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Weekly News Digest

April 25, 2011 — In addition to this week's NewsBreak(s), the editors have compiled the Weekly News Digest, featuring stories from the week just past that you should know about. Watch for additional coverage to appear in the next print issue of Information Today.

CLICK HERE to view all of this week's Weekly News Digest items.

Flat World Knowledge Releases 'Make It Your Own' Platform for Textbooks

Flat World Knowledge, a publisher of free and open college textbooks for students, announced the release of a new platform called MIYO (Make It Your Own). The fully-automated system gives professors greater control over textbook content, and the ability, with one click, to make their modified book available to students free online or in multiple, low-cost digital and print formats.

MIYO (mee-oh) transforms a static textbook into an adaptable learning platform by combining a digital-first architecture with Flat World’s open licensing model that grants faculty the right to revise, remix and share its textbooks. The new system uses familiar drag-and-drop and click features that allow instructors to easily move or delete chapters and sections; upload Word and PDF documents; add notes and exercises; insert video and hyperlinks; edit sentences; and incorporate other content that is free to reuse under a Creative Commons open license.

Once a professor's changes are saved, MIYO automatically reformats and publishes the new version in multiple formats without any human intervention. Contributors’ edits are identified and highlighted. In future releases, instructors will have the ability to mix titles from Flat World's catalog. Planned for later this year, they will be able to make their derivatives available to faculty outside their institution.

Flat World’s open textbook model gives students the choice to read a free web-hosted book or buy low-cost formats that fit their learning style and budget. Softcover books, ebooks for the iPad or Kindle, audio books, print-it-yourself PDF downloads and interactive study aids are available for $40 or less at their bookstore or through the publisher. DRM-free (digital rights management) digital files can be freely transferred from device to device, and never expire, so students have access to their textbooks anytime, anywhere.

Instructors can edit from any browser, without downloading a proprietary editing tool, and instantly see how their changes will look when the book is printed, downloaded or viewed online. The edited books are then stored in an XML repository that allows for searching any part of the text in milliseconds, versus opening up an entire book file each time.

Contributors’ modifications are captured in a reportable format that provides authors with valuable feedback on how faculty and students are actually using their books. As a result, authors are better equipped to make changes to new editions. To date, nearly one third of Flat World's faculty adopters have customized their textbooks. The company expects that 50 percent or more will make use of MIYO during the next academic year.

Source: Flat World Knowledge



Send correspondence concerning the Weekly News Digest to NewsBreaks Editor Brandi Scardilli

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