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UC Davis Professor Takes On Pricey Textbooks

Courtesy of ucdavis.edu

Courtesy of ucdavis.edu

Delmar Larsen teaches chemistry at UC Davis. A few years ago he created ChemWiki, an online, open e-textbook network.

"It was born out of me teaching a class with a textbook that was ill-prepared for addressing the class and it's costs were a little more excessive than I wanted."]

The cost of a new general chemistry textbook is about $200. But Larsen points out the content is well-established and scattered across the internet. 

Right now, students are using ChemWiki in addition to their textbooks and Larsen says so far, textbook publishers have not put up any resistance. 

"Once we are at the level of supplanting and cutting into revenue then things may change."

A $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation will help Larsen conduct an experiment in the spring quarter of 2014. Half of a chemistry class will use textbooks, the other half will use ChemWiki and the results will be evaluated by researchers.

For more on Larsen's textbook project click "Newsletter" in "Related Resources" on the right side of this page.

Steve Milne

Morning Edition Anchor & Reporter

Steve is the Morning Edition anchor for Capital Public Radio. He covers stories on a wide range of topics including: business, education, real estate, agriculture and music.  Read Full Bio 

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