Free the information and free yourself

I watched the video on Aaron Schwartz the other day. I admit that at first I was not all that interested in watching it but after a short I was I sucked into the story. The part that hit home with me was the point about the access to information, in this case scientific papers, that was controlled by several large entities. I had never really thought about how access was limited to those with subscriptions as I have always been associated with a University or company that had access. It got me to thinking about the access to other information sources, in particular the information in textbooks. These books are “controlled” by a few relatively large companies and students pay through the nose for them. The information in these books though can be found online in many different places and while maybe all of them are not written by research scientists or scientific authors that does not make them less valid. What if you had the capability to allow your students to “create” the course textbook from materials freely available on the web. Would that not foster skills in critical thinking and analysis as they would need to vet the sources? Wouldnt it be great to be free of the costly overrated textbooks that we are chained to now?

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