Magazine article Information Today

EdBooks Promotes Sustainability and Affordability in Open Education Publishing

Magazine article Information Today

EdBooks Promotes Sustainability and Affordability in Open Education Publishing

Article excerpt

* EdBooks (, a relative newcomer based in Oklahoma City, is challenging the parameters of open education and affordable publishing through its flexible, high-quality, and sustainable learning solutions. When we hear a phrase such as "open education," we may wrongly think of unstructured content and unreliable sources, which leads to questions of educational value, credibility, and stability. Thwarting these concerns, EdBooks has created an open model for general education that is content-rich and sustainable while remaining financially viable: Quality + Affordability + Flexibility = Life-Learning for the 21st Century.

Unlike typical textbook publishers, EdBooks concentrates on affordable, flexible, and open content that is designed for learner engagement. Three main factors set EdBooks apart from its competition when it comes to 21st-century academic publishing. At the forefront are its lesson design and content development. Both are initiated at the concept level, which means content areas are "broken down into their constituent concepts and create self-contained, stand-alone lessons for each concept," according to EdBooks' CEO Rob Reynolds. The stackability of these individualized lessons--its Stackable Lessons model ( able-lessons)--provides an unparalleled flexibility, allowing curricula to be highly specialized and customized. This method ensures that the lessons are optimally relevant to the needs of the learner.

The second factor relates to the Stackable Lessons technology. Stackable Lessons are versatile, allowing instructors to formulate their curricula materials for optimized student engagement while avoiding the course-textbook silos often found in traditional publishing's textbook catalogs. These catalogs rigidly associate a designated text with a specific course. A detailed general-education taxonomy structure is behind Stackable Lessons. These taxonomies were developed to allow for a combination of lessons that best accommodate individualized needs. Interrelated taxonomies ensure that all media, books, lessons, etc., produced by EdBooks use vocabularies that are standardized across its greater curriculum library. Using a robust taxonomy structure further allows Stackable Lessons to blend seamlessly together.

Lastly, EdBooks understands, demonstrates, and thereby encourages individuality within general-education curriculum design. Instructional design via the Stackable Lessons model provides the essential flexibility needed in a variety of education modalities--traditional classroom settings, hybrid courses, or courses run 100% online.

Mission and Values: Supporting Learners

Large-scale publishers--whether predatory or not--and EdBooks have divergent product and service goals. EdBooks' focus on fostering affordable, open general education and lifelong learning is a testament to how integrated curriculum approaches are more than a textbook or lesson. EdBooks has developed a holistic approach and toolset that allow students to strengthen their foundation of knowledge and grow to their full potential. The Stackable Lessons model is forward-thinking, accommodates learning-style diversity, and comes neatly packaged with a modest price tag.

Just as a high monetary cost is not representative of high quality, the value of a course is not gleaned by assessing the material cost: High Cost [??] High Quality; High Cost [??] High Value. EdBooks' mission is put into practice though its affordable prices (the company heads firmly believe that no book should ever cost more than $20), engaging lessons, and lifetime access to purchased materials. …

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