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Downloading College Textbook Chapters Could Make College More Affordable

Only need to read two chapters in the $90 textbook? What if you could download each for $3.99?

The first quarter of my freshman year of college, I bought every book my professors listed as required reading—and it cost me over $800. A few weeks into classes, like many of my peers, I was dismayed to discover that despite spending all that money on entire texts, professors often only assigned two or three chapters from each book. That problem hasn't gone away. Students are still routinely expected to buy entire college textbooks that they only need a portion of. But now publishers are proposing an intriguing solution, and they're looking at iTunes as a model.

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Democratizing Education: MIT's Open Course Revolution Turns 10

Ten years in, it's easy to take for granted just how significant the free sharing of educational material really is.


Ten years ago this month the Massachusetts Institute of Technology made the radical decision to post almost all the educational materials used in its classes on the web, and they made them free to anyone with an internet connection. Since then, MIT OpenCourseWare has shared more than 2,000 courses with an estimated 100 million people around the globe. More importantly, they've made a profound impact on the democratization of education.

It's easy to forget that MIT's move is what really sparked the whole global Open Educational Resources Movement. In the decade since, we've become used to elite universities sharing their courses through dedicated sites, iTunes podcasts, and YouTube videos. There's also the role the OCW movement has surely played in inspiring visionaries. Would Sal Khan, the founder of the online Khan Academy, the virtual school that's on a mission to provide an excellent education to anyone, anywhere, for free, have come up with the idea if MIT hadn't trailblazed years earlier? KQED's MindShift blog also has a great list of other ways OCW's positively impacted education—everything from "reinforcing the college experience" to "empowering educators."

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"The Rent is Too Damn High" Heads to iTunes

When politics doesn't work out, there's always the music business. At least that's the case for Jimmy McMillan of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party.

You knew this was coming, right? When politics doesn't work out, there's always the music business. At least that seems to be the case for Jimmy McMillan of The Rent is Too Damn High party fame.

McMillan only got around 39,000 votes in New York's gubernatorial election, but at least he can say something Governor-Elect Andrew M. Cuomo can'the has an album on iTunes.

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