDS)
.ru country-code Coordination Center for TLD RU
.rw country-code Rwanda Information Communication and Technology Association (RICTA)
.sa country-code Communications and Information Technology Commission
.sb country-code Solomon Telekom Company Limited
.sc country-code VCS Pty Ltd
.sd country-code Sudan Internet Society
.se country-code The Internet Infrastructure Foundation
.sg country-code Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) Pte Ltd
.sh country-code Government of St. Helena
.si country-code Academic and Research Network of Slovenia (ARNES)
.sj country-code UNINETT Norid A/S
.sk country-code SK-NIC, a.s.
.sl country-code Sierratel
.sm country-code Telecom Italia San Marino S.p.A.
.sn country-code Universite Cheikh Anta Diop NIC Senegal
.so country-code Ministry of Post and Telecommunications
.sr country-code Telesur
.ss country-code Not assigned
.st country-code Tecnisys
.su country-code Russian Institute for Development of Public Networks (ROSNIIROS)
.sv country-code SVNet
.sx country-code SX Registry SA B.V.
.sy country-code National Agency for Network Services (NANS)
.sz country-code University of Swaziland Department of Computer Science
.tc country-code Melrex TC
.td country-code Société des télécommunications du Tchad (SOTEL TCHAD)
.tel sponsored Telnic Ltd.
.tf country-code Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération (A.F.N.I.C.)
.tg country-code Cafe Informatique et Telecommunications
.th country-code Thai Network Information Center Foundation
.tj country-code Information Technology Center
.tk country-code Telecommunication Tokelau Corporation (Teletok)
.tl country-code Ministry of Transport and Communications; National Division of Information and Technology
.tm country-code TM Domain Registry Ltd
.tn country-code Agence Tunisienne d’Internet
.to country-code Government of the Kingdom of Tonga H.R.H. Crown Prince Tupouto’a c/o Consulate of Tonga
.tp country-code Retired
.tr country-code Middle East Technical University Department of Computer Engineering
.travel sponsored Tralliance Registry Management Company, LLC.
.tt country-code University of the West Indies Faculty of Engineering
.tv country-code Ministry of Finance and Tourism
.tw country-code Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC)
.tz country-code Tanzania Network Information Centre (tzNIC)
.ua country-code Hostmaster Ltd.
.ug country-code Uganda Online Ltd.
.uk country-code Nominet UK
.um country-code Not assigned
.us country-code NeuStar, Inc.
.uy country-code SeCIU – Universidad de la Republica
.uz country-code Computerization and Information Technologies Developing Center UZINFOCOM
.va country-code Holy See Secretariat of State Department of Telecommunications
.vc country-code Ministry of Telecommunications, Science, Technology and Industry
.ve country-code Comisión Nacional de Telecomunicaciones (CONATEL)
.vg country-code Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of the Virgin Islands
.vi country-code Virgin Islands Public Telcommunications System c/o COBEX Internet Services
.vn country-code Ministry of Information and Communications of Socialist Republic of Viet Nam
.vu country-code Telecom Vanuatu Limited
.wf country-code Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération (A.F.N.I.C.)
.ws country-code Government of Samoa Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade
.한국 country-code KISA (Korea Internet & Security Agency)
country-code National Internet Exchange of India .edu
country-code Not assigned .edu
.қаз country-code Association of IT Companies of Kazakhstan
.срб country-code Serbian National Internet Domain Registry (RNIDS)
.бел country-code Reliable Software Inc.
country-code Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) Pte Ltd .edu
.мкд country-code Macedonian Academic Research Network Skopje
.中国 country-code China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC)
.中國 country-code China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC)
.భారత్ country-code National Internet Exchange of India .edu.భారత్
.ලංකා country-code LK Domain Registry .edu.ලංකා
.ભારત country-code National Internet Exchange of India
.भारत country-code National Internet Exchange of India
.укр country-code Ukrainian Network Information Centre (UANIC), Inc.
.香港 country-code Hong Kong Internet Registration Corporation Ltd.
.台湾 country-code Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC)
.台灣 country-code Taiwan Network Information Center (TWNIC)
.мон country-code Datacom Co.,Ltd
.الجزائر country-code CERIST .edu.الجزائر
.عمان country-code Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) .edu.عمان
.ایران country-code Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM) .edu.ایران
.امارات country-code Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) .edu.امارات
.پاکستان country-code Not assigned .edu.پاکستان
.الاردن country-code National Information Technology Center (NITC) .edu.الاردن
.بھارت country-code National Internet Exchange of India .edu.بھارت
.المغرب country-code Agence Nationale de Réglementation des Télécommunications (ANRT) .edu.المغرب
.السعودية country-code Communications and Information Technology Commission .edu.السعودية
.سودان country-code Sudan Internet Society .edu.سودان
.عراق country-code Not assigned .edu.عراق
.مليسيا country-code MYNIC Berhad .edu.مليسيا
.澳門 country-code Not assigned
.გე country-code Information Technologies Development Center (ITDC)
.ไทย country-code Thai Network Information Center Foundation
.سورية country-code National Agency for Network Services (NANS) .edu.سورية
.рф country-code Coordination Center for TLD RU
.تونس country-code Agence Tunisienne d’Internet .edu.تونس
.ελ country-code Not assigned
.ਭਾਰਤ country-code National Internet Exchange of India
.مصر country-code National Telecommunication Regulatory Authority – NTRA .edu.مصر
.قطر country-code Communications Regulatory Authority .edu.قطر
.இலங்கை country-code LK Domain Registry .edu.இலங்கை
.இந்தியா country-code National Internet Exchange of India .edu.இந்தியா
.հայ country-code Internet Society
.新加坡 country-code Singapore Network Information Centre (SGNIC) Pte Ltd
.فلسطين country-code Ministry of Telecom & Information Technology (MTIT) .edu.فلسطين
.xxx sponsored ICM Registry LLC
.ye country-code TeleYemen
.yt country-code Association Française pour le Nommage Internet en Coopération (A.F.N.I.C.)
.za country-code ZA Domain Name Authority
.zm country-code Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA)
.zw country-code Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ)

Altschuler, "Inside the academy, time to ask some difficult questions" (July 2015)

(The ConversationRepublished verbatim by permission (CC BY-ND):  “Inside the academy, time to ask some difficult questions” , July 16, 2015)

Glenn Altschuler, Cornell University

These days, public discussion of colleges and universities in the United States – and there is a lot of it – is almost exclusively concerned with rising costs, the job prospects of graduates, the contributions of colleges and universities to economic growth, and funding by the states and the federal government.

Although this attention devoted to the economics of higher education is understandable, it has crowded out a discussion of equally fundamental, and perhaps even more fundamental, issues.

At or near the top of this list, I would argue, are: whom should we teach? What should we teach? How should we teach?

The observations (and assertions) that follow are meant to stimulate a conversation about these questions among professors, administrators and students inside the academy – and citizens who are (or should be) interested in the role of colleges and universities as engines of equal opportunity, empowerment and social progress.

Who gets access?

Let’s consider the first question: whom should we teach?

Colleges and universities, especially elite institutions, can and should do a lot more to enroll academically talented students from lower- and middle-class families. A study completed in 2003 by the Consortium on Financing Higher Education found that 36% of all highly-qualified high school seniors (with excellent grade point averages and combined SAT scores over 1200) come from the top 20% of families as measured by income. Fifty-seven percent of undergraduates at selective colleges and universities, however, come from this group.

Wealthy American families, then, are overrepresented on these campuses by 21%.

Financial aid, provided on the basis of need, is of course essential to addressing this imbalance. But so is outreach to underrepresented students and their families, many of whom do not know much about financial aid, in the form of loans and grants, for which they might be eligible.

As is evident in the above details, greater access to higher education will benefit not only the individuals who matriculate but American society as a whole.

Making the curriculum matter

So, the next question is, what should we teach?

The underlying structure of the curriculum in higher ed has remained the same over the years.
Mad African!: (Broken Sword), CC BY-NC

Although the content of individual courses has undergone constant change, the underlying structure of the curriculum at many liberal arts colleges and universities has remained the same for decades.

It almost always consists of three parts: a major, which is fulfilled with 10 or 12 courses within a single discipline or under a multidisciplinary umbrella; general education, which often takes the form of distribution requirements, two or three courses in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences; and electives, which are meant to give students opportunities to pursue intellectual interests or acquire “practical” skills.

As currently constituted, in my view, the curriculum serves the interests of departments and individual faculty members better than it does students.

The major may be best suited to the very few undergraduates who intend to get a PhD in the field. Many majors, especially those in the humanities and “soft” social sciences, have little or no structure, apart from a required introductory course or courses.

Nor is there clear and convincing evidence that focused study in a single discipline (whether it is in a traditional of a vocational field) has a substantial and enduring impact on subject matter mastery, problem-solving, analytical thinking, or reading and writing skills.

General education requirements are even more problematic. Over the years, as Derek Bok, the former president of Harvard University, has observed in his book, the aims attached to general education requirements have increased. They now include global competence, quantitative skills, ethics and respect for diversity as well as “literacy” in science, government and literature.

At the same time, dare I say it, many departments have developed “watered-down” general education courses for undergraduates who want to get distribution requirements “out of the way.”

Electives, of course, are left to the students – and virtually nothing is known about how they use their freedom of choice.

Are they exploring genuine interests and acquiring practical skills, Bok asks, or are they taking easy courses to raise their grade point average and pursue extracurricular activities in their spare time? Do they value the electives they have taken more than courses in the major or those taken to fulfill their distribution requirements?

Transforming teaching

And finally, how do we teach?

Digital technologies have already had a substantive impact on pedagogy. Online presentations, assigned as homework, followed by interactive “flipped classroom” sessions that build on information that has already been absorbed, and use rapid feedback and collaborative problem-solving, are replacing traditional lectures.

This transformation in teaching methods has only just begun.

The transformation also provides an occasion to evaluate the extent to which colleges and universities are effectively nurturing “critical thinking,” ie, the capacity to evaluate the quality and reliability of information and the claims based on it.

Measurements to assess critical thinking, including the Collegiate Learning Assessment, which assesses improvement in writing skills and critical thinking across four years of college, and National Survey of Student Engagement, which gauges how often students experience rapid feedback, interactive discussion and collaborative problem-solving, are in their infancy. Their findings about critical thinking are not encouraging and should be a basis for discussions about pedagogy.

Making education relevant

Those discussions, in my judgment, might include ways to counter the erosion of public confidence in science and scientists.

They might also address the claims recently made by Kyla Ebels-Duggan, a professor of philosophy at Northwestern University (in The Aims of Higher Education: Problems of Morality and Justice, edited by Harry Brighouse and Michael McPherson, 2015) that 21st-century undergraduates do not defer to the moral authority of tradition (or “Great Books”) and are far more likely to embrace moral relativism (ie, my opinion is as good as his or her opinion).

Better on offense than defense, they often exhibit confidence in their own criticism of a claim and an unwillingness to advance a claim of their own.
To counter these tendencies, Ebels-Duggan proposes that teachers cultivate the intellectual virtues of charity and humility.

More controversially, although she knows she will be accused (by proponents of the pedagogy of “content neutrality” and professorial “objectivity”) of politicizing the classroom, she recommends that instructors make explicit their admiration for values such as respect for human rights; equal protection under the law; and the obligation to help those in serious need.

By putting on display ideas such as these – ideas they respect – and explaining why they respect them, Ebels-Duggan emphasizes, teachers might be able to break through their students’ intuition (or belief) that much of what is taught in college is irrelevant to them and the world in which they live.

Her passion serves as a reminder that who we teach, what we teach, and how we teach matters.

Glenn Altschuler is Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies and Dean of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions at Cornell University.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Why publish an open-access textbook [about educational psychology?]

Excerpted from “Educational Psychology” by Drs. Seifert and Sutton  (p. 8) ( CC BY)

(Red and bold added by Textbook Equity)

Why publish an open-access textbook about educational psychology?

Why publish an open-access textbook about educational psychology? I have taught educational psychology to future teachers for over 35 years, during which I used one or another of the major commercial textbooks written for this subject. In general I found all of the books well-written and thorough. But I also found problems:

(1) Though they differed in details, the major textbooks were surprisingly similar in overall coverage. This fact, coupled with their large overall size, made it hard to tailor any of the books to the particular interests or needs of individuals or groups of students. Too often, buying a textbook was like having to buy a huge Sunday newspaper when all you really want is to read one of its sections. In a similar way, commercial educational psychology textbooks usually told you more than you ever needed or wanted to know about the subject. As a format, the textbook did not allow for individualization.

(2) Educational psychology textbooks were always expensive, and over the years their costs rose faster than inflation, especially in the United States, where most of the books have been produced. Currently every major text about educational psychology sells for more than USD 100. At best this cost is a stress on students’ budgets. At worst it puts educational psychology textbooks beyond the reach of many. The problem of the cost is even more obvious when put in worldwide perspective; in some countries the cost of one textbook is roughly equivalent to the average annual income of its citizens.

(3) In the competition to sell copies of educational psychology textbooks, authors and publishers have gradually added features that raise the cost of books without evidence of adding educational value. Educational psychology publishers in particular have increased the number of illustrations and photographs, switched to full-color editions, increased the complexity and number of study guides and ancillary publications, and created proprietary websites usable fully only by adopters of their particular books. These features have sometimes been attractive. My teaching experience suggests, however, that they also distract students from learning key ideas about educational psychology about as often as they help students to learn.

By publishing this textbook online with the Global Textbook Project, I have taken a step toward resolving these problems. Instructors and students can access as much or as little of the textbook as they really need and find useful. The cost of their doing is minimal. Pedagogical features are available, but are kept to a minimum and rendered in formats that can be accessed freely and easily by anyone connected to the Internet. In the future, revisions to the book will be relatively easy and prompt to make. These, I believe, are desirable outcomes for everyone! – Dr. Kelvin Seifert

How OER Texts Save Many $$$

This is an example of cross-mapping real world course syllabi to an open textbook, demonstrating that the open textbook covers all or most of the course content, thus permitting easy adoption and saving students thousands of dollars.

We compared Rutger University’s undergraduate Biology Course syllabi with our open biology textbooks. (See tables below). Rutger’s Bio 101 closely matches College Biology Vol 3 while their Bio 102 closely matches College Biology Vol 1.

Bio 101 & 102’s assigned textbook (Fall 2013) is Biology: Concepts & Investigations by M. Hoefnagels (2nd edition, 2011) Originally $225, now $39.51 used, rent $26.00 (

The current edition is Biology: Concepts & Investigations by M. Hoefnagels (3rd edition, 2011) $211. Rent $94. (

We’re convinced that the best choice is College Biology where the PDF is free and the print format per volume1 is only $39.20.

Why rent when you can own? Why pay 6 to 7 times more for the same content?

Depending up the next class-assigned textbook, saving range from $39.00 to $172 per student, which amounts to thousands of dollars per semester per college.

BTW – Textbook Equity’s Editors will customize any of our open textbooks to map to your class syllabus, create color textbooks, and add your own material. Output to PDF and print. (Example cross-mapping analysis below.)

Also See Textbook Equity College Services.
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Here’s the Rutger’s example:

Rutger University’s undergraduate biology syllabi cross-mapped to College Biology’s open licensed textbook volumes 1and 3.

Bio 101 Syllabus Topic College Biology’s Matching Chapter(s)
Week 1 Overview/Excretory System Chapter 41: Osmotic Regulation and Excretion
Week 2 Respiratory/Circulatory System Chapter 39: The Respiratory System / Chapter 40: The Circulatory System
Week 3 Nervous System/Senses Chapter 35: The Nervous System/Chapter 36: Sensory Systems
Week 4 Reproduction/ Embryonic Develop Chapter 43: Animal Reproduction and Development
Week 6 Immune System Chapter 42: The Immune System
Week 7 Plant Anatomy & Function Chapter 30: Plant Form and Physiology
Week 8 Plant Reproduction/Development Chapter 32: Plant Reproduction
Week 9 Plant Diversity Chapter 25: Seedless Plants, Chapter 26: Seed Plants
Week 10 Fungi Chapter 24: Fungi
Week 11 Animal Diversity Chapter 27: Introduction to Animal Diversity
Week 13 Population Ecology Chapter 45: Population and Community Ecology
Week 14 Communities & Ecosystems Chapter 46: Ecosystems
Week 15 Biodiversity Chapter 47: Conservation Biology and Biodiversity


Bio 102 Syllabus Topics College Biology’s Matching Chapter(s)
Week 1 Overview/Chemistry of Life Unit 1. The Chemistry of Life (Chap 1, 2, 3)
Week 2 Cells Unit 2. The Cell (Chap 4,5)
Week 3 The Energy of Life Chapter 6: Metabolism, Chapter 7: Cellular Respiration
Week 4 Photosynthesis Chapter 8: Photosynthesis
Week 6 Mitosis & Cell Cycle Chapter 10: Cell Reproduction
Week 7 Meiosis & Sexual Reproduction Chapter 11: Meiosis and Sexual Reproduction
Week 8 DNA & Gene Function Chapter 14: DNA Structure and Function
Week 10 Patterns of Inheritance Chapter 12: Mendel’s Experiments and Heredity, Chapter 13: Modern Understandings of Inheritance
Week 11 DNA Technology Chapter 17: Biotechnology and Genomics
Week 12 From the Big Bang to Life on Earth Chapter 20: Phylogenies and the History of Life
Week 13 Macro and Microevolution TBD
Week 14 Adaptation & Speciation Chapter 18: Evolution and the Origin of Species
Week 15 Animal Behavior TBD

Durbin, Franken Introduce Legislation to Help Make College Textbooks More Affordable

Opensourceway / CC BY-SA
Opensourceway / CC BY-SA

This idea here seems to be that the educational institutions will create the textbooks, using federal grant money, and possibly the books stores will provide the digital and printer services. Might be some role for the libraries as well. – Editors


[WASHINGTON, DC] [November 14, 2013] – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Al Franken (D-MN) today introduced legislation designed to help students manage costs by making high quality textbooks easily accessible to students, professors and the public for free.  This bill, known as the Affordable College Textbook Act, would create a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education, working with professors and other organizations, [emphasis added] to create and expand the use of textbooks that can be made available online and licensed under terms that grant the public the right to freely access, customize and distribute the material, also known as “open textbooks”.


Bill Summary & Status 113th Congress (2013 – 2014) S.1704

Repost:"Giving it away for free: sharing really is caring in the open education movement"

Giving it away for free: sharing really is caring in the open education movement

By Ruth Jelley, La Trobe University and Christopher Scanlon, La Trobe University

The New York Times dubbed 2012 the year of the MOOC. And for many, the seemingly unstoppable rise of Massive Open Online Courses – courses which are offered for free by prestigious universities – is where the discussion about open education begins and ends.

But MOOCs are only the most visible part of a larger movement, one that is slowly but surely transforming the way we do education and think about educational products and services.

Welcome to the world of open educational resources (OER).

OERs include everything from peer-created and edited texts and ebooks to sound recordings and videos that are licensed for open use and re-use. Where publishers normally impose hefty fees (mainly paid for by students) for the use of their products and services, and impose restrictions on how content can be used, the ethos of the open educational resource movement is share and share alike.

OERs are created in open formats rather than those that are owned by large companies and distributed under open licence regimes such as Creative Commons.

Rather than locking users into a particular format or a particular publishing ecosystem, such as iTunesU, the OER movement encourages experimentation and reuse via the open web. More particularly, the OER movement seeks nothing less than a revolution in breaking down the barriers to sharing knowledge, especially those barriers that separate the developed and developing worlds.

It sounds good, but is OER pie-in-the-sky thinking? Why would anyone spend their valuable time developing content only to give it away? Surely only the most utopian optimist high on the fumes of the internet could imagine that OERs will have a life.

There are many reasons why the future is bright for open educational resources. The model of commercial publication of academic research, where publicly funded research is locked up and sold by commercial publishers, is increasingly coming under challenge. And it’s not just a motley collection of annoyed academics, either.

Research bodies in countries including Australia the US and the UK are insisting on open access to research as a condition of their funding. If widely adopted, developing open research resources won’t just be good practice. Increasingly it will be a requirement of funding.

For example, in October last year, the Australian Research Council announced that it was looking at mandating open access for scientific research that it funds.

Similarly, this year US Office of Science and Technology Policy Director John Holdren issued a memo to ensure that Federal agencies with more than US$100 million in research and development expenditures to make the results of federally funded research freely available to the public within one year of publication.

The move towards open access isn’t restricted to the education sector. The Australian Attorney-General has endorsed a recommendation that Australian government agencies license their Public Sector Information under a Creative Commons attribution licence.

While the flurry of activity around open access might seem new, OER isn’t new at all. It’s simply a new term for a set of practices and ideas that are as old as Socrates. What we now call “higher education” has for most of human history been based on a gift economy where intellectuals and those with intellectual training essentially gave away the fruits of their labour — or did so without expectation of gain.

That started to change in the latter half of the twentieth century when education and educational services and products came to be regarded as products, much like any other. Ever since, the costs of education have skyrocketed, putting quality education out of reach for all but the most privileged.

The OER movement seeks to use the internet to reverse this trend. It’s about returning us to an intellectual culture that more closely resembles gift exchange.

Australian institutions have jumped on the open education bandwagon but not in a way that embraces these aspirations – we’re still looking at it as an education-as-service model. In doing so, we could be at risk of closing ourselves off from the real purpose of the open education movement.

Ruth Jelley is affiliated with the Open Education Working Group at La Trobe University and is employed by the Faculty of Business Economics and Law to investigate OER implementation.

Christopher Scanlon does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation.
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